When we first heard about an adaption of Julia Quinn’s beloved Bridgerton books, we were elated. Not only was it coming to our screens – but as a series! The multiple-episode format gives the creators time to tell a full story, rather than cram everything into a two-hour movie.
But with our excitement came a bit of trepidation. The series was produced by Shondaland, and visions of Derek Shepherd’s death danced in our heads. Would the series stay true to the books and give us the happy endings we love so much, or would it all be changed and leave us crying in a puddle of angst?
After watching the first season of Bridgerton (for there will surely be more seasons), we are happy to report that our anxiety was completely unfounded. Bridgerton is all we ever wanted for an adaption of the book, and so much more. Besides the incredible casting, diversity, feminism, set design, and costumes, Bridgerton delivers a love story that will satisfy seasoned romance readers and those new to the genre.
For fans of period pieces – Bridgerton brings things to a whole new level and sets a standard for what we want in all historical shows moving forward.
Bridgerton is one of the best shows of 2020, no doubt about it. Let’s talk about some of the things we loved about this season.
The series creators did an amazing job giving us a taste of every Bridgerton character while telling largely the story of Daphne and Simon. We get to know each Bridgerton in a way that endears them to us forever (yes, even Anthony). It leaves us desperate to see each of their stories play out on screen. Confession: because we first watched it without the benefit of all the promos that have been out recently, we had a hard time telling Benedict and Colin apart at first. This just goes to show they did an amazing job casting the Bridgerton family to look like siblings.
And not only do they look like siblings, they act like it as well. This show captured so many moments that represent family life so well. The Bridgerton siblings will give each other crap all day – but will always have each other’s backs when needed.
It’s hard for us to pick a favorite from the family, although we will admit we have a soft spot for Eloise. It’s hard not to fall in love with her. Her desire and longing for something different than what’s expected of her really resonates with us. She is smart, funny and sassy. And we love her.
The Bridgerton who will bother you the most during this season is probably Anthony. Book readers, however, know that he gets better. He is very much the protective older brother to a fault in these episodes. We’ll give him a little break though. Anthony had a lot of responsibility thrust upon him at a very young age, so he had a lot of growing up to do. While he was very frustrating at times, it was nice to see him mature a bit by the end of the season.
Rich side characters
Even outside the Bridgerton family, the characters are compelling. We are drawn into the lives of boxer Will Mondrich, opera singer Siena Rosso, the new gem of society Marina Thompson, and Queen Charlotte.
For book readers, Penelope Featherington is a favorite. Nicola Coughlan was a perfect choice to play our girl. Penelope is forced to come out into society before she was ready, and dressed in atrocious gowns by her mother. Penelope is a wallflower. Where Eloise is against the marriage market on principle, Penelope wants the whole marriage and courtship thing but it seems to not be in the cards for her. She is easily the one viewers will identify with the most.
Let’s talk about sex
Bridgerton has a TV-MA rating and it’s well-deserved. We get to see Anthony Bridgerton’s ass in the first episode, and that’s just the beginning of the bedroom fun of this show. It’s refreshing to see a period piece not shy away from the topic.
Another piece that we enjoyed is that they truly highlighted just how innocent they kept society ladies back then when it came to sex. Their “sex talk” was basically “don’t show your ankles or be alone with a guy.” Meanwhile the men of society were banging their way through the world. It was nice that this was acknowledge, and became a major plot point when Daphne didn’t understand some important things due to her lack of basic knowledge about sex.
And none of those girls knew how babies were made! How scandalous! Kudos to the show’s writers for highlighting just how opposite the topic of sex was when it came to gender back then.
One of the benefits of having this as a series rather than a movie is that we got to enjoy one of the best parts of a good romance story – the slow burn building into sexual tension that is so heavy that a mere hand hold sends your heart a flutter. Yes, we screamed with delight over a couple holding hands.
The heated looks and witty banter between Simon and Daphne have you rooting for them. And apart from just their relationship, the two of them are rich characters with flaws and backstories that make you understand them, but also be frustrated with them at times. This is romance storytelling in its finest and we are here for it.
As for other relationships on the show, fans of the books may indeed see half of some of their favorite ships with other people during this season. Rest assured that this is all part of the character’s journey to make them the person that will fall in love with our faves. Eventually.
Who runs the world? Girls!
It’s no secret that the show is about strong women from the very beginning, starting with Queen Charlotte deciding the fate of young debutantes and Lady Danbury bossing Simon around. The ladies of this show speak their minds, and we are here for it.
On the same vein, you can feel the frustration that they have with the world they live in. Lady Bridgerton has the wisdom and experience of someone who has navigated the ton for many years, yet her son Anthony is the one who gets to make the decisions regarding her oldest daughter Daphne. Eloise wants to learn and travel and do anything but make her debut into society, but she will be forced into it anyway. Daphne longs for a love match like her parents, but feels the burden and responsibility of being the oldest daughter to marry well and set a precedent for her sisters.
Outside the family there are other women who want more in life, but are trapped by their circumstances. We can’t talk much about those right now, because…spoilers. But the theme of this season is that the women of this show do their best to show their strength despite being trapped by the patriarchal society of the times. We stan them all. Except Cressida Cowper, the mean girl of society. She sucks.
A whole new world
We would be remiss to not mention the beautiful world created by the producers and crew of Bridgerton The costumes and set design are some of the best we’ve ever seen in a period piece. Not to mention the decorations and mood set at each and every high society event. We were truly transported back in time.
But not completely, because there were a few modern easter eggs here and there. Pay close attention to some of the tunes played by the string quartets at those balls – you will recognize many of them.
Bridgerton is just the balm we need to soothe away our 2020 angst. The romance, the diverse cast, the characters, the setting, the music, and the costumes all come together to create a truly delightful series that left us begging for more. We’re going to need seven more seasons, please.
Bridgerton premieres Christmas Day on Netflix.