Bridgerton Series Review

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Typically, this time of year is award season, for films and series. Due to last year’s restrictions on producing those films and series, all award shows are currently pushed farther out.

I realized today how few movies I watched last year, perhaps the lowest number in my entire life. My local movie theater closed last March and has not opened again. Thankfully there are streaming services, offering a variety of wonderful movies, documentaries and series.

For some reason, I’ve gravitated toward more series than films during this strange time. As nominations come in for awards, my viewing patterns will shift. Today, however, allow me to share a review of one of my favorite series…so far…currently available on Netflix. I enjoyed the eight episodes so much that I did a rare thing. I watched the entire series for a second time and loved it as much.

Check out my Bridgerton series review.

Bridgerton Review title meme

Bridgerton Cast

This opulent, Netflix Original Series features a large ensemble cast. Actors include Phoebe Dynevor, Regé-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan, Jonathan Bailey, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Ruth Gemmell, Florence Hunt, Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Luke Thompson, Will Tilston, Ruby Barker, Ben Miller, Adjoa Andoh, Polly Walker, Golda Rosheuvel, Ruby Stokes, Freddie Stroma and Julie Andrews (voice only).

Directors for the series include Julie Anne Robinson, Sheree Folkson, Alrick Riley and Tom Verica. Chris Van Dusen created the series, based on the books by Julia Quinn.

Each of the eight episodes runs an hour and carries an Ma for mature rating.

Bridgerton Review the fam
Bridgerton Series Review – the family, minus daughter Fran

Meet the Bridgertons

The title of the series comes from the family bearing the same name. The tagline sets the tone for what unfolds during the eight episodes: “Wealth, lust and betrayal set against the backdrop of Regency Era England, as seen through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton Family.

Lady Violet Bridgerton (Gemmell) raises her large family of eight children alone, after the death of her husband. For convenience, the couple used names beginning with A – H for their offspring: Anthony (Bailey), Benedict (Thompson), Colin (Newton), Daphne (Dynevor), Eloise (Jessie), Francesca (Stokes), Gregory (Tilston) and Hyacinth (Hunt). That trick helps the viewer keep the children straight as well!

The story focuses on Daphne Bridgerton, fourth born child and eldest daughter, at the beginning of the London Season. Every unmarried young woman…and her anxious mama…are out and on the hunt for a suitable husband.

Bridgerton Review daphne
Bridgerton Series Review – Daphne

The London Season

Daphne debuts and sets the bar high, as Queen Charlotte (Rosheuvel) notices her during the presentation of the debutantes. The mysterious writer of the high society gossip sheet, Lady Whistledown (voiced by Andrews), creates a stir with her scathing commentary on London’s elite. Although no one knows who she is (including the viewers), she seems to know everything about everyone.

When London’s most eligible bachelor, Simon the Duke of Hasting (Page), arrives in town, he and Daphne strike an unusual deal. Daphne wants to marry for love, in spite of her brother Anthony’s intention to make a quick match for her. And Simon never wants to marry at all. The two decide to create a pretend courtship. The ruse keeps mothers and their single daughters away from him. And Daphne can take her time finding a suitor to fall in love with.

Bridgerton Review duke and duchess
Bridgerton Series Review – less a match, more an agreement

London Atwitter

It turns out Lady Whistledown has much to write about.

Neighbors of the Bridgertons, the Featheringtons, gain a niece for the Season, much to Lady Featherington’s (Walker) dismay.  She already has three unmarried daughters to find husbands for: Philipa (Cains), Prudence (Carter) and Penelope (Coughlan). And Lord Featherington’s (Miller) niece, Marina (Barker), possesses beauty, charm and a sharp wit. She immediately attracts many would-be suitors, including Colin Bridgerton.

When Queen Charlotte’s nephew, Prince Friedrich (Stroma) arrives, and strives to win Daphne’ heart, all of London watches to see who ends up with the “diamond of the season”.

Bridgerton Review queen charlottes court
Bridgerton Series Review – Queen Charlotte’s court

Mysteries, Secrets and Scandals

While courtships form or falter and love blossoms or dies, the undercurrent in London becomes more complex. Eloise and Penelope form a partnership to uncover the identity of the mysterious Lady Whistledown.

Marina hides a secret that makes her desperate to marry quickly. And Daphne must choose between a prince and the man who vows he will never marry, but who has captured her heart nonetheless. Simon is not immune to Daphne’s charms however a difficult relationship with his father hardened his heart toward marriage and siring children.

Presiding over all these stories…of joy, desire and heartbreak…and over all the balls and society gatherings, is the queen and Lady Danbury (Andoh). This feisty, fierce, yet kind woman knows more about Simon and matters of the heart than anyone else.

