Bridgerton’s first season took Netflix by storm with 82 million households having watched the series in its first 28 days of availability — which was only surpassed recently by Squid Game. Nonetheless, the popularity of the show was at an all-time high as it managed to stay on the top ten charts on Netflix, specifically on the number 1 spot for weeks on end in various countries worldwide — including the Philippines. The pressure, therefore, is at an all-time high for Season 2 of Bridgerton which we here at This Is Hype have been excited to see in order to review the show in its entirety.
Bridgerton is produced by Shondaland, the production company named after, owned, and headed by Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes is an institution in the world of television and is highly regarded as one of the best TV producers of our time for her dramatic and at times dark and suspense-filled takes on politics, gender roles, and a variety of social issues. Some of her notable works include Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal, and more recently Netflix’s Bridgerton and the limited series Inventing Anna. Along with Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes, Chris Van Dusen is the creative genius behind Bridgerton whose story is loosely based on Julia Quinn’s novels.
Bridgerton Season 2 Review: Recap and Overview
The story of Bridgerton is set in the competitive world of the Regency era in London’s ton during the season — a period where debutants are presented at court as a sign of allowing suitors with the hopes of finding a suitable match. At the center of the plot are the titular Brirdgerton family which consists of matriarch Dowager Viscountess Violet Bridgerton and the stories of her eight children: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth. In a similar fashion to the novels, the series explores the children’s search for love and their higher purposes and roles in a society that dictates various norms and standards of conduct and living. The search for love however in the ton isn’t an easy feat and comes at a high price as the Bridgerton family must navigate through a variety of issues, rivals, royal figures such as the Queen, and more importantly the nosey and influential power of an anonymous writer only known to the public as Lady Whistledown.
The second season follows the entire Brigerton family as a whole as well other rival families such as the Featheringtons just like the last season did but in a similar fashion will also revolve around a specific Bridgerton child — Viscount Anthony as he finds a suitable partner without love in the picture. The new season introduces viewers to new characters in the form of the Sharma family consisting of Lady Mary Sheffield Sharma and her two daughters Kate and Edwina.
Bridgerton Season 2 Review Spoiler Warnings
The plot of Bridgerton is admittedly simple and straightforward as seen in the first installment and it gets all the more so in the show’s most recent offering. This review for Bridgerton Season 2, will for the most part avoid any crucial plot points as it will tackle the show’s respect to the source material, its consistency in the plot, acting, and the overall direction of the story.
A Deviation To The Source Material
I must start this review by being completely honest that I myself have failed to open the pages of Julia Quinn’s novels. I say this will all candor as my perspective as one who has not read the novels may completely differ from those who have. It has come to my attention however that fans of the novels have found this season a far cry from what Quinn had penned in her book “The Viscount Who Loved Me”. Unlike the somewhat close-to-the-source material direction of the first season, it has been said that this version has chosen some questionable changes to the main story arcs — including the presence of future storylines and altercations in the events that surround the Bridgertons and the Sharmas.
While I can go on and on in a lecture-like monologue on the need to place a distinct and clear line between source materials and adaptations, I will avoid doing so as to not digress from the true direction of this review. I will however say this: stories, even adaptations, have freedom as an art form to creatively express and adjust to the new medium that it takes on. Fans of the original may be disappointed but the point still remains that an adaptation should be taken as a new interpretation of an already existing story that serves as a mere inspiration for the production of an entirely new creative output.
I actually believe that in this case that the changes in the story proved to be beneficial and here’s why. I firmly believe that this season managed to capture the strategic brilliance of the producer in order to provide a leveled playing field for those who have read the novels and for those who haven’t. By deviating from what fans of Quinn’s books already know, Rhimes was able to build the same amount of suspense, thrill, and excitement for both groups. Will such changes produce violent reactions? Definitely. The bold move and risks must however be commended. It was clear however from the very beginning that Shondaland was aiming to build a completely new immersive and inclusive society for Bridgerton. The changes in the chosen cast’s ethnicities and skin color were an already obvious move for these crucial characters, who were meant to be portrayed as white by historical and literary standards, were altered not just to be progressive in doing so but by making bold cultural statements.
