“Why settle for a Duke when you can have a Prince?”Golda Rosheuvel, Bridgerton
Airs: Netflix | Air Date: 2020 – Present | Number of Seasons: 1
Bridgerton follows the story of the Bridgerton family, a notoriously attractive and wealthy group that is officially looking to marry off their eldest daughter, Daphne. Daphne is the Queen’s favorite for the social season that year and this should mean that Daphne is juggling marriage offers left and right. However, after a ball goes horribly wrong, Daphne’s marriage prospects are looking rather slim. Until she meets Simon, the Duke of Hastings. He proposes that they pretend to be courting each other in order to increase Daphne’s marriage prospects and get the eligible ladies off of Simon’s back. But, they must do this all under the gaze of Lady Whistledown, an omnipresent voice that documents everything she knows in her column. Simon and Daphne must effectively pull off their scam but when romantic feelings get in the way, everything becomes slightly more complicated.
I am of two minds when it comes to this show. On the one hand, I love the cliched feel of this story as it brings together everything that makes for a lighthearted show. The costumes are beautiful and the actors seem to beautifully portray what was considered attractive and well-mannered at the time. I’m very impressed by the dialogue’s consistency and the fact that even though the music is what’s considered popular today, the showrunners were able to make it fit with the show’s time period. On the other hand, I dislike that there’s nothing really original about this show. Everything feels done before and done better than it is here. Lady Whistledown’s narration is entertaining, but it was more entertaining when it was done in Gossip Girl. If the show had some more original concepts, I think I would’ve enjoyed it much more.
In keeping with what I did like about the show, I was more than impressed by the chemistry between Daphne and Simon. I think that for the fact that their initial meeting is cliched and the progression of their relationship has been done to death; they have wonderful chemistry. I could almost believe that their relationship was real. I do adore the characters of Eloise and Penelope as their friendship is one that seemed to keep the show running. The mystery of who Lady Whistledown is seems like it should’ve been more important to many of the characters who were in the spotlight of her columns but it was only important to these two minor characters which just feels a little unbelievable. It also continues with the Gossip Girl like feeling that the characters only appreciate this omnipresent voice when it benefits them. At least with Gossip Girl, it felt like they cared about finding out who their tormentor was. Here, it feels like Lady Whistledown is an annoyance even though her words seem to have great impact.
The reveal of Lady Whistledown at the end of the season just seems to be extremely premature. I felt like I almost would’ve only kept watching this show because of the need to know who Lady Whistledown is. Now that I know, not much entices me to keep watching the show. Sure, Daphne and Simon’s romance is interesting; sure, the Bridgerton siblings are interesting but the real interest was the mystery of who Lady Whistledown really was. Revealing it feels to me that the show gave up a big enticement to keep people watching the show. The romance isn’t really enough to keep a show running.
Overall, while I’m impressed enough with the costumes and screenplay of the show, I find that the plot itself feels way too familiar. If I’d wanted to watch something similar, there are hundreds of shows that I could watch that would be much more engaging than this one. There were times where I found myself dozing off because the show wasn’t really keeping me on my toes. However, I do have to say that the campiness of the show is interesting especially because it doesn’t seem like it would translate to that specific era but it does really well. I would recommend this show for people who enjoyed Gossip Girl and people who really enjoy historical dramas, because if anything, this show felt historically real.