Design

The Only Show Anyone’s Talked About for the Last Two Weeks

Bridgerton

When it comes to TV shows, there are certain things I never go for…

I am not moved by period pieces, nor am I moved by romance. (No matter how many times someone tells me to check out Outlander, I have yet to take the bait. I don’t doubt it’s as swoon-worthy as they say, it’s just not my cup of tea.) So, when Netflix presented me with ad after ad for Bridgerton, the over-the-top 19th-century drama based on the series of romance novels, I was not seduced.

Then one Friday morning I met my friend for our weekly “sanity walk,” where we share tales and grievances and other minutiae, in an attempt to make up for all the in-person connections we once took for granted. Among this friend’s many wonderful qualities is that she always has the best recommendations when it comes to good TV.

“Have you seen Bridgerton?” she asked, as we walked through the park. I nearly stopped in my tracks.
“No,” I said. “Have you?”
“Yes, I watched the entire thing!” She went on to say that while she and her husband poked fun at it, they devoured it in a matter of days.

Later that night, while doing the endless scroll in search of a new series, along came Bridgerton.

“Maybe we should try it,” I suggested. “I’ve heard it’s actually good!”
My boyfriend and I watched the trailer, a two-and-a-half minute confection set to dramatic string crescendos.
“No,” he shook his head resolutely. “Absolutely not.”
(Cue the theme song from Unsolved Mysteries.)

Another couple days went by, peppered with ever more Bridgerton — in banner ads, all over social media, on the side of the nearest bus stop. “Have you seen Bridgerton??” came a text from one friend. “I started it last night and watched four episodes.” “YOU MUST WATCH BRIDGERTON,” said another. “The duke is sexy. Very, very sexy. Quite possibly the sexiest man ever.”

Eventually, it reached a point where I could no longer participate in conversation. And so, I watched Bridgerton.

It was everything I expected — like the curious offspring of a Hallmark holiday movie, a Jane Austen novel, and Gossip Girl — with a handful of gratuitous sex scenes thrown in for good measure. Did I like it? Hard to say. Yet I could not look away.

What exactly makes Bridgerton so compelling? Is it the offscreen narration by Julie Andrews? The beautiful string renditions of contemporary pop songs? The technicolor parade of costumes like something out of a Baz Luhrmann film? Most likely, it’s the ultra-capable hands of creator Chris Van Dusen and producer Shonda Rhimes, who were able to usher this tale into the twenty-first century.

Amid all the jubilance, Bridgerton does bring up some serious topics (and has drawn criticism for its handling of them), particularly where race and consent are concerned (Warning! LINKS CONTAIN SPOILERS). Meanwhile, the women are the ones driving the plot, despite the considerable confines of their time.

Would I sit through it in any other season? Maybe not. But during this one, marked by bouts of upheaval and the appetite for escapism, Bridgerton is a perfect fit.

(Because I am still me, I have been alternating episodes of Bridgerton with the new Fran Lebowitz/Martin Scorsese docuseries Pretend It’s a City, a suitably wry chaser.)

And now, I must continue the chain: Have YOU watched Bridgerton? What’s your take?

P.S. The ultimate TV guide and not-so-guilty pleasure shows.

  1. Zoe says...

    I’m surprised at how surprised everyone is about Bridgerton. Am I the only adult lady among us who has read the sexy historical romance novels? I snuck a Harlequin out of the free neighbourhood library a few years ago, hoping to indulge in the long-forbidden ‘soft-porn’ and was SO disappointed by how un-sexy it got. Too tame! So I started looking periodically for sweet, satisfying, escapist, literary soft porn. It happens to mostly be historical. Maybe the constraints on women’s behaviour is a metaphorical stand in for bondage? Either way, I use audio novels like this to fall asleep when my brain is crazed. Easy to listen/tune-out, kind of sexy, droning narrators. And they’re all almost exactly the same plot points as Bridgerton, give or take a dramatic tragic scene or so. Some even feel feminist ;)

    • Chi says...

      Nope – your’e not alone – I love reading ridiculous trashy racy soft porn novel in between the more serious thought provoking books – some seven seas rough dark eyed pirate type thing is a personal favorite ;-)

  2. shannon says...

    also, superstore is a great fun show that we watch with our teen and preteen

  3. Anna says...

    It was boring, especially for something so trashy and full of sex. I made myself watch the whole thing, but I never got into it. I like my escapism / trashy TV therapy, and much preferred Emily in Paris.

  4. Anni says...

    Just search for “Bridgerton” and “rape” or “marital consent”. And you have the answer why I avsolutely hated that show…First I just felt uncomfortable but could not point my finger on it but then I got it. Big mistake from the creators!

    • Betsy says...

      Oof, yes to this. That storyline made me feel super uncomfortable. Could you imagine if the gender roles were switched, and he premeditated an act going against her family planning wishes?

      Especially disappointing after they started strong in the first intimate scene as a couple when he EXPLICITLY waited for her consent.

  5. sarah exeter says...

    Loved Bridgerton, have resisted Outlander too. Have you checked out Call my Agent (Netflix, French)?

  6. Bee says...

    I wanted to love it, hoping to have found some kind of replacement drug for Downtown Abbey. But I found it so boring.

  7. Jenny says...

    I like the idea of a color-blind cast for a period piece, but there were no Asians, South Asians, Arabs, Latinx. Which really seems implausible for 1% London at the height of colonialism and for people who wear a lot of purple silk…The costumes, the snarky words, and the sex scenes were fun though (especially if you’ve been alone for a year now)!

    • Marian says...

      I think there’s a misconception that it’s meant to be “colorblind” when in actuality they specifically reference the elevation of Black people because of Queen Charlotte (who was in reality Black).

  8. jenny says...

    It was a fun escape and kept my attention as a “brain turn off” before bed. I’ve never been a huge tv watcher but quarantine has made me watch more. I have enjoyed several shows: Dickinson, The Great, Normal People, Never Have I Ever, Ted Lasso, Victoria, The Morning Show, The Queen’s Gambit and obviously Bridgerton. Can’t find anything to watch right now…..any ideas based on my preferences? (I have tried Schitt’s Creek and just can’t get into it).

    • OMG. This is my list of the last year. I love call the midwife. And grand designs. Both on Netflix.

    • Megan says...

      Not sure if you’re into home stuff but I watch all of those shows and also like Dream Home Makeover (Netflix) and home town (hgtv)

  9. Cora says...

    I tried. I really did. I thought I loved everything Shonda Rhimes touched, but not this.

  10. Asha says...

    Yes!!! Totally got into it for the escapism, costumes and um…yeah the Duke of Hastings ;). It’s a much needed point of levity, for me, that I didn’t realize I needed. And seeing diversity in the cast as the norm was a welcome sight. I’ve also binged LUPIN. It was sooooo good. Netflix is really setting the bar high. Especially in telling/highlighting stories in other languages.

  11. AM says...

    Caroline how can you like Bridgerton (which I hated one episode in) and NOT WATCH OUTLANDER?!!?!!? This makes no sense to me. Just. Watch. It. Sam Heughan will make it worth it, trust me.

    • Y says...

      I also love Outlander and haaated the first episode of Bridgerton, but I kept watching and it got much better. The conversations go a little deeper and the story had some unexpected twist. Not mind blowing, but definitely better. The last one even had a cliff hanger that has me wanting season 2!

  12. tina crisas says...

    Same! i got into it, i felt it was a welcome escape to all the maddness around us AND the cinematography, art direction and costumes were so good!
    (P.S. That’s how I felt about “the gambit”, it kept coming up on my feed, i kept ignoring it, alas our paths aligned and i devoured it in nearly one go!)

  13. Ok, I started watching this. But when I got to the part where she got mad at him after this wonderful sex they were having and then a rift was started and I didn’t really understand what was going on. What did I miss?

    • Mary says...

      To be blunt, he was pulling out to avoid getting her pregnant. She made him finish while she was on top, and could tell by his reaction that he’d been doing this on purpose/didn’t want to finish inside her. Which then gets into some very icky dynamics with consent/assault. He’s mad that she forced him to finish; she’s mad that he lied about being sterile & about the mechanics of sex.

  14. I couldn’t finish the first episode. Probably just my mindset right now, but the whole thing about the girls being paraded around so the men can see who will be available just hit me. I know that’s how it was, but… like I said… probably my mindset.

  15. Laura in Vancouver says...

    For anyone who enjoys a good spy thriller – or, like me has finished Unsolved Mysteries – might I recommend a fantastic French show called The Bureau. It streams on Sundance Now and there are five whole seasons. You do need to be up for subtitles, but otherwise it’s about the best TV I’ve watched in YEARS.

    You’re welcome.

    • Anna says...

      Same! Best thing I’ve watched in years. So intense, and you get so invested in the characters.

