By Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff ‘23
Since the premiere of Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix series ‘Bridgeton,’ the Netflix-watching community and others have become obsessed. This new periodic piece breaks conventional boundaries while introducing an extremely engaging plotline.
The series starts in 19th century London, with horses, carriages, elegant dresses, and balls. All of the high-society families are desperately trying to marry off their eligible daughters, known as the courting season. The series’ antagonist includes an anonymous writer, Lady Whistledown, who seems to be playing into all of the gossip-hungry families. The identity of the writer is kept anonymous but she goes as far as angering the Queen of England. Whistledown knows all of the high-class families’ secrets, including the ones they didn’t even know yet. The series’ main characters include Daphne Bridgerton, Simon Basset, Penelope Featherington, Marina Thompson, and Lady Danbury, all of whom have their character lines and importance to the plot. The mix between the traditional English attire and persona, as well as the modern elements, made the series continuously interesting to watch. For example, there were several instrumental renditions of modern songs, including Ariana Grande’s Thank You, Next’, played during the ballroom sessions. The gossip whispered throughout the families gives the show a parallel to another show formally on Netflix, ‘Gossip Girl’.
Unlike most other periodically soapy Netflix series, Bridgerton offers the aspect of inter-racial couples as a plotline aspect. The fact that the two main characters, Daphne and Simon (the Duke of Hastings), are an inter-racial couple sets this series apart. I enjoyed the fact that characters of color were highlighted in this series. This included the Queen herself: it is historically known that Queen Charlotte of England was of mixed race. There is also a non-traditional, non-conformity attitude present in some of the female characters, including Daphne’s little sister, Eloise. Eloise is the one who investigates the identity of Whisteldown, all the while portraying an attitude against marriage. Eloise can only be compared to Miss Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s, ‘Little Women’. The twists and turns of the series keep viewers interested for the entirety of the show, up until the last second when the identity of Lady Whistledown is revealed.
I truly loved this series, it was able to balance easy, fun content with important aspects of modern society. The characters became beloved by viewers throughout the duration of the episodes. Bridgerton is a revolutionary periodical piece that has some aspects that I believe will continue to appear in future periodical television series.