I loved it.
Every lavish, highly coloured and exotic moment.
But a bit of background first…
I’ve been a fan of Jane Austen since I was a young thing. Even before I had joined society so to speak. Later, I had to study the books and still loved them and later still, watched the television adaptations and loved those too.
And maybe ten years ago, I joined with a legion of other JA fans to write a mock JA story on Twitter, each contribution being only 140 characters long. I can tell you, cramming ‘Regency speak’ into 140 characters was no mean feat. Made even more exciting by the fact that the contributors were all global and we wrote to a very strict and efficient timetable and we garnered an enormous following!
Watching Bridgerton was a natural fit.
Regency. Arrogant hero, intelligent and choosy heroine. A dastardly type here and there. Some earthy sub-plots to dig up and digest.
I haven’t read the Bridgerton books but I suspect that now I’ve watched Series One (will there be a second series, a third and a fourth and so on right up to eight, thus taking care of the eight siblings?), I might just graze over them.
I can’t claim to know a lot about the era apart from what I’ve read of JA and thus I’m not qualified to comment on the historical values in the TV series. But from an entertainment POV, it is wonderful.
The story line is strong, the actors beautifully cast. The setting is England at its very best.
Which brings me to the costuming. Jaw-droppingly flamboyant and luscious. Like watching a Paris fashion show – outrageous for outrageousness’ sake.
‘”We left nothing untouched, we used nothing really from history but the silhouettes of the period.
“We took great license and because … it needed to be fresh, new, saucy, sexy, scandalous, it gives you the opportunity to jump out of the box.”
With this in mind, the dresses seen in the series were not necessarily reflective of those worn in real life during that time period…’ Ellen Mirojnik, costume designer.
The men are so perfectly tailored, the silhouettes beautifully Regency, the women silked and trimmed to perfection whilst busting, in the most literal sense, over the bodices of their Regency-styled gowns. Whether the historical values are there or not, I love Daphne’s wedding gown and foresee an explosion of Empire line gowns in 2021 fashion.
The sultriness of the Duke, paired with the cool endeavours of the eventual Duchess are beautifully expressed. And up until episode five, I thought the growing relationship between the two heady and anticipatory. That touch of the hands, the fingers entwining was, to me, more explosive than the no-holds-barred sex that comes after episode five.
My favourite sub-plot is the identity of Lady Whistledown, revealed at the end of the last episode. How clever to have a gossip columnist with such a name.
Early on I laid bets with myself that it was Penelope Featherington and I have of course, been proved right. It makes sense, as has been widely argued on the internet.
If I have any complaint at all about the series, I suppose that it’s after Episode Five, sex becomes rampant, explicit and perhaps gratuitous. I think the story would have sold itself on innuendo alone but I suspect I’m probably a lone voice in the wilderness on that one.
Prudish? Maybe, although I’ve written sex-scenes in my own novels. But in my case, they’re rare. Then again, my books aren’t historical romance – they’re historical fiction. There is a difference but that’s a discussion for another time.
Perhaps they suit Bridgerton because if I have to use one word to describe the TV series it’s ‘largesse’ on a grand scale and in the scheme of things, sex or no sex, a binge-worthy piece of viewing.
Now onto Queen’s Gambit…
I also loved it! Binge-watched it in 2 days over Christmas. I found it to be quite anachronistic but, unlike with some other shows, it really didn’t bother me.
Hi Kathryn! I debated using the term anachronistic but decided not to although I agree with you. But the essence of the era (as far as I’m aware) is still there – everything that I ever learned about Regency society from Jane Austen was present and heaving with freshness.
When I first saw the women’s and the Duke’s costumes I laughed out loud. But I think it serves the Featheringtons so well, portraying what an extreme person Lady Featherington is. One can’t help feeling sorry for the poor daughters.
I also loved the use of anachronistic soundtracks. Like those used in A Knight’s Tale, it works brilliantly. And my favourite waltz of all time was included (The Second Waltz) and in such a wonderful context, so I was immensely happy.
I hope you’re managing to survive Lockdown – a pity there’s not second, third and fourth series available at the moment. It might have leavened the unease. Cheers and stay safe.
I agree with you Prue, especially about the music. And I loved The Knight’s Tale too ? I definitely need more series – one was not enough! I’m surviving ok – still going to work just with new challenges – we’ve just gone into our third lockdown but as with the others, nothing much changes for me except less shopping ? Take care xx
We’ve not watched it yet, maybe we should, even if its just for the costumes.!!
The costumes are sometimes eye-watering, Libby, in the fabrics and trims. Let alone the cutting and styling. Nothing at all muslin, velvet and discreet. It’s brave, that’s for sure.
I tried to read the book by Julia Quinn, written in American English & with US colloquialisms, vernacular et al & found it woeful.
Being the traditionalist conservative I am, on reading of this television adaption & the license taken with the period itself, I decided to not bother watching the series.
Sex on screen does not bother me, well, not quite true, as I can sometimes feel almost embarrassed, particularly if accompanied by a man I do not know all that well.
Like a first date to see the film ‘Betty Blue’!
I am a great Georgette Heyer fan.
These wonderful stories could be adapted for either screen, yet are not.
Like our favourite DD books.
Some writers are more fortunate than others.
I hope your knee has improved & that you are well.
Hi Toni. I am afraid I’m the same as you. US colloquialisms and spellings don’t sit at all well with me in historical fiction. But I suspect it was a publisher’s demand so that the books would be acceptable to the US marketplace.
It may be that I don’t read them either because of the above; just relying on the grand fantasy that is the TV series. If you go into it with the mindset that it is a spoof or a Regency-styled fantasy, you’ll enjoy it. Particularly as society at the moment is filled with so many negatives. Pure escapism.
Oh by the way, were you aware that DD’s Lymond Saga has been contracted for TV. I have to say I’m cautious about that – the casting for one thing…
And yes thank you. My knee is slowly improving. I even crawled into a cubbyhouse yesterday. 😉