Set in Regency era London, Bridgerton follows the lives of the eight Bridgerton siblings as they navigate the challenges of upper class society in the Ton.
The first season focuses on eldest daughter, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) as she is presented as a debutante before Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel). The aim is to find a husband amongst the eligible society bachelors before the season comes to an end.
Initially Daphne plays a blinder by being declared the seasons “Incomparable” by the Queen but older brother, Anthony’s (Jonathan Bailey) dismissal of all sensible suitors soon turns things sour. And this is only exacerbated when it comes to the attention of mysterious society commentator, Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews). At the same time Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) has returned to London from his travels to wind up his late father’s estate. He has no intention of ever marrying but is reluctantly convinced to join the season by his mentor, Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh).
It’s not long before Daphne and Simon hatch a plan. They will pretend to be courting which will reinstate Daphne’s eligibility while simultaneously keeping the mothers and daughters of the Ton off Simon’s back. But what will happen if Daphne and Simon start to fancy each other? What (or who) have the older Bridgeton brothers been doing while no one was looking? Why is Simon so vehemently opposed to marriage? What is Colin Bridgerton’s (Luke Newton) potential love interest, Marina (Ruby Barker) hiding? And most importantly, who is Lady Whistledown?
Lots of people seem to be hailing Bridgerton as the best thing Netflix has ever made… and I get it. It’s sexy, intriguing and very well acted. There are lots of concurrent storylines but they’re not too overwhelming and much effort is put into character development, which makes you warm to the characters. It also looks absolutely beautiful and it made me quite nostalgic for my days of reading Jane Austen. All of that said, it is pure froth and I at least half the time I was raging about just how ridiculous the etiquette of the time was and how women were valued in Regency society and how silly everyone in the Ton’s worries actually were. I found myself most identifying with second sister, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) who just wants to escape all the expectations.
As an escape from the chaotic and often depressing times we are currently living in Bridgerton is great and I would certainly watch another season but I’m not sure it quite lives up to the crazy hype.