Again these thoughts may be the complete opposite of those who have read the novels who I also have to agree may feel disappointed with the changes due to their investment in reading the books. However, as a new piece of art with a story that has been reinvented for a whole different medium, I urge Quinn’s fans to look at the show with a completely different lens.
An Inevitable End That Remains Exciting
Bridgerton Season 2 is admittedly too predictable. I feel like the teasers, trailers, posters, first few minutes, and overall format of the previous season give away too much to the inevitability of the story’s premise. It becomes a grueling process to get to the predictable and most anticipated ending as the show prolongs and delays the inevitable by adding seemingly unnecessary “twists” and turns. Most of these twists aren’t even that surprising, to begin with. Every moment simply contributes to the simple and linear path of this love story. It does present the complexities of love, especially in such an era where scandals become motivations for marriage. It also captures the deep-seated desire for love and passion and the immense wanting for another person. All of these elements seem to have been done however to prolong the story which at times — especially with the first few episodes — creates a very sluggish pace for the series.
Bridgerton however becomes interesting with how the journey plays out. Yes, it may be slow with almost an hour per episode but for some reason, there are moments in each episode that allow viewers to crave for more. There are moments that really drew me in and that pushed me to continue on despite the predictability and familiarity of the story’s plot. The tropes of love stories and being caught in a love triangle are overly done at times but there is just rawness and elegance to the way that the story is delivered. There is just a desire for viewers to finish the story and not give up midway to reach the ending which actually proves to be worthwhile. Again it’s somewhat expected for the show to end on a positive note, but seeing it still proves to be more than satisfying. I personally ended the show wanting more from the Bridgertons — filled with excitement for the future installments.
The characterization and acting of the three central figures in this story didn’t help either. There were some improvements with some particularly Edwina whom I had personally despised due to her over-the-top excitement, positivity, and child-like mannerisms and expressions. Things did pick up for newcomer actress, Charithra Chandran, and the character towards the middle down to the final moments of the film. Kate and Antony’s back and forth in characterization didn’t really make sense, to be honest. The way they were quick to jump back and forth with their principles and ideals was all too confusing. The actors didn’t give that much justice to the roles as well as it felt forced and underwhelming at times to convince viewers of their love that was naked by hatred and so-called disparity in beliefs and views which, to be honest, wasn’t fooling anyone both in and out of the show’s story. One of the saving graces however was the impeccable script writing. The dialogue was just spot on and was able to produce variations in emotions, especially in the moments that called for perfectly written confrontations and declarations.
Phenomenal Technical Production
One area of the show that deserves credit however is the overall visual and auditory direction that it brilliantly pioneers as a TV show. The show’s cinematography, set designs, costumes, hairstyling, editing, and most importantly its musical scoring is spot on to bring London’s Regency era to life. There is an immersive atmosphere that the show is able to deliver for its viewers and fans as the entire story shines on the backdrop of an almost life-like version of England during a time gone by. There is precise attention to detail that Bridgerton continues to deliver on and I must admit that this season has truly taken things to a whole new level. I particularly love the musical scoring which still utilizes the integration of modern music such as Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball but in a classical instrumental rendition which are added to add depth and richness to the atmosphere that Bridgerton creates.
Season 2 actually depicts an artist’s desire to improve and constantly be better in order to provide fans with an experience that puts them front and center in the story that goes on in Bridgerton.
Bridgerton Season 2 Review Final Verdict
Bridgerton Season 2 admittedly doesn’t beat its predecessor due to the central actors and lack of characterization. The plot also has a sluggish pace and is simple and linear in its direction. The show does have a lot of promise in its technical aspects, particularly in its cinematography, visuals, and musical scoring. The show also manages to keep audiences hooked despite the slow pace which is an incredible feat due to the liveliness and intrigue that it exhibits as well as the spot-on writing in the show’s dialogue.
We give Bridgerton a score of 7 on our Hype Meter as it can definitely still do better but it is still a binge-worthy show. Despite being polarizing in terms of its approach to the source material, Season 2 opens the door for more explorations to be done in the world of Bridgerton.
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