  16. Kelly says...

    I’m so disappointed they included the sexual assault. I’m sorry, I can’t believe in a happily ever after where one partner has wronged the other so deeply, and not even attempted any kind of introspection or self-examination. I had to stop watching, it was deeply triggering and the dismissal of the experience from certain fans of the show was horrible to watch. This stuff is really invalidating, not just for men who survive sexual assault, but for all survivors.

    • Elle says...

      hummm what assault are you talking about?

    • B says...

      @Elle the Duke withdraws consent during sex and Daphne continues anyway. That’s assault, even if consent was initially given.

    • Anon says...

      While I understand this was triggering for you, let it be clear that this was NOT sexual assault. Simon was in the throes of passion, having a great time, and he never withdrew any consent–all he did was say “Daphne.” Can you really blame her?

    • Yulia says...

      In response to the anonymous comment. He didn’t consent. Every time they’d had sex before, Simon had withdrawn prior to ejaculation as a matter of principle–and he told Daphne exactly why he chose to do it. Although it felt good and he was having a great time, he didn’t expect sex to be different that time than it had been any other. Yes, he consented to sex… but not to ejaculation. When he said “Daphne” I heard confusion and helplessness because it was all happening so quickly and unexpectedly. In his own words that was the one thing he didn’t want–and he lost trust in her because of it. Later (staircase scene) he told her he wouldn’t have penetrative sex with her anymore because of it.

      (Or consider this loose parallel: a woman is sexually assaulted and her body produces enough moisture to lubricate the penetrative act. Her assaulter cites her body’s natural response as evidence that she enjoyed the assault and consented. Her assaulter also says “you never actually said the word ‘stop,’ you just said my name in a confused way.” The body’s response is not consent when the assaulted person is experiencing something they have told their assaulter they don’t want to experience.)

    • Lori says...

      I agree. While I finished watching the show, I completely checked out of that storyline after that. He was very clear with her that he wasn’t going to give her children as a condition for even consenting to the marriage, and her trampling all over that, no matter her justification, really made me mad! Could you imagine if their positions were reversed? I bet everyone would be up in arms!

  17. Lesley says...

    Absolutely thought I’d hate Bridgerton and only gave it a chance because last week was hard, and sometimes life needs an escape. My favorite part (besides the Duke) is the music. I’ve started playing Vitamin K during homeschool. It’s the perfect mix of mellow/soothing/fun. But the soundtrack also makes me very eager for the evening when I can binge again. I’ll be so sad when the last episode is over!

  18. Liz C says...

    I loved it so much! It was a welcome distraction from what’s happening in our world today. I can’t wait for season 2.

  19. Anon says...

    Ugh I totally get the too much spice!!! haha. Random question – does anyone ever just skip or fast-forward those *spicey* scenes when you’re with parents/in-laws/people it’s awkward to watch that stuff around? I guess it means actually acknowledging that it’s awkward lol but it means you don’t have to sit through it!

    • Ashley says...

      Thought it was awful…still watched every episode. Thanks quarantine!

    • Agnes says...

      Ugh, I FF (fast forward) even when I’m alone. Watching other people having sex – not for me, not in any format.

  20. Julia says...

    I watched it with my sister in one day over the holidays! I was very annoyed that they tried to explain how they fixed racism with love. I would rather they had just done a colorblind casting which is what I thought it was until that point. They was just not enough discussion about race and it was so unrealistic that the only way I was able to enjoy the rest of the show was by pretending that scene didn’t exist.

  21. suki says...

    Agreed.
    Even as I knew I was being manipulated, (“Hallmark holiday movie, a Jane Austen novel and Gossip Girl” aka: screenwritten by an algorithm opposed to being an original creative endeavor that takes a risk), and then data-profiled inside and out, I still binged it immediately. What can I say, the production values sucked me in more than anything, being starved for creative tv as I am.

    It took a lot longer for me to watch Emily in Paris but I ended up enjoying that – it was actually a modern story and aside from her clothing budget.

  22. Jennifer O. says...

    I’m a longtime romance reader and I read the Bridgerton books back when they were published (so remember the source material is from around 2000). It’s been interesting and also frustrating to see responses from people who don’t have that background. It’s kind of an “I can pick on my brother but no one else can” feeling. Ultimately, I ‘m glad so many people have watched it and enjoyed it (for the most part) even with its issues. (And The Duke & I has a major one with that sexual assault, which has been a topic of discussion in Romancelandia for years.)

    • noreen says...

      The author gave an interview where she discussed that scene in the books and that she was pleased with the revision in the show.

  23. LB says...

    I watched the trailer and decided I’d watch it when my husband isn’t around and I’ve reached one of those desperate quaran-times nothing else can fix (the kind that made me binge Emily in Paris, no shame lol).

    Reminds me of The Great, but more rom-com / Rhimes.

  24. Mims says...

    Personally, found myself wishing they spent more money on better writing, less on costumes. And the wisteria bloomed for three months straight! But I have a therapist friend who is an authority on adolescent sexuality and she said the scene where the Duke explained masturbation to Daphne was pure gold that should be given to every tweenager.

    • b says...

      I read somewhere (in some Bridgerton rabbit hole I fell down when I was supposed to be working) that they made 7,500 NEW dresses for the show. None of the costumes had appeared in any movie or show before.

  25. Mary says...

    My husband and I have really gotten into Longmire on Netflix. The plot has been building and we have to force ourselves to not stay up too late!

  26. Clermont says...

    Not yet, but I plan to. Just started The Queen’s Gambit. I recently finished re-watching all of Gossip Girl (yes to escapism!) so I needed a break before diving back into something similar.

    • b says...

      The Queen’s Gambit is fantastic. The production really made me want to pursue a career in film and television production. I’ve been assisting with virtual event production a lot this year for work, which is not nearly on the same level as a tv show or film, but the work is so fascinating.

    • Madame says...

      Yes…Queens Gambit! What a great show!

      I actually went back and tried Bridgerton again (after abandoning fifteen minutes in). After all the rave reviews here, I felt I should give it a chance… I still hated it! So many things did not work for me!
      Dialogues, acting, historical inaccuracy… nope nope nope!

  27. Sally says...

    I watched, and mostly enjoyed Bridgerton, but it wasn’t a binge-worthy show for me.
    Personally, if people want a show about the trials and tribulations of the upper class, I’d say Downton Abbey is much better.

    • Genevieve says...

      Downton Abbey is definitely one of my favorite shows, though I was also really into Bridgerton as a guilty pleasure and completely in acknowledgment of all its flaws. What i think sets apart Downton from other period dramas is that the family really embraces the domestic help staff and the stories also focus on the staff about as equally as they do on the family. Downton is a far better show, but what I think intrigued me the most about Bridgerton is the overall main theme of the young people/current generation trying to break out of conventional social restrictions and pave a path for themselves as much as they can…which is also one of the themes that Downton touches on, especially in Edith’s story.

    • Marian says...

      LOL people didn’t watch Bridgerton for the trials and tribulations of the upper class. They watch it for SEX (and by “they” I 100% mean me!) ;)

  28. Ali says...

    Felt like such a missed opportunity for me. It had all of the makings of a hit show — enormous budget, period piece, gorgeous costumes, romance, drama — but damn, the writing was terrible. I cringed my way through a few episodes and felt like it could have been SO much better.

    • Ashley says...

      Completely agree.

  29. I started the first episode — twice — and that’s as far as I got.

  30. Claudia says...

    I love period pieces and have watched all the adaptations of Jane Austen and the Bronte sister’s novels (Colin Firth will always, always be Mr Darcy to me) . So I though “why not? let’s give it a try”. Watched some episodes (agree, the Duque is sexy), but in general it’s so inaccurate. I know it’s supposed to be fun and romantic and all, but no thank you. :)

  31. Alice says...

    I loved it- and actually, so did my boyfriend! It is ABSOLUTELY NOT his type of TV at all, but we’ve had a lot of tough stuff going on recently and needed some unapologetic fluff. It was GREAT for that! We also loved the fact that the exterior of the Bridgertons’ house is basically around the corner from our house (and several scenes are filmed around here too!), which means they’re basically our neighbours.

  32. Anne Marie Santelices says...

    Its what i expected in a love story..i luv the regency era…everything was great..Daphne and Simon – great actors..i wish to see them Season 2..Dont you think.they didnt feel.anything after all those love scenes..Season 2 pls soon.

  33. Thea says...

    I agree completely. I would watch this any season. It does not offend my academic ego.

  34. Taylor says...

    There are about 12 girls in my girlfriend’s text chain, 6 of us have watched Bridgerton so we made a side text so we didn’t bombard those who weren’t interested. We have all started reading the books now and I was the last to join in, I got the first one for $6 on audible and love the tone of the writing! We’ve started our own little Bridgerton Book Club! I love reading the books before the movies!

