TV SHOW REVIEW - Bridgerton: Season 1
By The Meticulous Marauder
Now if you asked me 5 years ago how well a period piece would do, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it would reach 82 million households in the first month of its debut, but maybe the charm of a Regency-era drama was exactly what everyone needed at the end of a dismal year.
The series begins with the diamond of the season, Daphne Bridgerton, introduced into the marriage market, but despite early good fortune, finding a husband proves to be more difficult as she’s scrutinised by none other than Lady Whistledown. So enter Simon Basset, proclaimed bachelor and Duke of Hastings, who very quickly meets Daphne and a mutual understanding arises. Meanwhile, the rest of the Bridgerton clan are dealing with their own problems, which aren’t dismissed.
The story isn’t one I’ve heard before, there are definitely elements of a typical regency drama, however Bridgerton, I think, brings much more to the table. Unlike most period pieces, the storyline does not revolve around a chase, in fact, there’s so much packed into these 8 episodes, the chase wasn’t even a primary concern. Immediately you’re intrigued by the relationship formed between Daphne and Simon, but you’re still as interested in them after marriage and I don’t think post marriage has been explored in most period dramas. As well as our hero and heroine, it became very easy to be invested in any of the other characters, and each one was facing their own dilemmas which didn’t always revolve around love. One thing I noticed after watching, was that the series had a sort of ‘Gossip Girl’ aura, only Bridgerton had better acting and it wasn’t as messy.
So, actors. Excluding the iconic Julie Andrews who voices Lady Whistledown, the majority of the cast were pretty much strangers to me. As I haven’t read the books, nor did I have any expectations of the characters, I thought the casting was well done. It’s not often POC are cast to portray high-class citizens of Regency-era shows/movies, but I think it's about time that changed, especially when the performances were done so well.
One thing that was clear from the very beginning was that a lot of money had been invested in the production of the entire series. The cinematography was divine as were the costumes. It was evident that a lot of thought was put into scene set up, that being said there were minor mishaps like a yellow line found on the road in one frame, but you had to be very pernickety to notice them and at no point did the yellow line cause detrimental effect. Something which stood out to me as a younger viewer was the music choices, during big ballroom scenes the dances were accompanied by orchestral versions of current pop songs like ‘Thank U Next’ and ‘Bad Guy’. I liked the touch of modernity personally, the integration was not overbearing, it was done rather nicely.
As an avid fan of period dramas, I’ve watched my fair share and can honestly say this is one of my favourites. I thought the diversity of the cast for this sort of project was refreshing, it’s nice to see people of colour in love and in pretty dresses. But the storyline was different too, it kept features off other regency pieces, yet expanded on them by exploring the difficulties of marriage as well as the romancing after marriage. There’s love, scandal, a couple of risqué scenes, royals, not to mention mystery and all the while an unknown socialite gossips about them? What more could you want?
Integral vs Filler Episodes: ★★★½