“Of all bitches dead or alive a scribbling woman is the most canine.”
What more could we want from a period drama than what is offered by Bridgerton? Set in an aristocratic English society, it features a house filled with siblings who count on the eldest daughter, Daphne Bridgerton, to find herself a suitable match that would help step up her sisters’ respective games in the marriage market. The oldest brother is a preserver of traditions but secretly beds his mistress. There is a dashing young Duke who, despite brimming with sass and trauma, eyes only the beautiful, virginal Daphne. The neighbours try to outdo the Bridgerton clan in the marriage market. However, all plans are thwarted, and all scandals are brought to light by an anonymous woman named Lady Whistledon, who exposes the conspiracies and scandals of this ostentatious society.
With raunchy sex scenes and bodacious hunks, Bridgerton, which is the newest addition to Netflix, has helped us bid a happy end to 2020. From Rege-Jean Page’s smouldering gaze as the mysterious Simon Basset who would take his wife Daphne Bridgerton anywhere from courtrooms to staircases, to the handsome and cocky Anthony Bridgerton, the show is indeed a visual delight. A wonderful period piece, it features the instrumental and orchestral versions of modern-day pop songs including Adam Levine’s ‘Girls Like You’, Ariana Grande’s ‘7 Rings’ and more.
Recently, the show launched its second season that focused on the romantic exploits between the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony and the fiery and spirited Indian woman, Kate Sharma. While the show toned down on the sex scenes, the episodes were rife with unbridled sexual tension mixed with lust and hate between the leads who were entangled in a web of forbidden desire and duty.
With an 1800s setting, this TV show is adapted from Julia Quinn’s novel of the same name. With opulent parties and flowy dresses, from dramatic and tearful monologues to shocking slander and defamation, this show features all the gossip-fuelling elements of the English high society. Ending with a cliffhanger, the show has garnered a massive fan following in a short period and continues to trend on Netflix.
While Bridgerton fans now wait eagerly for the upcoming season with bated breath, (yes, the show has been renewed for four seasons!), we have scourged through Netflix to pick out some good period pieces for them to binge on. These are worth investing time and energy in and deserve their unbridled love and attention.
Here are five shows on Netflix Bridgerton fans must watch.
7 shows on Netflix Bridgerton fans must watch:
7. Cursed (Frank Miller Tom Wheeler, 2020)
Often described as the “re-imagining of the Arthurian legend”, the series is seen through the perspective of Nimue who is fated to become the tragic Lady of the Lake. when she embarks on a quest to find an ancient and powerful sword after her mother’s demise, she finds an unlikely ally in the mercenary Arthur.
Amidst the hostile and violent situation, it is an epic story where Nimue becomes the symbol of courage and rebellion as well as the voice of protest against the unjust obstacles. She provides the sight to venture into the impossible in a world plagued by religious intolerance, mindless violence and warring communities that threaten the very existence of life. The rebel teen is the strong feminist voice that dares to rise against oppression with the hopes of emerging victorious.
“You are not some fragile maid, you are a warrior and you are strong.”
6. The Outlander (Ronald D. Moore, 2014-)
Based on Diana Gabaldon’s eponymous novel series, this show features a World War II nurse, Claire Randall, time-travelling into 1743 Scotland. She meets and marries the handsome highlander Jamie Fraser while finding herself faced with the Jacobite rebellions surrounding the accession to the British throne.
With stunning visuals and an even more stunning and dashing male lead, this show is a wonderful adaptation of the popular novel series. Claire and Jamie’s on-screen passion is palpable and well portrayed by the actors. This period drama is fascinating in every sense and will keep Bridgerton fans hooked.
‘We’ve ghosts enough between us, Sassenach. If the evils of the past cannot hinder us- neither then shall the fears of the future.”