    • b says...

      I got the first book from Amazon with a gift card from the holidays and have been stalking every bookstore I can think of to find the rest. I finally found them at Books-A-Million – they’re all backordered and it’s going to be about two months before I have the complete series, but that’s okay. There was a major sale so it’s fine.

  35. Ess says...

    Loved it so much. Total confection of a show. Biggest question is, what do I watch next??!!

  36. Anna says...

    Anyone else watching Dickinson right now? Season 2 just dropped. I watched 1 episode of Bridgerton before running right back to the Dickinson universe.

    • Amy says...

      I didn’t know a second season was coming! This is great news; I was in a TV slump. Back to Apple TV for month’s subscription…and again when a second season of Ted Lasso is ready :)

  37. Shena says...

    I think that along with all the glitz and dialogue and music and color, this series got lucky with magical chemistry between the two main characters. Everything else was like desert for the eyes, but the sparkles between Simon and Daphne were golden sprinkles.

  38. Colleen S says...

    I’m not a fan of Shonda Rimes shows. Whether or not she made it, I find her shows too fake and uninteresting. It’s my type of show, but I don’t do rape. A man in that time period could literally get out of a marriage no questions asked, but he stayed with the person who pushed him past his comfortable point. I don’t want to hear the spins. If a man did this to a woman, we’d all be outraged.

    • suki says...

      I also found that disturbing and basically inexcusable in a modern production, from any perspective, including “creative” license.

    • Kelly says...

      The spins are horrible. Every survivor knows what it’s like to hear other people try to spin what happened.

  39. GG says...

    I also started watching it after the same kind of sustained lobbying campaign from friends (and my mom). Enjoyed the first few episodes but I’ve taken a pause after the ep w the first major sex scene bc…the leads have no chemistry to me. It makes the sex feel so cringey to me. After watching normal people, I think I may be ruined on bad sex scenes forever!

    • Sally says...

      Wow, you are ME! I’m had the exact same thought and proceeded to watch NP yet again after Bridgerton. Much better.

    • Tania says...

      I totally agree — they have no chemistry, as beautiful as they both are. It’s baffling to me to hear others say otherwise (although I concede the chemistry seems to grow a bit as the series proceeds). I still enjoy the show! but it’s a bit of a bummer seeing as they are the heart of the show.

    • Ashley says...

      Yes! It felt like they were trying to emulate the sex scenes from NP a bit, but it completely fell flat for me.

  40. B says...

    Oh, I am very here for Bridgerton, but I am the target demographic-a romance novel fiend and a glutton for escapism even in the calmest of times. The Duke and his abs that were supposedly honed by sexually frustrated boxing. The elegant white nightdress that sent me down an internet shopping rabbit hole. The surprisingly savvy and empowered female characters. All of it, really. Dear universe/Hollywood producers/Netflix tastemakers, please turn all of my favorite romance series into frothy, distracting television that takes the edge off reality! TYIA

  41. Courtney says...

    Yes! It was amazing!!

  42. Monee' Hogan says...

    Everything is not for everyone. We never look at Si-Fi and say there is no historical accuracy. Why? Because it’s fiction. Just as The Ton is fiction. Something to take our mind off of reality. Color, diversity, pomp & circumstance. Beautiful people fulfilling our need to be swept away as if in a dream. I loved every bit of it and look forward to more season’s for the rest of the family. Diversity is the spice of life. There are those who don’t care for it and that is fine. But there are those like myself, who appreciated the escape. And the Duke was life!!!!

    • Yes! Yes to all of this. A delicious trifle (that I have watched twice).

    • Claire says...

      Yes, agreed, good points. I don’t understand the criticisms about accuracy. It’s a fictional romance story, and historical accuracy seems an odd metric to measure by. Even with tv shows and stories told in contemporary settings, accuracy and realistic settings are relative to the story being told, and probably budget considerations, and entirely fabricated and crafted by the designer people (I don’t know the names of the job titles). Take Fleabag, and Catastrophe, for example, both stories told with deliberately crafted settings and carefully designed costumes. We just don’t think about it because it looks familiar to us.

  43. Lynn says...

    Timely, everywhere marketing and friend recs got me to watch The Undoing. I was not into it, yet because of the hooks between episodes I watched the whole thing. I’m a bit bummed for going against my instincts on that one. This article tells me to remain strong in the face of Bridgerton!

    • Julee says...

      Man I know what you mean about The Undoing! My husband and I watched the whole series over the past month and in the end, it was a let down.
      Oh well… not every show is a winner.
      We also just finished Bridgerton. It’s pure frothy escapism (and we don’t even watch romantic tv) and we really loved the show. 🤷‍♀️

  44. Kate says...

    I absolutely, unapologetically loved it. Happened upon it before I heard anything about it and devoured it. The duke is so dreamy. And the wedding night and honeymoon scenes?! Yowza. (And yes, I admit to watching them a few extra times ;) Told my sister to watch it and forewarned her to NOT watch it with her visiting mother in law. Also – LOVED Ted Lasso and The Morning Show. Very different shows, but both excellent

    • NL says...

      Agree, wholeheartedly! I almost wanted to not like it when I first turned it on and then, somehow, I had devoured the whole season? And wished for more? Also, hard yes on Ted Lasso.

    • Sabrina says...

      Haha! I did watch the whole thing with my mom, it was cringe-y at times but we watched all of Sex and the city together so… yeah. And I definitely watched the honeymoon scenes a few extra times, too ;)! It was the best escapism from the end of 2020 I´d say! (and can Eloise… I loved her!)

    • Kelly says...

      Ted Lasso has my whole heart. What a heartwarming show!

      The guy who plays Roy Kent was a writer on the show and really fell for the character, and just decided to be brave and send in an audition tape. They never even considered anyone else!

  45. Valea says...

    I resented watching „Bridgerton“ cause, like Caroline, I don‘t like period pieces. But then I gave it a try – and man, did I fall in love… The cast, the costumes, the fine arrangements, and, of course, the Duke. So hot. It is the best series getting me through this pandemic and a very weird beginning of a new year. Such a nice and secy distraction from reality!

  46. Rachel says...

    haha this has been my exact relationship to watching Bridgerton, except I haven’t watched yet. Will probably give in at some point, but I think it will be a special treat when my husband is off doing something else.

    YES TO FRAN! Cannot get enough of her and her wry wit. Love. Her.

    Can also not get enough of Grand Designs – would highly recommend.

  47. Kelly says...

    It’s so trashy it’s good! I highly suggest the books – they are fun and flirty with great banter.

  48. celeste says...

    I’m of the Caroline school of thought where I don’t like period pieces. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is the show I would if I was a TV writer, however.

  49. Fiona says...

    HIGHLY recommend the amazing instagram account “Black History Walks” (https://www.instagram.com/blackhistorywalks/?hl=en) who do an incredible job of contextualizing the history of Black people in the UK and in London particularly. They are having a Bridgerton specific zoom “walk” on January 31 discussing characters that have shown up in the show, as well as contextualizing a lot of the diversification from what a regency era show usually looks like. I’ve not seen this one but I’ve done their walks before and I find them endlessly thoughtful and smart. – Note, they are held in London so be aware of the time differences if you decide to book!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds fantastic — thank you, Fiona!

    • suki says...

      No one has mentioned how amazing it was that the Queen was black – I am white but I totally loved the integration of black characters – it was so creative and refreshing to see and I enjoyed that aspect very much.

    • Kelly says...

      Romance Author Vanessa Riley has a great page on Black people in the regency era. https://vanessariley.com/blackpeople.php
      She writes wonderful regencies with Black heroines, like “A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby.”
      @Joanna, this would be a great link to include in your roundups!

  50. Hanna says...

    Haha, I had exactly the same reaction as your boyfriend after watching the trailer. BUT, I am really enjoying Pretend it’s a city! And Lupin is also a fun short watch (although I’m not sure if it’s available everywhere).

    • K says...

      Yes, I clicked on Lupin to see what it was like, and got sucked in right away! Watched the whole episode before I knew it.

    • suki says...

      Omg. He is gorgeous and I watched the whole series in one night. Hoping for a season two.

  51. Vanity Fair calls it “delightful trash,” and I think that phrase sums it up well! I’m watching now, don’t love it, but my standards are lower nowadays!

    • EJ says...

      My husband referred to it as “the Doritos of TV,” which I thought was another good phrase for it!

    • Ali says...

      That’s exactly it!

  52. Oh I love this conversation! I too was trying to avoid it but when everyone started to say it was like Gossip Girl, I had to find out why. I can’t say I love it but I also can’t say I don’t love it. Would I watch another season? Of course I would.

  53. Caitlin says...

    My partner calls it the “Look at that handsome man and the lady who loves him!!” show. Whenever he would walk by and watch for a few minutes, he murmured “handsome man is back.”

