By Jodie McCormack
After its release in December 2020 ‘Bridgerton’ quickly became one of Netflix’s most watched series with over 80 million households watching the eight-episode first season.
The Netflix series created by Chris Van Dusen is based on the Bridgerton book series by American writer Julia Quinn.
Bridgerton’s executive producer Shonda Rhimes is no stranger to series success, she may be better known for her success with medical drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ which is now in its 17th season.
The Bridgerton series, set London during the regency era, focuses on the Bridgerton Family and in particular Daphne Bridgerton, as she and other young women on the street begin the annual festivities of finding a husband.
This year however, an anonymous scandal writer called Lady Whistledown is narrating the many balls and events of the season in her scandal newspaper which, of course, has a dramatic effect on the proceedings.
Phoebe Deynvor plays leading lady Daphne Bridgerton.
Deynvor captures Daphne’s innocence and desire for love effortlessly in her performance while her co-star Regé-Jean Page who plays the highly sought-after Duke of Hastings also shines as he captures the opposite in his portrayal of the not so innocent 1800’s bad boy.
The on-screen chemistry in the duo’s performance adds a layer of excitement and electricity to the series.
Viewers are all routing for them, it is as if Love Island has met Downtown Abbey.
The pair are joined on screen by Irish actress Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington) who also executes her characters childlike innocence about married life perfectly. Her incredible performance as seventeen-year-old Penelope makes her own true age hard to believe.
Another notable performance is Johnathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, the oldest of the Bridgerton siblings.
With their father deceased, Anthony must take over as man of the house which includes finding a husband for his sister Daphne.
Bailey perfectly portrays the family man and the protective big brother but also captures Anthony Bridgerton’s personality away from the eyes of his family.
Although the first season is heavily centred around Daphne and The Duke, the high level of screen time given to the other characters in the series gives viewers even more drama.
There are no half measures, every character has their own story, and every story gets told.
The clever scripting uses dialogue and fast paced scenes to develop these characters while still staying relevant to the overall plot of the show.
We get to know everyone without dwelling for even a second too long on one character.
There is never a dull moment , never a scene too long or a storyline too brief.
This perfect balance between the lives of the protagonists and the wider cast ensures there is never a lull in excitement for viewers while well-rounded character development builds a convincing world for the audience to enjoy.
The soundtrack is something well worthy of a mention and showcases the high level of detail in the shows production.
The music at each ball and dance sounds at first like your regular ballroom orchestra but on closer listen the Bridgerton’s are ballroom dancing to tracks from artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.
The music sounds like traditional ballroom music but the pop song renditions in the classical style inject a youthful and fresh twist, without shattering the regency era illusion.
This also makes the characters more relatable by merging our modern-day world with theirs.
Daphne Bridgerton could be any of us dancing to a pop song and looking for love in Angel Lane.
Aside from that, the classical renditions of these popular hits just sound really good.
Bridgerton is refreshing and rebellious.
Daphne, while wrapped up in the idea of love and marriage is not afraid to take a stand against her brothers and the norms for women and wives at the time making her a well-rounded and loveable lead.
Her younger sister Eloise is the voice of the modern audience in a way in her rebellion.
She questions, as we do, the role of women as simply mothers and wives during the regency era.
Eloise Bridgerton challenges the idea that women are fragile and in need of a man and sets out on her own path to prove herself by trying to discover the identity of the anonymous scandal writer Lady Whistledown.
The series itself rejects the ideas of the time by containing strong female leads, strong black leads and a lot (seriously a lot) of sexual scenes.
It makes the series scandalous and sexy and gives viewers the feeling that they are breaking a few rules along with the characters just by watching it.
It is escapism at its finest.
We get the luxury of the castles and balls and horse drawn carriages but with the excitement of modern-day scandal and drama.
Whether the scandal and romance of Gossip Girl, the royalty of the crown or the older days of Downtown Abbey is your thing, this series is for you.
Bridgerton is a fresh take on the standard period drama.
This new approach has let Bridgerton establish itself as a strong and unique series in the period piece genre which is growing in popularity.
It’s sexy, it’s scandalous, it’s entertaining and it’s well worth the watch.