5. Reign (Laurie McCarthy, Stephanie SenGupta, 2013-2017)
In a fictionalised account, the series follows the journey of Mary, Queen of Scots as she journeys from a French convent to the court of Catherine de Medici to marry her son Francis to whom she was engaged at the tender age of six to maintain political relations. Complications arise when Nostradamus predicts the ill-fated marriage and Catherine tries to call it off. Mary and Francis’ love is further put to test over the years and the series delves deep into the functioning of the French court amidst the rising conflict between Catholics and Protestants.
The four seasons have different premises and the first two seasons were quite well-received by the audience. That said, the plot began to loosen over the course of time; however, it is an enjoyable watch for Bridgerton fans given the exquisite setting, splendid courtly love and marriages as well as political affiliations affecting budding relationships.
“Regardless of my faith, I am not a Catholic Queen, I am not a Protestant Queen, I am not a French Queen, I am your Queen.”
4. Anne with E (Moira Walley-Beckett, 2017-2019)
Based on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved book Anne of Green Gables, this period drama revolves around an orphaned Anne Shirley who struggles with the identity of being an orphan while seeking her own place in the world. Bullied and shunned, Anne desperately tries to gain acceptance and eventually by dint of wit and creativity, makes a mark in the somewhat rigid 1890s society.
Beautiful and moving, this Canadian show was very well-received and gained a massive fan following. Avid Montgomery readers were proud of the final product which was considered by Palak Jayswal to be extraordinary in a case where “the remake of the classic is done better than the original”. Fans waged an online war when Netflix cancelled season four but the other thre seasons are available on Netflix and are worth investing time in.
“I think broken things have such sad beauty.”
3. Derry Girls (Lisa McGee, Michael Lennox, 2018)
“I can hardly parade around in just my bra, can I? I’m not Madonna.”
Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 90s, this hilarious and wacky coming-of-age comedy series focuses on Erin and her gang of girlfriends who attend a Catholic girl’s school. They are constantly getting into trouble with various romps within and outside the school.
Nicola Coughlan is a popular figure in Bridgerton as Penelope Featherington and the elusive Lady Whistledown. Her camaraderie with Claudia Jessie’s Eloise Bridgerton is much celebrated as well. Coughlan stars as Erin’s best friend, the bookish and nerdy Clare Devlin and upholds the same kind of friendship. A triumphant portrait of female friendships, one does not need to be Irish to enjoy this heartwarming period piece.
2. Downton Abbey (Julian Fellowes, 2010)
“I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.”
For British historical drama enthusiasts, Downton Abbey is the perfect fit as it gives an intimate insight into the lives of the upper-class social circles of the British aristocracy. Bridgerton fans are all certified fans of elements that abound in this show, namely the manners, grandeur and etiquettes of English aristocracy against a backdrop of love, feelings, complicated interpersonal relationships and socio-political elements.
With an incredible ensemble cast, this much-loved show is set in a picturesque and titular Yorkshire estate between 1912 and 1926. It focuses on the lives of the affluent Crawley family and their servants and how the significant cultural events over this crucial timeline change their lives forever. After becoming quite the phenomenon upon its release, the show had charmed Netflix users yet again last year for quite some time.
1. The Crown (Stephen Daldry, 2016-)
Based on Peter Morgan’s award-winning play The Audience, Netflix’s lavish original series provides an insight into the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s when she first ascended the throne at the age of 25 after the demise of her father King George VI to the modern times. The series delves deep into the Queen’s political and romantic pursuits as well as the events that led to major developments in the late 20th century.
One of the best period dramas on Netflix, The Crown deserves all the high praise and accolades it has received ever since its inception. Although the series can keep fans waiting for an awfully long time, the episodes that are enriched by great narratives, exquisite aesthetics and stellar acting from the talented ensemble, are worth binging. Claire Foy, as Queen Elizabeth II, deserves a special mention due to her expressive eyes which can emote truckloads of feelings without uttering a word. Hans Zimmer’s theme adds an extra garnish to this already delectable visual delicacy which weaves in family and politics deftly and neatly into a wonderfully addictive narrative.
“I would ask you to consider your response in light of the respect that my rank and office deserve, not that which my age and gender might suggest.”