Over the last few years, Netflix has started debuting series designed for bingeing during the holidays. It started with Making a Murderer, and last year it was The Witcher, and this year’s holiday binge is Bridgerton, the first show from Shondaland on Netflix. It’s an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s series of “Bridgerton” Regency romance novels, and the first teaser has just dropped. I AM SUPER INTO IT. Romance novels don’t usually get the prestige TV treatment, but Bridgerton looks expensive as hell. This teaser is showing plenty of spirit and romance, just as one would expect from a historical rom-com.
Julie Andrews narrates the teaser as “Lady Whistledown”, the anonymous writer of a gossip sheet that sets all of London society ablaze. Often at the center of Lady W’s scandalous stories are the Bridgertons, a large and robustly named family of eight children, including eldest daughter Daphne. The first season of Bridgerton adapts The Duke and I, which is Daphne’s story and a classic “fake it till you make it” romance plot. The Bridgerton books don’t really reinvent the wheel when it comes to romance novels, but Julia Quinn writes great characters, and manages to put some real-world considerations into her stories, like PTSD—there’s no way Waterloo wouldn’t f-ck up a generation of veterans—post-partum depression, and the trauma of toxic childhoods. As bright and colorful as Bridgerton looks, and it looks VERY bright and VERY colorful, there will certainly be a vein of something darker just under the surface.
But still! It will be so fun! The Duke and I is one of my favorite rainy-day books, and Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne and Rege-Jean Page as Simon look F-CKING MAGICAL together, dancing in front of fireworks and fairy lights. There’s also a glimpse of Adjoa Andoh as the inimitable Lady Danbury—think the Dowager Countess of Grantham, but less restrained—Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, and Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan as dear, darling Penelope Featherington, as well as the three elder Bridgerton boys, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey); Benedict (Luke Thompson); and Colin (Luke Newton). We are going to FIGHT over whom the best Bridgerton Boy is, and I cannot wait. (It’s Benedict.)
You may notice the multicultural casting of Regency London, which is already garnering Comments on the internet. Who cares, though? Historical accuracy is not the point, hotness is. Romance novels are basically fantasies, and the most important ingredient in a romantic movie is that the lead couple is hot and has chemistry. Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page are both hot, and they look hot staring at each other intensely in crowded ballrooms, what else do you need? It looks like Bridgerton has cast the hottest possible people with the best combination of intense stares to star in the series, and I, for one, am here for it. There’s nothing worse than watching a romantic movie where no one has any chemistry, but I don’t think that will be a problem in Bridgerton. A good book is like an old friend, and I cannot wait to meet these particular old friends on Christmas day.