    • kelly says...

      this is glorious and made me smile!! thank you 💛

    • Deb says...

      Haha I’ve been watching Virgin River and my husband calls it “The Earnest Show” and when I’m watching says “are people being earnest again?”

    • Amy says...

      Oh man, I could not do Virgin River. Mel was fine, but I couldn’t handle Hope. Or Charmaine. And after all that drama, even Jack got tiresome. I wanted to see what happened with Preacher after Paige left, but I couldn’t tolerate the women long enough to find out. I could probably google that…ha!

  54. Molly says...

    I LOVED it! I love period pieces – Pride and Prejudice is my favorite movie so obviously it’s up my alley. I loved the playful additions of modern day music, the diversity inclusion and I’m a complete sucker for any romance novel storyline. The Duke is swoon worthy!! Love him!

    • Nana Goldie says...

      My 5 year old grandson told his grandpa that Nana has a new boyfriend, the Duke of Hastings. His grandpa laughed & said Nana’s old boyfriend was Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth).

    • Noreen says...

      SAME GIRL. SAME.
      I started following some period drama instagram feeds and its helped me find more gems!

  55. EJ says...

    Unpopular opinion here, but I thought it was so bad, though I inexplicably watched it all anyway. I felt no chemistry in the main couple, and the central drama of their relationship could’ve been cleared up with one honest conversation rather than the uncomfortable course it took, which definitely raised some alarm bells about consent.
    Side note: to my eyes, the Duke looked about 30 while Daphne appeared to be, like, 12, which made all of the intimate scenes feel really cringey for me.

    • Kelly says...

      if you like the genre and readings – read the books. They are very different and I absolutely loved them.

    • Holly says...

      YES! Daphne looks 12 and it made all the sex soooo cringy!

    • AmesB says...

      Exactly my feeling EJ! No chemistry between the leads (the Duke is beautiful but his acting is painful) and Daphne is super young looking. I love a Jane Austen adaptation but the source material is so brilliant and witt, the characters and plots so well drawn. Here, as with many Netflix shows, I feel they’re distracting me with beautiful things (houses, dresses, men) but the characters are fairly one dimensional with little development. Still, reader ill probably stick with it.

    • JoAnn says...

      Completely agree, EJ! I thought most of the acting was cringe-y, but I found it unwatchable after I got to the controversial consent scene in the honeymoon episode.

    • Tess says...

      Yes, this! Completely.

    • Cheryl says...

      Same opinion here. The plot was so flimsy, the acting bad, the conversations implausible, I just had to throw my hands up and raise an eyebrow or two at the vigorous cunnilingus. At least Outlander had more meat on the bone. Ha!

    • suki says...

      EXACTLY. But hey, there’s some realism for ya.
      Still, he is so, so very handsome. Yeah, awkward, really.

  56. Tara says...

    Netflix gave us the soft-core porn and FINEST man when we needed it the most. Eternally grateful.

  57. Clare says...

    Joe Pera on HBO Max is fantastic. Funny, sweet, calming & perfect to fall asleep too yet edgy enough for alt comedy fans.

  58. Maire says...

    I thoroughly enjoyed Bridgerton. The next seasons cannot come soon enough. I read the books years ago, so I am thinking about revisiting, but I also want to say that when reading/watching historical romances (perhaps with the exception of Outlander which prides itself on the historical research) you kind of have to suspend some reality, which I’m okay with. And I’m a historian. Give me all the escapism, the beautiful costumes and people, and the happy endings please.

    I hope the success of Bridgerton means that more romances will be adapted for streaming services and films. There is so much fantastic material out there!

    • b says...

      Yes! Honestly, I would pay for an entire streaming service that was (well-done) adaptations of Regency romance novels – Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Joanna Shupe, Sarah MacLean, Grace Burrowes, Elizabeth Hoyt, etc.).

  59. Claire says...

    Happily I guess people just like what they like. I really enjoyed it and had fun watching. I didn’t expect it to resemble reality, like most tv shows it is just pretend, so why not? Maybe all the beaded dresses and jewelry and rose gardens dazzled me, and helped the fantasy along. I happily silenced my inner critic and just went with it. Loved the opulent costumes and sets, loved the soap opera-y plot, and the musical score, really enjoyed seeing Nicola Coghlan (of Derry Girls – loved that show!) and Claudia Jessie in the subplot of bff’s .
    (Since we are on the subject of tv shows, may I also recommend/ rave about the funny, subversive, original, and delightful, Teenage Bounty Hunters? LOVED IT!! made me laugh. )

    • Sadie says...

      Yes! Everyone who watches sitcoms needs to watch Derry Girls.

  60. Amy says...

    I really enjoyed it. While it wasn’t perfect, it was wonderfully acted and designed, and there were enough great scenes and exchanges that I didn’t mind the slower ones.

    And yes, the actor playing the Duke of Hastings may well be the sexiest dude ever. If he doesn’t become a big star after this, Hollywood’s even dumber than I thought.

  61. Katie says...

    As an avid reader of romance I’m definitely delighted that TV is finally making the time for these women-led stories and realizing what a cash cow the romance genre could be for TV adaptation. That being said: why oh WHY did they pick Bridgerton to do it with?! The weird consent/virgin tropes (non-romance readers wouldn’t understand but basically EVERY romance from the 80s-90s-early 00s has a virginal heroine and some crazy sex-related misunderstandings along with very dubious consent plots…). They could have picked the novels of Meredith Duran (which often tackle issues of race/class/political upheaval or violence but oh-so-deftly)! Or Joanna Bourne (seriously sexy spy novels with hilarious female leads and amazing geopolitical subplots). So much of Bridgerton was frothy and fun but it could have been, easily, so much better.

    One point is that Outlander is not actually in the romance genre. The first season of the show does feature the two main leads getting together, as does the first book, but it’s straight-up good fiction and not romance. The show runners for Outlander have a weirdly heavy-handed tell-don’t-show thing with the romance sometimes; it’s definitely one of the many ways the storytelling in the books is more sophistocated than the show.

    • June says...

      I’ve been reading Romance novels as my lockdown escapism– Now that I’ve read all of Outlander, what next?! The Joanna Bourne books sound great… More Romance recs please, everyone! xo

    • Katie says...

      @June I highly recommend the website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for all the best romance recommendations (and HILARIOUS reviews of the books they can’t recommend…). But yes, Joanna Bourne’s books are incredible!

      Glancing quickly at my Kindle app it looks like I can also recommend Meredith Duran, Sarah MacLean, Carrie Lofty, Eloisa James (can that possibly be her real name?), and the historical erotica of Sylvia Day (who also writes really good futuristic-dystopia-romance under the name Ellen Connors).

    • Katie says...

      Oh oops, that is actually Carrie Lofty writing as Ellen Connors. Correction!

    • Jenny by the sea says...

      Katie, Eloisa James is indeed a psuedonym! In real life she’s Professor Mary Bly, a Shakespeare professor at Fordham.

      I re-read the early Bridgerton novels, after a few years, and found myself shouting at some of the characters for their choices – Pen, particularly, but Daphne as well. They are almost stereotypical romance novels, in some ways, but agree that some of the tropes are deeply uncomfortable.

      Totally agree with the Joanna Bourne rec, too, those are great reads.

    • Amy says...

      @June – I read so many romance books this year, after many years of avoiding them because they weren’t “legit” enough. If you’re okay with modern romance, I can recommend:

      -The Trouble With Hating You (Sajni Patel) – pretty classic fare

      -The Ren Faire series by Jen deLuca (sounds corny, but it works)

      -Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory (ending was a little abrupt, but I liked that they weren’t instantly perfect for each other).

      -Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (teens and social media, but much better than expected)

      -In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (bit of a time warp thing here that adds an element of suspense, which was a nice shift)

      -Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes (my favourite of 2020; again, characters have to work on personal development to be in a healthy relationship which is so nice to see played out)

      One beef: why is every. single. male protagonist super tall as though it’s desirable? I’m 5’4″ and married to a 6’2″ guy and both of us agree we would prefer to be within 4″ of each other. When you’re standing beside each other in a group, there’s zero subtlety if you want to see each other’s facial reactions to the conversation or whisper something to the other.

    • Quinn says...

      @Amy – Evvie Drake was one of my favourite books of 2020 too! I’ve just finished my first Jasmine Guillory book — I’m going to check out your other recommendations. :) Also, my husband is more than a foot taller than me – I feel you! (Let’s be friends? ;) )

  62. K says...

    Why do i watch shows that i have great criticisms of? like i know Emily in Paris is probably as badly acted as people say it is, but I can imagine turning to it when I really want something brainless and corny. I don’t think it’s just because I like watching a trainwreck.
    Why do I enjoy the badness? Sometimes it’s not even ridiculously bad, it’s bland bad.