Bridgerton Review simon and lady danbury
Bridgerton Series Review – Lady Danbury and Simon

My Thoughts on Bridgerton

I loved this series. First of all, because it’s a lavishly depicted historical piece. The costumes and settings astound with their beauty. And I find British shows especially fun to watch.

Secondly, I enjoyed the multiple story lines. A few characters, like Pen’s sisters, have minor roles. That’s understandable with a cast this large. Most characters though develop nicely as the series progresses. I came to adore Eloise Bridgerton, who follows curiosity and never hesitates to speak her mind. And Penelope is a joy to watch as she learns to carve out her own unique space apart from her mother and sisters.

And finally, I appreciate the casting of the characters. Everyone is simply, or complexly, who they are, regardless of race or skin color. They are people with complicated, intriguing stories and lives, period. Although set in the past, Bridgerton shows what’s possible when we accept each other as we are.

Bridgerton Review behind the scenes
Bridgerton Series Review – fun behind the scenes moment

Second Season Picked Up

The good news is, for those of us who watched Bridgerton and immediately craved more, a second season is on the way. I’m so excited!

There are eight books in the series, and Netflix intends to create eight seasons. Each book focuses on a different Bridgerton child. The series intends to follow the same format. That means I have seven more seasons to look forward to. In the meantime, I’m now reading the books.

Have you seen Bridgerton? If so, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments. If not, know this. The series is intended for mature audiences. Due to some nudity and quite a lot of sexual content, this series is not for children. Savor the show after the kids go to bed, with a glass of wine or a mug of hot tea. But do savor it. It’s a visual and emotional treat.

Bridgerton Review Anthony
Bridgerton Series Review – season two focuses on the eldest Bridgerton child, Anthony

Pick up the Bridgerton books from Amazon:

 


 

And if you enjoyed this series review, check out this one:

Yellowstone Series Review

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

 

Tidying Up & Sparking Joy

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Tidying up to spark joy makes perfect sense, to anyone who is familiar with Marie Kondo. She authored the best selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up. Marie helps people declutter their homes and their lives, through the simple yet profound art of tidying up.

Netflix showcases the KonMari techniques in their new exclusive series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

I binge watched season one over the weekend.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Netflix summarizes the show with these words:

“In a series of inspiring home makeovers, world renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo helps clients clear out the clutter…and choose joy.”

Marie loves a mess! This petite woman, who possesses an enchanting child-like sense of joy and wonder, enjoys helping people let go of the stuff that clutters up their homes. Show her a room piled with shoes, books, papers and knickknacks, and she claps her hands with delight.

In each of the eight episodes, Marie guides clients through the exact same process that results in less stuff…and happier people. She begins with sorting through clothes, touching every single sock, shirt or pair of jeans, then moves through books, papers, miscellaneous items and finally, sentimental pieces.

As they sort through belongings, the key to releasing the excess requires holding each item, to see if it sparks joy. To make the process easier, Marie starts with an item that the owner feels strong happiness and joy for. If the person does not feel joy, the item is thanked, sincerely, and then placed into a give away or a throw away pile. The pieces that spark joy remain, and a specific place is created for it, enforcing the proverbial saying,

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Sparking Joy

Marie understands something that I’ve come to understand as well. Everything is energy. And different items vibrate at different frequencies. Love and joy vibrate at the high end, frequency wise, while fear and hate dwell at the lower range. She also recognizes that clutter clogs up energy, while clearing space frees that energy to flow.

Most people are affected by that heavy, stagnant energy that clutter fosters, whether they realize it or not. An untidy room, clogged with stuff, doesn’t feel good. In episode after episode, that truth uncovers people living under stress, or feeling defeated and irritable, because of the excess in their homes. That clutter affects their lives, so much so that they consider Marie a blessing when she shows up with her boxes and cheerful advice.

It makes sense, then, that choosing to surround themselves with items that spark joy creates happier people who feel less stress. They also feel like they’ve taken back control over their own lives. Many struggled as they sorted through piles…and piles…and piles…of possessions. Some cried. Couples argued. Ultimately, they found their way through all the emotions connected with the stuff that cluttered and weighed down their lives…and let go.

The show is a fascinating peek into hearts and emotions, not an “oh my what a mess” judgment party. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo inspired me.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy in My Sock Drawer

I read Marie’s book several years ago, and sorted through items in my home at that time. The thing is, tidying is an ongoing process. Once a year, typically around Christmas, I sort through clothes and books and papers and miscellaneous items, and declutter. I can now see the many benefits of keeping my home tidy on a daily basis.

Inspired, desiring to spark joy, I pulled out my sock drawer, pictured above.

