The new Netflix original series, Bridgerton offers the viewer a look into 1813 London during the courting season. The eight-episode drama was created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes. The show quickly became a Netflix “Top Ten” and currently remains top four in the U.S. today.
The first season of this show follows the relationship between a young debutante and a duke, who find themselves in a position in which they call upon one another to form a friendship that protects them from the scrutinization of the people.
The current Duke of Hastings – Simon Basset – is the son of the late Duke and Duchess of Hastings. He is an only child, therefore the sole heir to the title of Duke, and this title awards him the attention of many ladies across England. All this attention he receives frustrates him as he never wishes to marry.
Daphne Bridgerton, the young debutante is named the “incomparable of the season” by the Queen of England herself. She is the eldest daughter in the Bridgerton family and is first female in line to emerge into the world of abundant suitors; however, her eldest brother, Anthony Bridgerton keeps a wary eye out, doing everything in his power to protect his sister from unfit suitors. Anthony is the head of the household – a viscount – after the passing of their father, Edmund Bridgerton. Anthony has his own struggles finding love due to his affection for someone outside his class whom his mother disapproves of.
Anthony is the eldest brother, but the Bridgerton family is sizeable consisting of eight children – Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. All born by their mother, Violet, who insisted on naming her children in alphabetical order from oldest to youngest.
The series is full of plot twists and very early on the viewer is introduced to Lady Whistledown. Whistledown is voiced by Julie Andrews and mirrors a Gossip Girl of the 19th Century. Throughout the show her identity is unknown, but viewers speculate whether the reveal of Lady Whistledown’s identity is a misdirection or not. The show focuses on the scandal of the town and Lady Whistledown is the one person who seems to know it all and her opinion is highly regarded; so much so that the Queen of England herself is invested with what she reports in her newsletter each week.
What captivates viewers to watch this show is the roles that men and women assume. As this show takes place during the 19th Century, men are the head of household, while women take on childbirth and providing heirs for their husbands. Class is held in a very high regard throughout the show as it determines who you can marry, socialize with, and what events you are invited to attend. Though there are rigid gender roles in this show, there are subtle references to female empowerment surrounding the members of the Bridgerton family and Lady Whistledown. These subtle hints of female empowerment, give this 19th Century based show, a 21st Century feel.
Photo courtesy of Netflix.