    • suki says...

      ask yourself why you like dorito’s even though you know how bad they are for you – same reason : ). Occasional enjoyment won’t kill you but if it becomes a mainstay then you’re robbing your best self.

    • angela says...

      Sounds like you are looking to give your head a rest, like zoning out for a while. For me that usually means I need massive exercise and meditation on the regular. Because that’s the healthy way to deal with either an overloaded OR a bored brain. But occasional “delightful trash” isn’t gonna kill you.

  63. Briana says...

    Daphne actually orgasms while losing her virginity. I get this is escapist romance novel stuff, but no.

    • Michelle says...

      This comment made me laugh.

    • EH says...

      Haha yes!

    • Vero says...

      It happened to me ;)

  64. Megan says...

    Agree with many commenters here, I just could not get into it! Ironically I feel like in quarantine I want to watch TV that actually demands more of my intellect, as so many of my normal timesucks (convos with friends and coworkers!!) are absent. Curious if others agree?
    I finally watched The Morning Show recently and DANG if that hasn’t set a new standard for me for smart, thought provoking TV. Finished the Crown and just started Lupin last night. . .would love other recs!

    • Tatiana says...

      Succession on HBO. Incredible acting and writing.

    • Caitlin says...

      I didn’t get into Bridgerton either. I LOVED the Morning Show and also just finished the Crown. Agree with the recommendation for Succession, SO GOOD. I’ll investigate Lupin based on my assumption we are TV soul mates.

    • Agree…I thought the script was predictable, and there was a big lack of chemistry between Daphne and the Duke for me. Her character just seemed so flat, but I know most people don’t agree with me. I love the Fran Lebowitz show, The Morning Show and found Ted Lasso was just so kind that it was exactly what I need right now.

    • Megan says...

      Same here! Although when I had cancer I ONLY watched British crime dramas so maybe I just embrace the dark or the thoughtful when I’m in that mood. The Queen’s Gambit was perfect for quarantine. I need more of that.

    • Pailey says...

      Thanks for the rec, I’ll have to check out The Morning Show!

      I’m three episodes into Lupin, and really enjoying it so far! I’ve similarly been into more cerebral and/or foreign TV shows lately, and recent favorites are:
      – Giri/Haji (1 season detective thriller set in London & Tokyo)
      – Bordertown (3 seasons, also detective thriller, Scandinavian noir set in Finland)
      – Borgen (3 seasons, political drama sort of like West Wing, fictional protagonist is Denmark’s first female PM)
      – Flowers (British dark comedy about a dysfunctional family – stars Olivia Colman!)

    • Lisa says...

      I agree about the morning show. I watched it twice within the space of a month. I “accidentally” watched the first season by myself, and then convinced my husband to watch it, pretending I hadn’t seen it all already. Maybe it’s because I had had a really tough time in a toxic work environment, and it helped me work through that, but I thought the show was brilliant. Cant wait for season 2

  65. Emily says...

    I think what’s appealing about it was the total fantasy of it all. It doesn’t accurately reflect/fit into a regency period show but it also is not in our time. It’s pure escapism. And we all need some of that right now!

  66. Jenna says...

    I watched but was glad to have my phone to scroll instagram at the same time. The acting and the set and costume design were the sellers for me but the story line felt forced and a bit rushed.

    If you want a really great escapist show – hear me out – Julie and the Phantoms. It is a teen show but is totally charming with amazing music and extremely charismatic actors. I have watched it a couple of times now! Kenny Ortega is the producer and his love for the show really shines through.

    • BeckyB says...

      My 7 yr old loves Julie and the Phantoms, and I’ve seen the whole series a few times now. I totally agree with your assessment.

    • Catherine says...

      I read someone described Bridgerton as the perfect scroll-worthy show. I really liked it and thought the two main characters had great chemistry. There’s a rumor that they are dating. Daphne does look really young, but she’s 25 or 26. They needed better communication skills for sure!

  67. marcella says...

    i watched it with my mom (i’m 27 lol) but cringeeee!!! “TOO MUCH SPICE!” as my friend said lol. during the honeymoon episode… oh jeez. however i loved all the costumes, after watching pride & prejudice recently it was fitting.

    • Emma says...

      I watched it while sitting between my mom and my husband on Christmas. My mom pretended to be asleep during the “wedding night” scene. It is understood that my husband and I will never speak of this.

    • Sam says...

      I’m 27 and I was also watching it with my mom! We were loving the costumes and the eye candy, but the spicy scenes were just too awkward!! We turned it off and haven’t gone back.

    • Megan says...

      @Emma I’m dying!!! So been there, thinking about when my parents would take me along to arthouse movies when I was in high school, none of us doing proper research

    • Jacquie says...

      Also 27 and started watching with MY DAD!! thankfully we watched only the pilot together (and I continued watching alone) because if I had seen the honeymoon episode with my father I think I’d have to get a new family lol

  68. JJ says...

    Caroline, would love for you to do a comparison and critique of Harlots, which was way overlooked and has many of the same themes as Bridgerton.

    • maria says...

      really, really enjoyed harlots! started the first episode of bridgerton and within 15 minutes turned it right off. i adore ALL the period costume dramas (ALL the jane austen flicks, etc.) but bridgerton just took me completely out of it and just could not watch. so it goes!

    • Arla says...

      Harlots is a million times better than Bridgerton, which I couldn’t even get through the first episode it was so fakey. Harlots is witty, feminist, the themes are topical even today, the acting is superb, the costumes are gorgeous, the all-female cast is stellar, the plotlines are fresh and intelligent….

  69. Ellen E says...

    loved it, but wasn’t as blown away as some people were. I think the popularity and “we needed this!!” response to this show is an indicator of how many people need to learn to read subtitles! Romances, including lots of great period pieces, are super popular in the Spanish speaking world and in Korea, Turkey, India… there are lots to discover!

    • b says...

      We watch everything with subtitles. I have Netflix and Hulu – do you have any suggestions for romances (of any era) on either/both of those platforms?

    • Maya says...

      Watch Made in Heaven (an Indian series with subtitles on Netflix)!

  70. Deb says...

    Watched all of Bridgerton over a week, and it definitely didn’t accurately portray societal norms of the time, especially concerning race. The music, bright costumes, sets and fast pace compared to most historically accurate period made it so appealing visually. Yes, they could have gone a LOT farther than the gentle dialog slipped in about the King falling in love with “one of us” to explore how views are shaped, hopefully that will be explored more in future seasons.
    Can’t believe no one has commented on Pretend It’s A City – thoroughly enjoying Fran’s perspective.

    • suki says...

      While I totally enjoyed Fran Lebovitz, it is with respect that I nevertheless perceived some of her attitudes as from another era and even off-tone occasionally. But that’s to be expected in someone of her age I suppose. I’ve never had grandparents so I imagine this is how it would be to love and appreciate someone even though their opinions are from another time.
      Still, no one can deny her badassness in unequivocally being her full authentic self, way, way ahead of the curve. Also even as I cringed on a couple of her comments I was still thanking Netflix and the powers that be for giving her this platform. She is really amazing.

  71. Lorraine says...

    But guys… what about Cobra Kai season 3?! We binge watched that in 3 days. So funny and so good!

    Coming off of my fascination with “The Crown” I have yet to delve into “Bridgerton” but it looks fun…

    • Emma says...

      Bahaha. My husand is OBSESSED with Cobra Kai. The acting is…just…so…

      It’s a great show.

  72. Jess says...

    I LOVE the Bridgerton books. Definitely, my favorite romance series so I had high hopes for the show however I was left a little disappointed. The family in the books is warm, funny, and charming. As in, you want to be a part of their family. The show really didn’t capture that. I watched the whole thing because I felt like I needed to and I loved the characters in the books but it just didn’t translate. Sorry Julia Quinn.

  73. Roxanne says...

    Haven’t watched it yet, but I love all the books! Julia Quinn is an awesome romance writer!

  74. Chiara says...

    Agree with a lot of comment: Did I like the show? Maybe…?

    Did I like the distraction and addressing the three people in my pod as “Lady/Lord [Name]-ington” for a week? Yes, definitely.

    Am I still enjoying the orchestral renditions of “thank u, next”? Absolutely.

  75. laetitia says...

    I am OBSESSED! I loved everything about it, and had to watch a second time! i’m usually a sucker for period drama and romance, so no surprise there, but this one was especially good: the costumes, the houses, the gardens, the actors (except Marina Thomson…), and the sex scenes! I really appreciated watching a show where race is a non-issue (or almost) – wouldn’t it be nice if the world was actually like this!

  76. Dinosaur says...

    never heard of it and I have never watched NetFlix.

