Soapy. Frilly. Sexy. The new Netflix regency drama Bridgerton presents the bygone era of 19th century Britain in a novel style. One in which people of colour play a prominent role. Although historically inaccurate, the Shonda Rhimes production attempts to put the spotlight on people of colour and the role they had in forming the then flourishing, but scandal-ridden society of British elites. In Bridgerton, we have a queen of colour, a handsome dark-skinned duke and a skilled black boxer. This is a far cry from reality and from how things actually were for the coloured at that time. But the Chris Van Dusen-created drama is not about sticking to the facts. Its attempt is to create this more egalitarian society in a parallel world of fiction. And it does a stand-up job.
Bridgerton is the perfect soap opera. It has all the flourishes of the genre, but the performances are not loud or shrill. It is more close to how people would actually have conversed or conducted themselves during that time. Apart from the fairly well-written script based on Julia Quinn’s novels, the main pull of Bridgerton is its dynamic leads (played by Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor) and their electric chemistry. The plot is set in a London society where the queen conducts balls every season and determines who is the fairest of them all. Post this charade, queues form outside ladies’ houses with noblemen eager to court them. Our heroine Daphne Bridgerton is deemed the incomparable one of the new season, but chaos ensues after a writer called Lady Whistledown publishes provocative articles about her.
Bridgerton is greatly inspired by Jane Austen novels. But it is more racy and dare I say, slightly more entertaining. It is, as I had mentioned in another article before, a perfect blend of The Gossip Girl and great romantic classics.
Golda Rosheuvel, who plays Queen Charlotte in the show, told the Oprah Magazine that Bridgerton is about having fun and rewriting a story which is more inclusive in nature. “We’re having fun. We’re being naughty. We’re being sexual, we’re being grand. All of the things that human beings are. I’m biracial. I was brought up in England. My mother was crazy about period dramas, which made me crazy about them. I never thought that I’d be able to be in one. Now we can rewrite that story for the little girl who’s sitting at home,” the actor said.
As one of the show’s prominent characters, Lady Danbury, says at one point, “Love, Your Grace, conquers all.”
You can watch Bridgerton on Netflix.
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