If you are on the lookout for a cheesy romance novel-esque series to watch, “Bridgerton” might be just what you need. Brought to Netflix on Dec. 25, this show is based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn which each follow a member of the Bridgerton family as they grow into adulthood and search for love. Created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes, season one of the show mirrors the first book of the series by following Daphne, the oldest Bridgerton daughter, as she enters the marriage market.
The show begins in 1813 and follows Daphne’s story closely as she almost gets trapped into a marriage with an older man, but ends up in a fake-turned-real courtship with the handsome Duke of Hastings instead. As if this storyline didn’t offer enough drama by itself, Daphne has seven other siblings, four of which have their own subplots with their own twists. Additionally, the Duke has a troubled past that he keeps buried within himself. There’s also another family, the Featheringtons, who have a distant cousin visiting for the season who brings scandal to the family’s name when it’s revealed that she is pregnant. And to top it all off, there is an anonymous column writer, Lady Whistledown, who seems to know everything about everyone and writes it all down in her publication so that everyone is up to date on the latest gossip.
While set in the 1800s, the point of this show is certainly not to be a history lesson. The mere nature of the plot and characterization makes it much like a “Gossip Girl” that just happens to be set in a different era. However, the historical setting does allow for elaborate costumes and grand ballroom scenes, which is a plus. To accompany all the jewels and glamour is a creative soundtrack which includes many classical arrangements of modern pop music. Considering this show appears to be solely for enjoyment and entertainment, I really enjoyed that the soundtrack brought a little bit of today into the past, meshing the two eras into one.
When I first began watching the show, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it; it seemed a bit dramatic and ridiculous. However, I realized that many recent shows have plots that try to be realistic in one way or another. It had been a long time since I had watched something that was entirely fictional and solely for entertainment. Of course, there is a chance for a deeper analysis of the show through its messages about social class and feminism that are woven throughout the story. Viewers may choose to find a deeper meaning behind all the madness or simply enjoy the story of a girl in search of love in a society that doesn’t offer many opportunities for it.
I think the best way to watch “Bridgerton” is to let it pull you into its fictional space in the streaming realm and become immersed in it as you would with any romance novel. After all, the story originated from a series of books. That being said, it’s made so that each episode feels like its own chapter, which makes it exciting and easy to want to binge the whole series as quickly as possible.
I give “Bridgerton” 4/5 stars.