Call for Comments: Bridgerton Is Back … and Still Beloved?

From Hannah: Bridgerton caused a stir worthy of Lady Whistledown when it premiered on Netflix in Christmas of 2020. Voxpopcast found so much in the first season to discuss that we recorded not one but two episodes where we analyzed everything from its portrayal of sex to the implications of the alternate historical setting. You could basically put together a Bridgerton syllabus with everything we cited in our show notes. (Hey! That could be a fun episode one day!) And the popularity of Bridgerton in its own right has not slowed down (you can buy everything from coloring books to a Bridgerton-themed Monopoly … which I just cannot get over). The original novels have, of course, benefitted from the show’s adaptation and revisions. And now the show will return on March 25 with a second season featuring Anthony Bridgerton (season one gave use very little reason to like him and plenty of reasons to cheer when anyone told him off so this will be … interesting). But if we’re going to talk about Bridgerton this time, we can’t talk about season two by itself, if only because the conversation has changed since season one premiered.

And it’s changed because of Bridgerton. A couple of examples to illustrate what we’re thinking about: Amanda Rae-Prescott, a pop culture writer who extensively writes about period pieces and diversity both within fandoms and productions, has argued that Sandition (a PBS adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished work of the same name that features Austen’s heroine of color Miss Lambe) should learn from Bridgerton. HBOMax finally released Julian Fellowes’s The Gilded Age this January after years in development hell, and it is airing in a far different world than Downton Abbey did. (Monica and I have a lot of opinions about Gilded Age that definitely fit into the Bridgerton conversation, but spoiler alert: the show is almost aggressively boring.) And, also, NBC/USA Network is currently airing the reality dating The Courtship that’s being aggressively tied to Bridgerton in coverage.

Which, frankly, worth watching for being a whole lot. It may be the best/worst thing I’ve ever seen. And regular listeners know I have consumed a lot of best/worst things.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot of thoughts specific to Bridgerton season two once it airs March 25. And that our co-hosts and Bridgerton and romance genre experts may very well have fascinating perspectives. We, of course, would love to hear from you! What are you looking forward to in the new season? Once you’ve seen Bridgerton seasons one and two, what did you think? What plot lines and characters should we discuss? Have you read the books? Are you happy with the adaptation from page to screen? (I’ll admit I have some Thoughts™ about the books, but I’ll save it for the episode. But would recommend curious listeners checkout The Viscount Who Loved Me for its intentional and unintentional hilarity.) What do you think has been influenced by Bridgerton? Where do you hope the romance and period dramas go from here?

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