Marie suggests folding the clothes that are kept in drawers or on shelves. Smooth them, then fold to make a square or rectangle shape that can stand up in drawers or in boxes on shelves. Marie loves sorting items into small boxes. Note to self: pick up more boxes and bins.

My socks are a jumbled mess in the drawer, which is so full I can barely close it. I know better than to wad socks up like that, into a ball. And yet, there they are.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Folding Socks the KonMari Way

I dumped the socks onto the bed and separated all of them. Single socks without a match, holey socks and those that did not spark joy, went into the trash bin. The rest I smoothed and paired together, and then folded over, once or twice, depending on the length of the sock.

The folded socks went back into the drawer, standing up in neat rows. It only takes a few moments to fold socks this way. And what a difference, in the drawer.

Did my socks spark joy? Yes. I appreciate the comfy ankle socks that I wear in the summer, with sneakers. The fun plaid socks and the Harry Potter socks, purchased in London, England, spark great joy and a sense of playfulness. I even felt joy over the grungy heavier socks that I wear when I garden. These are destined for the trash bin soon, however they are perfect for wearing while I work outside. With them, it doesn’t matter that my gardening shoes get full of dirt!

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Tidying Up My Home

Satisfied with a neatly organized sock drawer, my intention is to continue tidying, until I’ve moved through all five categories, and through all the rooms of my house. While I’m not clapping my hands, like Marie, over messy drawers and closets, I feel excited about keeping the high level energy flowing through my home.

I get it. I really do. I’m sensitive to energy and a cluttered room, a cluttered home, doesn’t feel good to me and doesn’t create a supportive environment. Rather than waiting until I can’t stand the “ugh” feeling any longer, I’m motivated to tidy up now, and experience that magic. Tidying up and sparking joy? Oh yes. I’m in.

Tidying Up and Sparking Joy

Pick up a copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or read my brief book review.

And, check out these storage boxes and cubes, to help with organizing small items.

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Series Review: The Haunting of Hill House

I heard much about this new Netflix original series, and saw a couple of trailers for The Haunting of Hill House, before it premiered this month. Typically I don’t watch scary movies, if they are primarily geared toward gore or making the audience jump. However, this series is based upon the 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson, which is considered one of the best literary ghost stories ever published.

The Haunting of Hill House inspired other authors and filmmakers, such as Stephen King, and generated two films before Netflix created the ten episode series. The first Haunting of Hill house film, released in 1963, was in turns terrifying to me and fascinating. It scared me, as a child who experienced hauntings of my own, and yet I could not look away. With these connections to the story, I had to see this newest creation.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

Cast and Crew

The Haunting of Hill House stars Timothy Hutton, Henry Thomas, Carla Gugino, Michiel Huisman, Paxton Singleton, Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Kate Siegel, McKenna Grace, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Julian Hilliard, Victoria Pedretti, and Violet McGraw. The horror/drama, created and directed by Mike Flanagan, carries a MA rating for scary scenes, adult themes, language and violence, and each episode has a run time of 50 minutes.

The Story of Hill House

Hugh Crain (Thomas and Hutton) and his wife Olivia (Gugino) purchase a huge old mansion that has been vacant for many years. Known by the locals as Hill House, Hugh and Liv intend to restore the property to its former glory and then flip it. Selling this house takes the Crains one step closer to building and settling into their dream home. Hugh doesn’t pay attention to the fact that everyone who is familiar with the house refuses to stay in it after dark. Even its long time caretakers make sure they are away before the sun sets. Hugh and Liv move in with their five young children…Steven (Huisman and Singleton), Shirley (Reaser and Wilson), Theodora (Siegel and Grace), Luke (Jackson-Cohen and Hilliard) and Nell (Pedretti and McGraw).

The story moves back and forth between the past and the present day, detailing the strange and disturbing events that took place in Hill House and showing how they affected the children into their adulthood. The haunting that takes place is not just a physical occurrence that stigmatizes the house, it has psychological and emotional consequences that remain with the former occupants all of their lives. The story is as much, or perhaps even more so, about how the family learns to deal with the trauma, guilt and shame that overshadows each of them, as it is what creeps about in Hill House.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

Thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House

I don’t want to talk about the storyline any more than that brief summary. This is a series that is best viewed without a lot of prior knowledge. Watch it and experience it and let it unfold.

I will share some personal thoughts.

This is an extremely well done spooky series. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being “nah, it’s not scary at all” and 10 being “watch it with a friend during daylight hours” the scare factor hovers around a 3 or 4, for me. At times it elevates briefly to an 8. And at times it isn’t scary at all. It’s sad and troubling. As a bonus, Netflix creates an incredible backdrop for the action that is full of dark surprises. Many of those extra details escape the human eye initially, although the viewer may wonder why they suddenly feel the hair rising on the back of the neck.

