Arriving just in time for Christmas day, the Netflix original series Bridgerton is now available to stream. Adapted from the book series written by Julia Quinn, the series is a classic romance period piece, via Entertainment Weekly.
Bridgerton marks Shonda Rhimes’s (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) first show at Netflix after making a nine-figure deal with the streaming giant. It signals a new era, as Rhimes is an acclaimed screenwriter and producer who’s previous home had been the ABC network, also known as Shondaland. Now with Bridgerton, Rhimes no longer has the restrictions of network television and she’s cooked up a steamy romance. She serves as executive producer and Chris Van Dusen (Scandal) is the series showrunner.
Taking place in London during the 1800s, the eight children of the Bridgerton family live chaotic and busy lives. The eldest daughter in the family, Daphne, is making her high society debut in hopes of finding love and a husband. Portrayed by Phoebe Dynevor (Snatch), she then meets the Duke of Hasting, portrayed by Regé-Jean Page (For the People), and as the two fall in love a scandal looms.
With Rhimes turning Bridgerton into an updated version of the typical period piece with a diverse cast, Quinn said to Entertainment Weekly: “The casting is amazing. It’s important to remember that Bridgerton isn’t a history lesson. The show is for a modern audience. And so, the creator of the show did take some liberties in re-imagining the world, but they’re not [coming] out of nowhere. For example, Queen Charlotte, who was a new character in the series, this is a woman who many historians believe was of mixed race. When they were bringing this series to life they really played with the idea of what if she had been universally acknowledged as mixed race? What if she had helped raise other people of color to higher ranks in society? And what would the world look like then? That’s what they went with and it’s beautiful to see.”
Quinn wrote the first book in the series The Duke & I in 2000 and has written a total of nine since. Serving as a consultant on the series, she witnessed the creation of Bridgerton firsthand and would send notes back and forth on the scripts. Notably, Dame Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music, Marry Poppins) serves as the narrator of the story, Lady Whistledown. A high society woman who writes the most popular gossip column in town, Quinn told Entertainment Weekly that when she found out the news, “I started hyperventilating. I stopped breathing basically. I wasn’t breathing for so long I legitimately should have died.”
The cast also features Jonathan Bailey (Jack Ryan), Nicola Couglin (Derry Girls), Claudia Jesse (Vanity Fair), Lorraine Ashbourne (The Crown), Sabrina Bartlett (Victoria), and Adjoa Andoh (Invictus). Consisting of eight hour-long episodes, the first season in its entirety can be streamed now.