Looking for the perfect series that gives insight into the London society during the regency era, 1813 to be precise, search no further. The TV series Bridgerton is definitely a romance series with the kind of dismissive words that suggest a certain inherent, and often sexist, bias. The captivating Netflix series whose first episode aired on the 25th of December, 2020 is currently the series on the lips of everyone. The series Bridgerton coins its name from a family in the story named the Bridgertons. They are a family of eight close-knit siblings and their attempt to find love. The series starts by emphasizing the importance of society and age-long culture of how the young girls in the regency era get married, the importance of honor, and how the young men hold it dear alongside their duties to take care of the ladies in the house. We see this in the Bridgerton family especially as Daphne is approved by the queen as the fairest of them all. Also in the case of Anthony (the eldest son of the Bridgerton family) on whom the burden of protecting his family rests on his shoulder as their father is dead. We get to see the love between Daphne and Simeon grow but we also become aware of how naive young girls of that era are as compared to this era. In terms of sex and marriage, the part where Daphne is lost when Simeon tells her to ‘’touch herself’’. Also on their wedding night, as Simeon burns with sexual frustration, Daphne takes that to be an annoyance.
The entire season focuses on the Bridgertons but there are also underlining stories of other characters whose germane features played a great role in spicing up the entire series. For instance, the reason why Simeon says he won’t sire an heir to continue the dukedom of the Hasting family, there is also the Featherington and their gambling father who eventually plunged them into the deep end, to mention a few.
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Firstly one can’t help but talk about storytelling. This series makes romance look like it is all about sex, ripping off clothes, and of course all about a woman’s fantasy. Taking a closer look, the series’ juicier elements are the acrobatic sex, the whispered gossip, the fights, and backstabbing—which populate some of the series’ most exciting scenes. At a point, one would begin to wonder if sex is what the series was trying to promote because of the way it portrays it.
On the other hand, the sex scenes are apt and very stimulating, It is lovely how the chemistry between each character is portrayed; from Daphne and Simeon to Anthony and his love interest. The focus on ensuring the fire is fanned in the hearts of viewers, that when the characters finally have sex, the viewers are a part of every process. Nudity comes when sex is involved but aside from that, the entire series is polite. It’s another plus for the series when looking at the costume of every character and the general picture the director was trying to achieve. Looking at ladies from the Regency era in 1813, the costumes are apt. I especially love the swag added to Simeon’s outfit, he just had this unique carriage about him that even when he seems to be putting on just trousers he is downright hot. The actor Rege-Jean Page played Simeon Basset to the hilt, the effort, and seamless flow witnessed in him is remarkable and commendable. He was able to make his character memorable by the inflections he added singling him out as an outstanding actor.
Down to the make-up and hairstyles of each character in this series at no point did the make-up artist or hairstylist snooze off, there was that consistency in these minor yet important visible parts that make or break a movie. We can’t help but notice the musicality of the entire series. I dare say this is an area where we applaud the music director, as the musicality often helps to set the mood and pace of each scene. In alignment with the portrayed era, the setting and scene, the music from the sex scenes to the official soundtrack, to the sad scenes were on point. The music sets that pace that makes us anticipate what is going to happen next.
Especially the sex scene where Daphne found out the truth about Simeon fathering children. Also, in the scene where they had sex to actually conceive, these two scenes actually stand out as the effect created by the music and actions are worth reminiscing about. For instance, Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” is performed by the Vitamin String Quartet, from both an aesthetic and erotic perspective, “Bridgerton” surely delivers.
Another character that indeed stood out yet was never seen till the end but had a huge impact on the series’ events, and also portrayed a very important aspect of the regency era which is ‘’gossip’’ is Lady Whistledone. The era will not be complete without the gossip. The high London society is known for gossip amongst themselves which when not managed well can lead to a ‘’scandal’’ as they call it. This was well portrayed throughout with the character of Lady Whistledone, just as her name implies, ‘’whistle.’’
But one fault present in this series is that some of the storylines stretch out far longer than their natural evolution, while others are hastily introduced and resolved in a fraction of the time. The result is an inconsistently paced effort that ultimately reveals itself as an entirely predictable regency era retread. For instance, the story behind the lead character, Simeon Basset. Yes, he made a vow, he had his reason because of his experience as a child, but the development and sudden act to easily succumb to Daphne after she tells him she loves him, doesn’t make his story solid enough. This is a vow he has made for years with someone who is now dead, the road to breaking that vow should have been more difficult or taken more time, this just creates a little glitch, I daresay.
Another major fault that one must mention is an aspect in the cinematograph. Yes, they tried in the flow of one scene to another but in terms of VFX (visual effects), there was some very visible loophole. For instance, in the outdoor scene, it was glaring that the environment was just a picture with the actors acting behind it. Scenes like when Simeon was making love to Daphne in the field when the Featherington came out of their house, also the Bridgertons, the VFX there was very poor, but hopefully, as the next season comes, we hope to see improvement in this area.
“Bridgerton” is amusing enough and will scratch a certain thirsty itch, but its themes about love, marriage, and class aren’t quite as progressive as it would like to think. We can’t help but applaud the series’ use of apt picturesque. It creates a fantasy purely targeted at women. Its unique view and the ability to tell an ordinary story in an extraordinary way to an extent raises the bar for this series. The underlining love stories of other characters make the series more interesting even though the storytelling has some issues. Having all these sub-stories is like buying one and getting ten free (lol).
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