  77. Caitlin says...

    Was anyone else put off by the almost instant orgasms and unguarded moaning from a woman who just lost her virginity? Overall I did enjoy the show, a feast for the eyes and a nice distraction from reality.

    • Olivia says...

      Okay yes. Thank you. I honestly loved the show more or less only bc the duke was so. sexy. But I was also like…uh these people have orgasms approx 30 seconds into every sex scene.

      Total honestly on the flip side I did still completely enjoy it.

      Perhaps this is ridiculous but I was rather pleased there was an oral sex scene for daphnes benefit but not the duke.

  78. Marisa says...

    My go-to description when friends have asked me to describe Bridgerton is “it feels like a show written to be in another show”. I couldn’t stop thinking about the made-up period drama from Insecure haha

    That said, still devoured it. File this under “Shows that would have never gotten a second season if we weren’t all in quarantine” alongside Emily in Paris.

    • Emily says...

      A show written to be in another show! Perfect description. Bridgerton would be right at home among the parodies in Dear White People

  79. Alex says...

    Haven’t watched it yet because I though it would be too corny. But maybe i’ll give it a try. We need corny right now.

    We’ve been binging through several seasons of Survivor. I hadn’t watched the show since season 2 or 3 when I was a teenager, and didn’t realize it has been on the air for 20 years and 40(!) seasons. Well, we have found it to be extremely compelling, exciting, and a great escape from the end-times we’re experiencing. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve yelled at the TV! And I’ve learned a few valuable survivor skills like how to start a fire for when the things in USA totally implode…

  80. Ève says...

    I really loved it! I’m a fan of light-hearted historical romance novels and the show felt EXACTLY like reading one (I haven’t read the series, but I’m talking about books by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, etc.). The only downside to Bridgerton’s popularity is that people who don’t normally read romance watch it and then judge it for being too fluffy… it is what it is! Nobody’s going to ruin my fun ;)

  81. Sonja says...

    I found the escape of Bridgeton extremely welcome. I was also intrigued by how they approached women’s power in suffocating circumstances. While it wasn’t thought provoking like Fleabag or the relationships as tortured as Normal People I loved it for the lack of complexity and torture.

  82. Tyler says...

    Haven’t tried it but I’m sure I’ll get bored enough at some point. I wanted and fully expected to love the Fran Leibovitz thing but… I’m finding it overly indulgent? Although it’s endearing how hilarious Scorsese finds her.

    • suki says...

      Agree, re FLeibovitz, but how often do women get a career retrospective, or any public acknowledgment at all? It’s a start, is how I’m looking at it. And considering how true to herself she was and her age I think indulgence is acceptable in this case. I mean, she needs to pay for that apartment! haha I loved how up front she was about it. She’s right, as much as she’s contributed to American contemporary culture, she totally deserves to live somewhere nice – and paid for.

  83. Jenn says...

    I didn’t love it. But just finished binging Lupin. It was so good I might watch it again.

    • Bee says...

      Love Lupin! Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, and Luther, love some moral questioning and suspense.

  84. Emily says...

    I haven’t watched Bridgerton yet, I don’t think I could persuade my Netflix partner (husband). But I have to share that we have been LOVING the Taskmaster, which is all on YouTube. Its so delightful and makes us laugh like crazy which is the most needed thing right now!

    • Joss says...

      Yes Taskmaster! I think the earlier seasons are better than the newer ones. So ridiculous and wonderful.

    • Mak says...

      Same here! Taskmaster is the BEST quarantine show.

  85. Rachel says...

    I’m on my second viewing hahahah

    • Tess says...

      So am I! It’s the perfect light, fluffy, sexy, escapist show for watching now when everything else is going to hell in a handbasket.

  86. Maria Anagnostopoulou says...

    I loved it! If Mr.Darcy was black his name would be Duke of Hastings.
    It says a lot about the situation of women, racism, relationships and many others.

    • Ann says...

      Mr. Darcy very well could’ve been Black, he’s a fictional character :)

  87. mb says...

    me too–I just found the Daphne character dull. Honestly, most of the characters were dull. Attractive and dull. I wasn’t invested in their happiness. If you want a cute and quirky romantic comedy, watch Lovesick.

    • Same! The lack of chemistry between any of them killed me, and I wasn’t rooting for any of them. Oh well! I tried!

  88. I am an actual romance novelist and I just couldn’t get into it. I really tried! I liked the modern music woven in and I thought the Duke was soooo sexy but ultimately I found myself scrolling on my phone or wandering into the kitchen for snacks. I know I’m in the minority, ESPECIALLY in the romance community but… I just couldn’t do it.

    • Jamie says...

      Same here! It was so predictable, I lost interest and didn’t make it through. Though the eye candy WAS nice. :)

  89. Lindsay says...

    My parents told me they started Bridgerton and it was awful, so I knew exactly what to watch next! Totally enjoyed it and then decided it was time to try Outlander, ha. I’m also eating tons of chocolate while I watch and going very easy on myself since we had to very suddenly put our cat down two weeks ago and I need lots of distraction so I don’t turn around and look at the empty couch cushion where she would sit with me in the evenings.

    • Ève says...

      I’m sorry about your cat! I have to say that Outlander is good, but not very light! I loved the first season (despite pretty intense parts), but I had to stop at the second one because it was getting too dark for my liking. Bridgerton was more my vibe overall haha

    • Maggie says...

      Lindsay, so sorry about your kitty – I still think I catch a glimpse of a long-ago cat sitting on the kitchen doorstep sometimes (even though her place has been taken by several other furry friends in the years since she died). There’s nothing like a cat (sorry dog people). Take care x

    • Mallory says...

      First sentence made me LOL — I’d do the same thing with that review from my parents! Also relate to the chocolate. I’m sorry you lost your cat :( Losing a fur baby is so hard.

    • Jenny by the sea says...

      Oh Lindsay, sending you so much love, and purrs from our Tiny Tyrant. Hope the chocolate and gentleness is proving distracting.

    • b says...

      Haha! I do the same thing – my parents will tell me they don’t like something or didn’t enjoy a show/movie/whatever, and I’m all over it, can’t get enough. I watched Bridgerton with my mom and now we’re watching The Queen’s Gambit.

    • Lindsay says...

      Thanks so much for the kind words, everyone! This Cup of Jo community is so special. Ève, feeling the same about Outlander and not sure I’ll make it through the second season. I switched over to Pretend It’s A City instead. And Maggie, I keep doing the same thing too and it’s such a BUMMER.

  90. Sarah Gordon says...

    I had the same experience (resisted for the longest time) and felt the same way about Schitt’s Creek but, once I watched it (and rewatched much of it), I felt just as you said, it was “…a perfect fit,” a balm for these times.

    Thanks for the nudge.

    • Vero says...

      I just started Schitt’s Creek after resisting forever. So good!

  91. Miriam Kendall says...

    I had been hearing about Bridgerton nonstop from my coworkers, so the other night my husband and I sat down to give it a go. OMG, we could not even make it through the first episode it was SO bad. Can someone explain to me why this is a phenomenon? The acting, the script, the plot. I couldn’t find a single reason to keep going.

  92. Peg Serena says...

    I watched the trailer for Bridgerton and hated every single thing about it. However I have been watching “Pretend It’s A City” and even just watching Scorsese laugh uncontrollably at just about everything Fran Lebowitz says is worth it. So funny. And of course, she is brilliant.

  93. El says...

    Loved it, and if you appreciated the postmodern approach to a period piece, let me suggest two shows that are slightly wackier but just as enjoyable– The Great (on Hulu, about Catherine the Great), and Dickinson (Apple+, about Emily Dickinson, my fave show of the last several years).

    Movies with a similar vibe: the 2020 adaptation of Emma (so fun), The Favorite (2018).

    • maria says...

      the great truly was so great! adored it! considering watching dickenson next – good to hear someone loved it!

    • SR says...

      EMMA!! (and yess, also The Favorite) Emma 2020 was brilliant and the regency costumes were impeccable, can’t believe Bridgerton even tried to do regency fashion with those polyester monstrosities for gowns.

  94. izzz says...

    Stuck on episode 2…just can’t get through it!

  95. Dee says...

    As the great Kate Winslet said in The Holiday : “I’m looking for corny in my life.”

    I don’t need my brain taxed any further than the real world has already taxed it. I need a break, I need something light that doesn’t require analysing. Bridgerton was/is perfect for that

    • Frankie Rose says...

      YES!

  96. Veronica says...

    I watched it, and I enjoyed it solely because of Regé-Jean Page (The Duke of Hastings). I read the series eight or so years ago, and overall I felt that the adaptation left a lot on the table in terms of the humor in the books. However, Regé-Jean Page is so gorgeous and so talented at playing the rakish Simon that I still managed to finish the season in the course of a few days. The adaptation was not without its problems, but the overall playfulness made it a good end of 2020 Netflix release.

  97. Christina says...

    Before I had children I liked watching both films and series, but now it is like I can’t focus and/or I find it all totally uninteresting, like I don’t care at all about what might hapoen to these characters…. However, my eldest child had me watch Long Way Round, and it had me captured for a few evenings in a row during Christmas!

    • Court says...

      Christina- I LOVED Long Way Round! It surprised me so much. My mom and dad even got hooked on it and my mom doesn’t like to watch ANYTHING. It seemed to relax me so much. The other show that I feel like I loved very much is Ted Lasso.

    • Christina says...

      @Court – Ha! If it wasn’t for the fact that my daughter hasn’t mentioned Ted Lasso and she always talks (too much) about what she watches, I would think that I am your mum :-). I never watch anything, and this I watched with my husband. I was so surprised too, I mean I don’t even like motorcycles.

  98. Jenna says...

    I liked Bridgerton but LOVED Pretend It’s a City. Fran cracks me up.

  99. Steph says...

    Loved it! I watched in 3 sittings. Period pieces and romance are in my wheelhouse and I read the entire book series a few years ago, when I found out it was going to be a TV series, and have been patiently waiting three years for it to launch so everyone else can be as obsessed with these characters as I was. I also read Outlander years before the series was made and loved it as well. I’m usually not a fan of book to film adaptations, but for whatever reason I have no such qualms about book to series (if done well of course). Such a fun escape!

  100. Cheryl says...

    “Did I like it? Hard to say. Yet I could not look away.” – This pretty much sums it up for me.

    Weeks after I finished it I’m still not sure…guess I’ll have to watch season 2 to decide.

  101. CL says...

    I am COMMITTED for one major reason: I convinced my bemused husband to send a video review of each episode to our friend who loves the show. It’s great, silly fun.

    • Quinn says...

      Haha, that does sounds like great fun! :)

  102. Deborah Hollister says...

    My husband and I tried watching Bridgerton after bingeing all six seasons of A Place to Call Home on Acorn TV (through Amazon Prime). (In two weeks!!) We agreed that APTCH is head and shoulders above Bridgerton. We turned that one off after half an hour. APTCH is an Australian soapy series that ran from 2013 to 2019 and is probably the best series we’ve ever seen. Incredible writing and character development. The actors are amazing and we fell in love with every one…well, there is one we couldn’t stand. You’ll have to watch to figure out too. We cried through the last show and now really miss our evenings ‘spent’ in 1950s Australia. I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s worth subscribing to Acorn for a month to watch.

    • Maire says...

      I love to see another APTCH fan! It is one of my all time favorite shows, and I always recommend it to friends! I watched it via DVDs from the public library.

  103. Becca says...

    I haven’t watched it…yet. But given the lockdown in the UK I think it’s only a matter of time! I’m grew up in Bath, England which is where some of the filming was done, and given the restrictions on travel I’m looking forward to being able to visit home via Netflix :)

  104. Sophie says...

    I’m curious why you labeled the sex as “gratuitous ” (which is defined as “uncalled for” or “lacking good reason”). Sex and its nitty-gritty mechanics are a pivotal part of the plot. As is Daphne’s total lack of knowledge about sex and reproduction, and her anger and embarrassment over that fact. As is her discovery of the great pleasures of sex, an experience previously denied to her and other women of her class. And on that note, what about the great pleasure for us viewers? I honestly think it’s the main reason the show is so popular, at least if my group of mid-30s married-with-kids friends are any indicator. I watch the serious stuff too, but this was a nice break. P.S. Note that author Julia Quinn went to Harvard undergrad and left Yale Med School to pursue her side gig of writing romance novels full-time. Intellectualism and fluff are allowed to co-exist…

    • Clare says...

      So interesting that Julia Quinn was a med student! I had no idea.

      xo, a medical student who picked up romance novels in med school

    • nia says...

      “Intellectualism and fluff are allowed to co-exist… YES AND THANK YOU, Sophie.

    • Katie says...

      Well said, Sophie!

    • Mallory says...

      100% agree Sophie! Love seeing sex and desire addressed from the female, not male, gaze. Not gratuitous at all.

    • Quinn says...

      “Intellectualism and fluff are allowed to co-exist…”
      Yes, this!
      It took me a long time to give myself permission to enjoy things that weren’t considered ‘high brow’ or ‘critically acclaimed’. I have graduate-level education in engineering, an established professional career, two young kids, and a husband who grew up with parents who eschewed sitcoms. (Why?! I still ask, as he completely missed out on Friends and other gems.) Now in my 40’s, I finally get that it’s totally okay for me to enjoy Outlander, Bridgerton, a Jasmine Guillory book, or whatever else I feel like at the end of the day, without feeling like I need to hide it or explain it to anyone. (I don’t know any men who feel like they need to make excuses for their enjoyment of the Marvel franchise or similar – just saying…)

  105. Margaret says...

    I read the books over the last few years and they are MUCH better than the show. The show was disappointing. The books are well written, very funny, and sexy. So for anyone who liked (or didn’t like) the show, I highly suggest checking out the books which are by Julia Quinn.

    • Rachel says...

      I’ve been scrolling the comments for this exact opinion! The books are far and away more rich, compelling, and sexy. I am an avid historical romance fan; Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series changed the game of the genre.

  106. I have a friend who did nothing but complain about the costumes pointing out all of the inaccuracies but once they got in bed, who cared about they had been wearing? I liked all of the color, the interiors and although it was mostly a soap opera, it lightened my mood.

  107. Agnes says...

    I somehow could not stop watching it, but did NOT like it. The characters fell so flat most of the time, I did not believe the chemistry between the main couple, and the sex scenes were a bit TOO gratuitous to me … But still, watched it in very few sittings.

    • Lisbet says...

      I totally agree about the lack of chemistry between Simon and Daphne! While they’re both so attractive, I just didn’t “feel” that pull between them at all!

    • Kate says...

      Same! Like, I didn’t really like it but still somehow also enjoyed it? Perhaps that is the definition of a guilty pleasure.

  108. b says...

    I LOVED IT. SO MUCH. Rege-Jean Page makes my heart go pitter patter. I ordered the first book in the series, but all the other books are backordered at every bookstore I can possibly think of. 63 million households can’t be wrong.

  109. Mags says...

    I loved Bridgerton! I binged it in 2 nights (staying up until about 3am which I NEVER do). I consider it absolute fluff but with the week/month/year I (and all of us?) have been having I needed an escape where I could just not care about anything of substance. Looking for more shows with little substance (watched Sister Act last night!) — any ideas?

  110. Kate says...

    I saw a meme recently (in the Maybe Baby email, if I recall) that said, “I don’t know if Bridgerton is ‘good’ but it’s the best show I’ve ever seen” This made me laugh because I feel the same. Was it good? Not really. But I certainly enjoyed it.

    The Duke of Hastings, and also Anthony Bridgerton, were candy for the eyes, and the sex scenes were certainly gratuitous and quite frequent.

    I appreciated the inclusion of black characters (and probably would not have watched it without), however, there is a difference between “depicting black skin on screen and depicting black lives” as Regé-Jean Page said in an interview. And I honestly think the show fell short. There is one brief mention of the tenuous position they felt they held in high society but the nuances are never explored…they seem to be living in a post-racist world. Which on the one hand is certainly a wonderful thing to depict (like the essential absence of homophobia in Schitt’s Creek and arguably in Call Me By Your Name – none of the characters directly suffer for being gay and in Bridgerton no one suffers for being black. As it should be) But I also feel like this is in a way an erasure of the real lived experiences of black people during that era..but then we could argue the same with Hamilton. I guess what I’m getting at is, it is still a function of white supremacy to continue to depict the history of white people, even if the characters are played by black people. I am certain black folks had romance and drama, etc in their lives throughout history as well but we never got to see cultural productions from these eras because they were ENSLAVED at that time and therefore white history continues to dominate the cultural landscape. I’m so over it.

    • Marisa says...

      “It is still a function of white supremacy to continue to depict the history of white people, even if the characters are played by black people.” This is a way that I’ve never thought about the issue of race-blind casting—especially when this was being talked about a lot with Hamilton. It’s given me a lot to think about, thank you!

    • Ann says...

      So we can’t have a reimagined world where Black people and other POC can live regally and decently like how whites afforded and entitled themselves to live like? I quite liked seeing a Black queen of England just…be, without having to deep dive into racism or enslavement. I think BIPOC should be allowed to reimagine themselves and their histories outside of the scope of white supremacy, racism, and western imperialism. This netflix series, after all, was executed by a Black woman.

    • Marisa says...

      This was largely my perspective before reading Kate’s thoughts, too, Ann! I think both things can be true at once.

    • Kate says...

      Thank you, Ann, for your insight. Note that I did say: the world in the show was depicted “as it should be”. I totally see what you’re saying and hadn’t thought of it from that perspective. I actually think this sort of ‘colour-blind casting’ was something that made Hamilton and Bridgerton even more enjoyable.

      I would also like to add that, according to historians, Queen Charlotte actually was black. So it’s not a fantasy – it’s reality!

  111. Maryn says...

    Guessing it makes me a prude if I got a grand total of five minutes into Bridgerton before deciding it was too raunchy for me? Maybe don’t answer that 😆

    • Sonja says...

      Maryn, you don’t have to apologize for raunch not being your thing. I am not bothered by raunch and find that my favorite shows have lots of it (Fleabag, Catastrophe, The Boys) I will say this: if the first five minutes of Bridgerton are too much the later episodes won’t be to your liking at all – no judgement just warning!

    • Maryn says...

      Thank you, Sonja—I needed that validation. I hate feeling like I’m missing out, but it really just isn’t for me. And that’s okay. But do I still read the Wikipedia episode summaries so I feel like I’m in the know? Yes, yes, I do. 😂

  112. Mouse says...

    Haven’t watched it yet, but also don’t go for romantic much. Every time there’s some big make-out scene in an otherwise non-romantic show, both my husband and I wail, “Nooooooooo”. That’s our lockdown activity. :)

  113. AM says...

    This is *very timely*, since I, too, resisted the idea of watching the show, and then consumed the entire season over the course of two days, finishing late last night. This morning, I searched this site (of course) to see whether Cup of Jo has weighed in on it. I don’t read romance and rarely watch period pieces, so I was frankly surprised by how absorbed I became in this pastel-colored, deeply heteronormative universe, which seemed to be created almost exclusively for the female gaze. I didn’t analyze it too much, didn’t expect any kind of perfection, didn’t judge it–and, most importantly, didn’t judge myself for enjoying it as much as I did. That last bit was strangely empowering.

  114. Laura says...

    I was also hesitant to watch Bridgerton but frankly it’s nice to have a new light-hearted show to devour as an escape from everything going on! We binged it all while my husband and I were isolating after testing positive for Covid in December- we couldn’t see family for Xmas and felt horrible so it was a really nice distraction. My husband was absolutely fascinated by some of the historical implications this show presented lol.

    • Isabella says...

      Hi Laura, just sending hugs and hopes that you and your husband are recovered and feeling well. That must have been such a difficult holiday season for you! May better days and family connections be just around the corner!

  115. Denise says...

    I watched it. I snarfed it & enjoyed it. No shame. I also snarfed & enjoyed Pretend It’s A City. Fran is a treasure and as she pointed out in the show, enjoyment is a good enough reason, there need be no guilt.

    • liz says...

      I love Pretend It’s a City and Fran!!

    • liz says...

      Actually, meant to also say that the entire time I was watching Pretend It’s a City, I was thinking CUP OF JO NEEDS TO INTERVIEW THIS WOMAN. I want her beauty guide and she is, of course, definitely not hesitant to share her life philosophies. lol

  116. LindyO says...

    Totally enjoyed this wonderful escape of a contemporary period saga; the costumes, the music, the fairytale. Well done!

  117. Carolynn says...

    I think there are a lot of positives (as mentioned above), but I’m shocked that people like it so much. It’s painfully predictable and I think the writing is weak. It feels young and silly, but I guess that isn’t the worst thing considering the past 10 months we’ve all had. I’ll choose a repeat episode or movie over any more episodes.

  118. mb says...

    I just finished Halt and Catch Fire and while the character development in the first season put me off –it was absolutely worth watching. Each of the characters grows and reacts to situations in a very grounded way, each of them is multifaceted… Really great acting and I just have a lot of thoughts about it! It’s about the rise of computing tech in the 80s and 90s but more than that it is about the difficulties of ambition and passion which can turn into selfishness and obsession. It’s about creativity and failure….it’s just great!

    • Emma says...

      Ok this looks excellent! I’ve been needing a new drama to watch and I’ve never heard of this one. Lately for some reason, I need more of an intense show to keep my interest (e.g. Escape at Dannemora; The Undoing) rather than lighter/funny shows. I find them more engaging I think. Thanks for the rec, MB!

  119. Pamela says...

    I haven’t nor will I watch it! I read the whole series and enjoyed it years ago! It bothers me TO NO END when something that I FOUND before it hit cultural zeitgeist becomes super popular and everyone acts like it’s the newest it thing! (Which it is, so fair fair but still!) Super irrational but there we go! I have strong feelings about this! Anyone else feel this way??

    • Rachel says...

      I’m the same way! My sense of ownership is…problematic. Maybe we just want to be credited for having great taste?

  120. Ruth says...

    Yes and LOVED IT. Also, not my usual cup of tea but could not stop watching. Probably going to rewatch. I mean, how could you not want to stare at Simon over and over again? ;-)

  121. Madame says...

    I hated it! Fifteen minutes, and I Was OUT! Hahaha!
    I do love a super historically correct adaptation of a novel, ( I spot anachronistic errors in decor…HA! ) I just figured the anxiety and irritation totally outweighed any pleasure I might procure.
    I know it is supposed to be a frivolous romp, but I couldn’t stop seeing all the inaccuracies. Oh well😂

  122. Maggie says...

    Its the escapist froth we all deserve right now.

    • Karin Connor says...

      Watched Bridgerton and it was fun. Cute. I would consider it ineffective at addressing any issue really since it is mostly fluff. Outlander IS better! I encourage you to take the bait.

  123. Pamela says...

    YES! This is the candy I need right now. I already do love a period piece and romance though, so I was an easy sell. I’m only a few episodes in, but I appreciate how women’s issues of the time are addressed. And it’s just shot so beautifully.

  124. Ariel says...

    Ah! Wish I could have gotten into it – I found it pretty boring. BUT, if you’re looking for a very funny, heartwarming show a la the Good Place or Schitt’s Creek, go watch Ted Lasso (AppleTV). It is the best show I’ve seen in the last few years and is a balm for the soul during these weird, weird times.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! loved it.

    • Andrea says...

      Ditto to Ted Lasso. THIS is the vibe we all need right now.

    • stacy says...

      Ted Lasso was the best! Full of heart and fun. Highly recommend!

    • Chelsea says...

      I was going to comment about Ted Lasso as well. It was SO good!

    • Deb says...

      I agree on Ted Lasso. great show!

      I did enjoy Bridgerton too. It was entertaining and a good escape from real life.

    • Sage says...

      Yes! The ‘ton is gonna be a pass for me but I found Ted Lasso so fun and, blessedly, NOT EXHAUSTING TO WATCH. Sometimes shows turn into chores, honestly. This one is light and hilarious.

    • Traci says...

      I can say with absolute certainty that Ted Lasso was what I needed in 2020. I watched it and loved it so much that I told all of my friends about it. Then, when things were stressful, I started watching again because it’s so soothing. And then I watched it for a third time. That’s how amazingly great this show is!!!

  125. Bella says...

    I enjoyed the fluff. Is it awful to crave fluff these days? I can’t bear to watch anything too dark, or frankly, profound.

    • Abby says...

      I feel this way! I even started reading romance novels which I’m embarrassed to admit. After a day of full of the news, 8pm rolls around and I turn off the news and turn on the fluff.

    • Kate says...

      Same, Bella. Same. I’m so much more aware of the raw and tender parts of my psyche these days. When I’m feeling especially troubled by personal and global catastrophes, Queer Eye helps.

    • Isabella says...

      “There Will Be Blood” just keeps getting pushed further down in my Netflix queue…

    • laura says...

      abby – don’t be embarrassed to admit! anything that falls under the umbrella of “female guilty pleasure” has been looked down on for who knows how long, but I’m glad we have people like Shonda Rhimes to bring it into the relevance & value of cultural conversation :)

    • Stacy S says...

      Absolutely not! Pre-pandemic I would listen to all sorts of podcasts. Comedy to parenting to climate issues. Now the only one that I reach to time and time again, is “Can I Pet Your Dog?” All they do is talk about dogs and how cute they are. It’s the light heartedness I need right now. And there is no shame in that!

    • Lauren says...

      Abby, I also feel embarrassment over my love of romance novels. It’s the only genre that guarantees a happy ending (or HEA, as they say) which is so soothing now given so much uncertainty and stress. I only share my love of them with people I’m really close to, because I’m afraid of judgment. I do think it’s interesting to think about why we feel shame for liking these though, when other “fluff” activities aren’t similarly looked down on. For example, I don’t think folks get a lot of grief for liking to watch sports, even though sports can also fill a similar need for some people. Food for thought.

    • Paige says...

      Same!! Relatedly, does can anyone recommend a new romance series they loved? Can be historical fiction or modern or whatever!