The classic period drama is modernized with “Bridgerton,” which is charming and enjoyable



“Bridgerton” follows the Regency-era elite of London throughout their annual marriage season. This show employs a diverse cast and more modern storylines to bring us a binge-worthy season.

If “Gossip Girl” and a Jane Austen novel had a baby, it would be “Bridgerton.” This new Netflix show takes love, mystery, royalty and drama, and places it right into Regency-era London.

“Bridgerton” focuses on the London elite during “marriage season,” where all of the wealthy families are trying to find their daughters suitable husbands. This show mainly centers around the Bridgerton family, specifically their eldest daughter, Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor). In the very first scene, Daphne is dubbed by her royal highness, Queen Charlotte herself, the “diamond” of the season.

All while the marriage season is in swing, a gossip pamphlet is circulated in high society, written by a mysterious person under the pseudonym Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews). The Lady Whistledown pamphlet exposes many thrilling secrets and scandals over the course of the eight-episode season, adding to the enthralling drama of the story.

Going into this show, I was very dubious. All of the period dramas that I have seen featured predominantly white casts and storylines that were notably patriarchal and misogynistic. But upon watching the show, I was pleasantly surprised by the more modern take on this historical period. There was a refreshing amount of diversity in casting, which I didn’t expect going into the show. While some may argue that diversity in casting takes away from the historical accuracy, I wholeheartedly disagree. I think that diversity and representation in these kinds of productions is much more important than historical accuracy, and didn’t at all take away from the charm and magic that period dramas barring.

In a similar vein as the diversity issue, period dramas also tend to feature predominantly male protagonists, keeping the women as side characters with no personal development or storylines of their own. And while the whole premise of “finding your daughter a husband” is frustrating, the show makes an effort to emphasize a woman’s choice in what happens in her life and gives us a handful of independent and complex female characters.

One of my favorite of these characters is one of Daphne’s younger sisters, Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie). Eloise frequently laments the tradition of marriage season and speaks about how she would rather go to school, write and learn than find a husband in the coming years. Her storyline, instead of being involved in the balls, parties and high society, is focused around her trying to discover the identity of the elusive Lady Whistledown.

Another one of my favorite characters was Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), who serves as the main love interest of Daphne. Page does an excellent job portraying the Duke and his complicated background and emotions. Throughout the season, Simon’s character develops significantly, from a stoic and solitary individualist to an open and accepting person. Page’s captivating performance makes this show really stand out.

Much of the magnificence of this show also comes from the beautiful architecture and costume design. The Bridgertons have a beautiful and tasteful home covered with growing ivy, which reflects their “old money” status. The Featheringtons, another family in the upper echelon of London society, have a more gaudy and ostentatious home, mirroring their more nouveau riche status.

With such a multitude of balls and parties for the main characters to attend, the costume design had to be on point, and the show did not disappoint. The women sported meticulously-designed Regency-style dresses and the men wear dapper top hats and tailcoats.

Another small detail that truly made this show was the music. Of course, all of the balls and parties were accompanied by delightful string quartets playing background music you initially wouldn’t think twice about. But if you listen closely, you can hear some modern-day songs such as “Thank U, Next,” by Ariana Grande, and “Bad Guy,” by Billie Eilish adapted to be played by strings. It was a subtle Easter Egg but made the show much more special and satisfying.

All in all, I think the most appealing thing about Bridgerton is its charm. It’s especially delightful because of all of the old-fashioned language they use, such as “Make haste!” or “Let’s promenade, shall we?”

Period dramas are special because they let you escape to an alternate world. The different traditions, customs and norms make it feel like a magical realm of its own, and in that sense, Bridgerton definitely delivers. Through the sweeping love story and dramatic secrets, this show provides you with a perfect escape from our pandemic-ridden reality.