Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton turns over a new leaf in season two with fresh gossip and swoon-worthy romance.
Although you may expect a Regency era romance series to attract only seasoned fans of period dramas, season one of Bridgerton drew huge audiences because it was fresh, unashamedly raunchy and beautifully diverse. When it came out, I found myself enjoying a period drama for the first time in my life; don’t get me wrong, I love Colin Firth, but hate Mr Darcy’s sideburns. The Duke of Hastings, however, was something else.
But as Nick Hilton of The Independent says, “To call Bridgerton ‘Jane Austen with sex’ would do a disservice to both parties.” Whilst the attraction between Austen’s characters is largely unspoken, and not acted upon, season one of Bridgerton threw caution to the wind with its multitude of sex scenes and nudity. Whilst season one saw the romance and ultimate wedding of the oldest Bridgerton girl Daphne and the Duke of Hastings, season two focuses on the chaotic and rakish Anthony Bridgerton, and his defiant younger sibling Eloise.
Anthony finds undeniable chemistry with Kate Sharma – their connection feels breathtakingly authentic, with stellar performances from Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley. The backstory surrounding the pressures on Anthony is also effective in softening our impression of him and leading us to believe that he does have real capacity to feel love, despite his preoccupation with duty.
One of Bridgerton’s central messages is that love conquers all. Although season one saw Anthony and Siena split up because of class differences, in the new season Eloise and Theo are left with the opportunity to develop as a couple despite their different backgrounds, and their romance is left open-ended. Bridgerton also effectively unites characters of a variety of races and nationalities, as seen in the relationship between Kate, who has travelled to London from India, and Anthony. Since season one, the racial diversity has been criticised due to its lack of realism, as in reality the British upper classes were made up of almost entirely white people in this era, but personally I am happy to see so much inclusivity and representation. Bridgerton is, after all, fictional, and has no obligation to stick slavishly to its historical context.
Besides, Bridgerton’s glamour takes you away from reality, meaning that its imagined diversity does not interfere with the plot, instead enriching it. However, it is not worlds away from what we might expect from a Regency drama. We see the time frame reflected in the clothing and the balls, as well as the exploration of what it means to be a woman in this era; it displays a raw and candid impression of the obstacles faced by women, as well as unmasking the truth of maintaining a flawless facade, despite the pressures that come with this.
The music acts as an exceptional background (with modern songs transformed into the beautiful sound of the era), the language is perfectly inspiring, and the performances of the cast and the complexities of the storyline are gripping in their own ways. From light entertainment to outrageous wrongdoings, this show has it all. In just eight episodes, season two takes a look at romance, marriage, privilege, deprivation, unreciprocated and false love, morality, parenthood, status, ancestry, historical convention, feelings of shame, the uncertainty of the future and the plight of women. It is splendid, poetic and aesthetically gorgeous, and every episode kept me yearning for more. We see kind and flawed characters, who are looking for affection, success, or merely to find themselves. In the culmination of the season, as every character comes together for fireworks in the garden, we can distinctly see that Bridgerton is in excellent health and ready for its next season.
– Bridie Adams
Featured Image Source: Still via Youtube // Bridgerton Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix