Streaming Sunday features TV series or movies adapted from books I’ve read, offered on at least one streaming service and I’ve watched.
The Bridgerton TV series is based on the book series by Julia Quinn, a historical romance series of the same name, beginning in 1813 London. There are eight books that chronical the romances of the eight Bridgerton siblings, led by their widowed mother, Violet. It’s one of my favorites, even though I still have the last three to finish.
One of the things that sets the book series apart from others in the genre is the author’s attention to the details of the Regency era, both historical facts and societal norms. Quinn is Harvard educated and actually started medical school before she abandoned that path after securing a book deal.
The TV series flies in the face of tradition, however, believing that period dramas do not have a limited audience or scope. It’s a “reimagined” Regency era, more extravagant, lavish, sexier and diverse. Fans of executive producer Shonda Rhimes have come to expect all of that in her shows. More people wanted to see themselves reflected and, using the rumored background of Queen Charlotte as the anchor, Rhimes cast the queen as a Black monarch, imagining what life would have looked like if race hadn’t been an issue. That opened up casting exponentially, as well as creativity in the adaptation.
Season 1 is based on the first book, The Duke & I, featuring Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter, and Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings. Surprisingly, it follows the book pretty closely, even its steaminess. The actor portraying Simon, Regé-Jean Page, was the breakout star and he earned every bit of that distinction. Sadly, he’s not scheduled to appear in future seasons, which is consistent with the books. That news caused quite a bit of fan backlash, nonetheless. I binge watched the season in a day (into the next morning), loving everything about it.
Season 2 is based on the second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, featuring eldest son Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma (changed from Sheffield based on the casting). I worried that it wouldn’t have the magic of the first but it more than held its own. It has a different vibe but is equally compelling. It’s an enemies-to-lovers storyline that came off perfectly. Their chemistry is off the charts, which I didn’t think Anthony could pull off! Yes, I binge watched this season, too.
The costumes and settings are deliciously lavish, propelling you into the period in a big way. I’m just as fascinated by the trappings as I am of the characters and stories. They are just as big an element as the acting.
Chris Van Dusen and Betsy Beers are executive producers, in addition to Shonda Rimes. Van Dusen is the creator and showrunner. They are a formidable team with impressive backgrounds and it’s reflected in both seasons. The first season smashed Netflix’s viewership records and the second season became its most watched series ever.
Season 1 debuted December 20, 2020 on Netflix, Season 2 on March 25, 2022. The series is renewed for Seasons 3 & 4 (already in production) but is planned to go eight seasons. We don’t have a release date yet for Season 3 but it’s reported to divert from the book schedule and feature Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherton. I’ll be all set to binge watch it no matter when it’s released or who’s featured.