What I love most about this series is that it tells a story about family relationships. The first five episodes focus on each of the children, and we see what happens, at Hill House and later in their lives, from their unique perspectives. We see how the children relate to each other and the past, and how some were affected more greatly by the haunting than others were.

Many times my eyes filled with tears, as raw emotions bubbled up in Shirley or Theo or Luke, feelings such as anger, fear, resentment, sibling love and bonding, sibling rivalry and jealousy. Every child had a role that they fulfilled when they were young. As adults they realize how much those roles were shaped by what they encountered and experienced.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

We Are All Haunted

Ghosts and jumps and bumps in the night aside, The Haunting of Hill House reminds me that we are all haunted to some extent by our pasts. Until we work to free ourselves from those troubling episodes that we’ve all had, they will continue to affect us and shape us.

I’ve seen this as true in my own life, from the fears I carried forward from my childhood to my fierce independence to the way I handle current situations, if I allow myself to fall back into default mode. Exorcising the ghosts from our pasts clears the way for light and wholeness and fresh ways to respond to events.

Such revelations make The Haunting of Hill House a powerful series to watch and re-watch. Netflix got it right. Still, even with all the insights and the deeper stories, I’d recommend viewing the first few episodes during the day! It is a haunting story, after all.

Series Review The Haunting of Hill House

 

 

Series Review: Lost in Space

I was seven years old when the original sci-fi series Lost in Space premiered. A year later, Star Trek beamed into our televisions as well. Although as a teen, Star Trek, in syndication by then, became my favorite show, as a child it scared me. Lost in Space was more child friendly and in spite of the weekly warning from the robot…Danger, Will Robinson…it seemed to present a safer future ahead.

Netflix just released a reboot of Lost in Space, as an original series on its network. All 10 episodes of season one are available to watch. I viewed the first two episodes over the weekend.

Series Review Lost in Space

Lost in Space stars Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Maxwell Jenkins, Taylor Russell, Mina Sundwall, Ignacio Serricchio, Parker Posey and Brian Steel. The series carries a PG-13 rating, for adult themes and intense actions scenes, and each episode has a run time of 1 hour.

John (Stephens) and Maureen (Parker) Robinson have left Earth behind in the hopes of colonizing a new world with a group of scientists and military personnel. Their three children, Judy (Russell), Penny (Sundwall) and Will (Jenkins) are accompanying them, making it a family adventure.

But in the expanse of deep space, far from Earth and not yet within range of the colony, disaster strikes. The ship transporting the colonists comes under alien attack. Families jettison from the collapsing carrier in smaller Jupiter class ships. The Robinsons crash land on an unknown planet, under harsh conditions.

Series Review Lost in Space

They aren’t alone. Two other survivors, Major Don West (Serricchio) and Dr. Smith (Posey) are also searching for colonists who crashed on the planet. And a synthetic robotic creature (body work done by Brian Steel) crawled out of his downed ship as well. He appears to be the one who caused the mother ship’s destruction, but his circuitry is scrambled, wiping his memory banks. When he encounters young Will Robinson, the two form an alliance and the robot joins the Robinsons.

Series Review Lost in Space

The first priority is survival on the hostile planet as the Robinsons get their small ship operational again. Danger is everywhere, from the unpredictable weather to unstable terrain, and within the lies of some of the survivors, who aren’t who they pretend to be. Even Will’s robotic friend carries secrets that could ultimately threaten them all. Being lost is the least of the Robinsons’ concerns.

In spite of some low reviews that I read, I like this reboot. The original series was fun, although a bit cheesy. This retelling of the story is darker, with more intensity and much, MUCH higher quality special effects. The Robinsons are a more typical family, meaning dysfunctional. Mom and Dad vie for control of their children, creating a great deal of tension between them. There’s the smart med student daughter, the younger daughter who hasn’t discovered her place in the world yet, and the son who feels inadequate for this mission.

Series Review Lost in Space

Series Review Lost in Space

Being only two episodes in, Don hasn’t had much character development yet. And he hasn’t actually connected with the Robinsons, having been abandoned by Dr. Smith, who is female in this newest version. She is a mix of contradictions and manipulations. Sometimes sinister, sometimes pitiable, it will be interesting to watch her work her way into the Robinsons’ favor, while carrying out her own agenda.

I like that Netflix makes all the episodes of a season available at once. I rarely binge watch a show, preferring to draw out the experience by viewing one or two episodes at a time. I’ll savor Lost in Space as it transports me back nostalgically to the 60s, and takes me on an exciting new futuristic adventure.

Series Review Lost in Space