TV Reviews

Bridgerton: full of potential but I wanted more.

I wanted to love Bridgerton. From the moment I heard about the project, I was excited to watch it. On paper, it was perfect: a period drama with a gossip girl twist. As more details and trailers came out the hype continued to build. It had all the components of a show that I would adore: great talent, amazing production design, and an incredible soundtrack – but while I was excited to watch the first episodes, by the end of the series I was bored and over it.

Let’s start with the positive – this was a fantastic production. I need to give the crew specifically a lot of kudos. The people who collaborated on this project brought their A-game.

Bridgerton is a beautiful show. The production design team knocked it out of the park. The sets are stunning, the costumes were gorgeous, and the overall feel of the show is very pretty. It was a world that I wanted to look at. The colour palettes were perfect – the cool blues and whites on the Bridgertons contrasting the bright neons from the Featheringtons and then the rich tones on the Duke – it was all so wonderful.

Then the sets… the balls, gardens, and dinner parties were all extraordinary. I want to go to a party that has a million twinkle lights, fireworks, and ball gowns. It was magical, romantic, and totally captivating. I was blown away by how beautiful it all was.

The castles, estates, and parlours were all impeccable. If not for the current UK situation, I would be booking a plane ticket for tomorrow to go wander around Bath again with a new appreciation for the Georgian architecture.

Then you add in the beautiful people… and I mean beautiful.

If Shonaland is good at anything it’s casting. They have impeccable taste in talent. Off the top, we need to talk about Regé-Jean Page aka Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. If there is a breakout star from this show it’s him and for good reason. He is a very pretty man. I think 90% of the fun of this show is looking at him. Like move over McDreamy/McSteamy – we’ve levelled up with this one.

The Bridgerton girls are all wonderful: Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne has electric chemistry with Page; Claudia Jessie as Eloise steals every scene she’s in (I want more of her in future seasons); Ruth Gemmell as Mama Bridgerton is so endearing; and little Florence Hunt as Hyacinth is adorable (I hope we get to watch her grow up if the show has future seasons).

I am a massive Derry Girls fan and I will watch anything Nicola Coughlan is in. She is so great as Penelope Featherington and I want so much more of her. I’m hoping the final twist will deliver that.

Finally, Julie Andrews as the narrator was an inspired choice. As the Queen of Genovia she was the perfect choice to bring a regal tone to the series. I’m hopeful that she maintains her role as the narrator around for many seasons to come.

The cast is so deep that I could going on like this for a while raving about everyone – but I want to rave about the diversity of the cast. It is so refreshing to see British period drams with POC as main characters. I love this. I want more of this. Keep it up. Big fan of the casting team for all of this.

Bridgerton is a steamy show. Both Dynevor and Page have talked about the great work the intimacy coordinators did on the show. Having everything specifically choreographed (much like you would choreograph stunts) makes such a difference for the safety of the people on the set, but also the quality of the product that is created. Whenever I talk to people about Bridgerton they bring up these scenes so you know the intimacy coordinators crushed it.

The last department I want to shoutout is music. When I first heard those strings hit those first notes of thank u, next I screamed. The way they brought in modern music but made it sound classical was brilliant. I have thought more about the music than anything else this show did and I now have the Bridgerton soundtrack saved on Spotify to listen to while I read. Just genius.

However, while the cast and crew can try their best to make a good show – at the end of the day writers make or break shows and I think the writers needed better notes.

Chris Van Dusen is the showrunner and I have to say, I love the way he writes. He’s been posting bits of his script on Twitter and reading his scene descriptions bring me a lot of joy:

So I don’t want to criticize the actual writing – in this case my criticism of the writers is their handling of the story.

I love TV shows that have multiple main storylines at any given time and a large cast of background characters with their own mini-stories. A classic example of this would be Gilmore Girls – the Gilmores are the focus of the main storylines, but we also have all the residents of Stars Hollow to round out the cast.

Bridgerton had this potential but they squandered it. Our A-story was obviously the love story between The Duke and Daphne. It was the Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky fake relationship to real relationship that drew me in, but then… I’ll be honest it got boring. I would have wanted the show to pivot and focus on exploring their B and C storylines but none of these background stories were interesting.

I didn’t care about big bro Anthony Bridgerton and his Opera singing mistress Siena Rosso. There was nothing endearing about them which was a shame – it could have been such a fun storyline with lots of cute moments but instead it was just annoying. I equally couldn’t care less about Marina Thompson and the Featheringtons – which again was a shame. These characters were annoying (with the exception being Penelope, but as I said earlier, I wanted more). There was so much potential for physical comedy with Philipa and Prudence. They had ‘evil step sister vibes’ but I wanted them to be more like the stepsisters in A Cinderella Story.

When I got bored during the back half of the season, this was the time to build out these background stories. To really flesh out other characters and make us root for them. This was highly infuriating to me because I wanted more. I wanted to love these people but I really found them all annoying.

The writers did a great job creating this world and developing characters I wanted to know – I just wish they followed through with fleshing out all their characters. So this is why I blame the notes. Someone should have told them to step it up and pushed them to push their storylines.

I’m going to need assurance that these B characters will get their due in season two. So this is where I turn to the books.

Bridgerton (the TV series) is based on the Bridgerton book series by Julia Quinn. I have not read the books, but I’m curious about them. My understanding is that each book is focused on one of the eight Bridgerton siblings while the TV show seems to focus on multiple siblings at once.

I wonder if this series was just book one The Duke and I and we will eventually get seven more seasons with each season focused on a different book with a focused storyline for each sibling or if this was an amalgamation of the first few books. If you’ve read the books – I want to talk.

At this point, I’ll probably watch season two, but if the storyline issues don’t get cleared up I’ll drop the show.

2 thoughts on “Bridgerton: full of potential but I wanted more.”

  1. Yes! I agree with so much in here.
    Music ++++
    Costumes ++++
    LOCATIONS +++++++
    But I 100% agree, lines were tangled and some stories were pointless to me. I absolutely hated Marina’s storyline and will be happy for her to not return. The stepsister/cinderella vibe was strong in the Featheringtons and I worry if we see more from them, it turns into another Cinderella.
    It will be interesting to see how the books weave into this intense tapestry. If your thoughts are right on one book a season, will they back track? So we follow the same time period that we just experienced but now from a different perspective? Or do they jump to stories about each family? So next season is Featheringtons and the following season about delacroix/blonde girl/queen?
    I’m hooked, much like Riverdale. I will hold on until we reach some sort of stupid magic plot gets introduced.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s