What is the story about?
Bridgerton based on novels written by Julia Quinn follows the life of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family who enters the marriage scene in London as a beautiful debutante. Hoping to follow the traditional way of finding a match, Daphne still yearns for true love and romance. She finds suitors, but her older brother begins screening the men, even though clearly it is her cousin Marina Thompson who is winning the attention of the men. Daphne's dreams are cast with aspersion when a mysterious person known as Lady Whistledown writes anonymous and scandalous letters revealing the secret lives of London's upper crust. Daphne soon encounters the handsome and graceful Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) who is committed to staying single. Despite initial reluctance, the duo find themselves attracted to each other and try to navigate the society's expectations set upon them.
For someone who grew up reading Jane Austen and watching Shonda Rhimes shows, Bridgerton seemed like the perfect confluence of history and contemporary dating. To add to the scandalous content and drama, one can expect Shonda Rhimes to add her own touch to it. A lot of romance novels have been dismissed as 'soapy' and 'unrealistic' by pop-culture aficionados, but Bridgerton is here to prove you wrong. Be it Grey's Anatomy, Scandal or How To Get Away With Murder, Shonda Rhimes turned average stories into long-running shows. She seems to have gotten out of her way and taken a plunge with a period drama as opposed to her usual political and legal thrillers. Bridgerton may have drawn inspirations from Pride And Prejudice and the more recent Gossip Girl, yet it stands different. The series is well-written, directed and is stunning to look at. Moreover, it has dished out interesting characters and storylines. Keeping in mind the sensibilities of the 2020 audiences, Bridgerton though set in the 19th century, has enough content to offer. The costumes and make-up are luscious, the twists are interesting, there is a lot of attention being paid to race politics and we can safely say there is certainly more to Bridgerton than what meets the eyes.
The core of the show is the romance between Daphne and Simon, The Duke Of Hastings. Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page have a lot of chemistry and literally set the screen on fire. Nicola Coughlan's role as Penelope apart from the leads is truly notable. Claudia Jessie is delightful as Daphne’s rebellious younger sister, Eloise. Walker brings a certain stoic eloquence to her Lady Featherington. You don't get to see Dame Judy Dench who has given a voiceover to the mysterious Lady Whistledown.
Music & Other Departments
For a historical show, the show had a lot of contemporary tracks. I recognised tracks from Billie Ellish, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande. The production value of the show is immaculate and it is every art lover's delight. From costumes to hairdos and makeup, the show is a delight to watch. Creator Chris Van Dusen may not have created a masterpiece with Bridgerton, but this will still go down in history as an intelligent outing.
For a show set in the 19th century, the show has an expansive and diverse cast. The makers have subverted archaic and regressive notions into the contemporary ethos. It has a lot of feminist themes to its storylines.
Not a drawback, but I feel it has a limited storyline. Let's hope it gets picked up for another season.
Did I enjoy it?
I loved it. It is a perfect series to binge-watch on Christmas. An old-school romance with a lot of twists and turns that will keep you excited till the very end.
Do I recommend it?
This Christmas and NYE, if you don't have plans courtesy the Covid-19 pandemic, this show could help you get the much-needed comfort and warmth. So keep the cynicism at the door and watch Bridgerton.