‘Bridgerton’ Enchants with Its Refreshing Take on 19th Century London

Abi Zajac, Opinion Editor

Whimsical, sensual and enthralling Netflix’s “Bridgerton” feeds viewers’ escapism for eight episodes.

Based on Julia Potter’s nine part “Bridgerton” book series, the show takes place in 1813 London and follows several families in high society during “open season.” Open season being the time when upper-crust families present their daughters to the court and chauffeur them around to various ball in hopes of finding a suitor of equal or higher social status to marry.

One of the best things about this show is its diversity. Although 18th century London did not feature noble African Americans, this story has an alternative take on history where Queen Charlotte is African American and she integrated people of color into high society.

The intrigue of the show, however, is the drama. The regency era had restrictive social customs, so little things like touching hands ungloved were taboo; Bridgerton’s characters break all of these rules, making easy to get swept up in the scandal.

The swoon-worthy costuming and scenery paired with the pomp and pageantry of the plot made me feel like I had escaped the 21st century.

Not all of the costumes are time period appropriate, but Queen Charlotte’s pale pink wig piled high with jewels and Penelope Featherton’s bright yellow, flowered dresses are more titillating than traditional time period dress.

Bridgerton’s enchanting aesthetic did not come cheap. Producer Shonda Rhimes signed a $150 million deal with Netflix to make the show, according to the Times UK. The result can be seen in the attention to detail and decadent sets interested me just as much as the storyline.

Along with the costuming, some of the music is not time period appropriate, but watching Simon and Daphne dance to an orchestral version of “thank u next” is more amusing than a traditional waltz.

The non-traditional elements might be upsetting to die-hard fans of this genre, but I thought it was refreshing. There are enough Jane Austen adaptations to satisfy the need for more realistic historical dramas. Bridgerton is there for viewers looking for a time period piece with more spice.

The way this show blends the reality and trials of the 18th century with fantasy gives it a whimsical edge making it an addictive watch begging for a second season.

A second season, however, is not yet confirmed by Netflix, but “multiple sites have reported a listing in Production Weekly for a project titled ‘Bridgerton 02’ that will commence in Uxbridge, England in March 2021,” according to Harper’s Bazaar.