by M. Page
‘After watching the episode, the main thing that became clear to me is that fans of films and shows such as Fifty Shades of Grey, After and Gossip Girl will instantly get behind the show and form an obsessive and intense fan-base, reflected in the response to the show from Facebook mums and teenagers.’
Creator: Chris Van Dussen
Cast: Rege-Jean Page, Phoebe Dynevor & Julie Andrews
Synopsis: During the regency era in England, eight close-knit siblings of the powerful Bridgerton family attempt to find love. This review covers Episode 1.
SPOILER ALERT – Some spoilers ahead so stop reading now if you want to avoid them.
Review: Did I enjoy the first episode of this new period drama? Yes. Is it a deep, ground-breaking, cleverly thought out and constructed piece of media? No, in no sense of the word. After watching the episode, the main thing that became clear to me is that fans of films and shows such as Fifty Shades of Grey, After and Gossip Girl will instantly get behind the show and form an obsessive and intense fan-base, reflected in the response to the show from Facebook mums and teenagers. The show has an exceptionally good looking young cast to bring in a young audience with some more experienced actors and actresses either providing comic relief or filling screen time. The one exception is Julie Andrews, who wonderfully narrates the story and portrays one of the only interesting characters in the whole show, Lady Whistledown.
The best part of the episode was the way it was shot and the musical score accompanying it by a country mile. The traditional orchestra playing new modern popular songs is a stroke of genius that brought a smile to my face and made me rewind back to listen again. The use of Girls Like You by Maroon 5 was a personal favourite which in my opinion accompanied the courting scene fantastically. The scenery and shooting of the show is superb, with the last scene providing us with an extremely aesthetically pleasing shot of the aristocracy dancing and looking on at the stunning (albeit phony) Duke of Hastings and Dafne Bridgerton. Julie Andrews also gives a great performance as a narrator who is both intriguing, mysterious and well-spoken. A note also must be made on the chemistry between Dynevor and Page, which manages to exist despite pathetically conventional and samey dialogue.
Parts of the show that could have been easily be improved is creativity. I am not saying that the show is not at all creative because there were SOME parts of the episode that were extremely creative like the use of music mentioned earlier on. However, several parts of the show did feel very repetitive and like that I have seen in many other movies, books and shows. I think with a clearly very capable actress such as Dynevor, her character could be made more interesting and less as of an ornament in the show that is already filled with attractive people. Once again, Page does seem to be a sound actor, but his character is unfortunately very reminiscent of a Mr Darcy or a Christian Grey, which although are greatly constructed characters, we have seen time and time and time again! Dialogue in the show is at some points a highlight but at others a total bore. A good example would be at the beginning of the episode when one of the Bridgerton sisters screams to get the attention of her older sister Dafne, silencing her other siblings. She then turns around and says with a smile on her face “Do you think she heard me?”. In my opinion this was a very weak attempt to make the audience laugh and also to make a side character more individual whereas all it really served to do was tell me the level at which this show was aiming for.
Overall I genuinely believe Bridgerton will become a huge success, even more so than it already is, with a large fan base and many more seasons (confirmed by how there are 8 books). That being said, I will not be a part of this fan base. The shows success is well deserved because it knows its audience, and unfortunately I am not in that demographic. That does not mean by any sense of the imagination however, that I did not find the show enjoyable, as it was an easy watch and a well shot episode when all is said and done.
Bridgerton is currently available on Netflix and was rated 15 by the BBFC.