Shonda Rhimes, Emmy-award winning showrunner and patron saint of all things television, decided to lift our spirits in the midst of a pandemic, a very very stressful election cycle (for everyone around the world, tbh) and drop the teaser trailer of her exciting new Netflix drama, the Regency era-set Bridgerton.

Now before you attempt your best posh British accent – we need to jump into why this show is probably going to come for Riverdale’s red mane and dare I say, all the other historical era shows. Bridgerton, like most things that tend to find a home on our screens these days, is an adaptation of author Julia Quinn’s best-selling historical romance series The Brigertons.

Set to premiere on Netflix on 25 December 2020, the project is the first project of Shonda Rhimes’ with the streaming giant after she signed a whopping eight-show deal with them back in 2017.

GIF of American showrunner Shonda Rhimes saying 'I make television filled with the kind of characters I imagine we all can be.' via GIPHY
GIF of Shonda Rhimes saying ‘I make television filled with the kind of characters I imagine we all can be.’ via GIPHY

As exciting as that is for me personally as a huge Shonda Rhimes fan (shoutout to How to Get Away with Murder, Scandal and Crossroads), what is boggling my brain is the series having my childhood icon and one of my many surrogate mothers – Julie Andrews – narrating it? Can you believe how awesome is that?

But let’s roll it back and introduce who exactly the Bridgertons are and why we’re so excited for this fresh new Regency-era show!

Bridgerton will be an eight-episode hour-long series set in Regency London’s high society. Focusing on the Bridgerton family (a family of eight tight-knit siblings and their widowed mother), the romance centers on the siblings’ attempts to navigate the cutthroat marriage market of high society, from the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the aristocratic palaces of Park Lane.

Juicy!

The book series is an eight-book long saga with one book dedicated for each sibling, so it’s safe to say that Netflix could maybe have a long term game plan (or not, if the recent cancellation of Glow is anything to go by). But clues in the trailer points that book one, The Duke & I, as inspiration for the coming first season. The show also is going into classic Shondaland territory, by adopting race-blind casting and injecting some much-needed melanin into a very white genre.

While I am personally here for more diversity and welcome seeing actual people of color in historical roles, a trend that we’ve seen with Hulu’s The Great, this should hopefully green light the doors for more showrunners to shake the table and cast more people of color.

The trailer is a teaser of all the things we can expect – you see ridiculously attractive people, rich period costumes, lush English countrysides, LGBTQ+ characters, and a wild Julie Andrews voicing the snarky narrator of the show, Lady Whistledown, who’s going to be moving the plot forward.

According to book lore, Lady Whisteldown is a mysterious, anonymous and witty gossip writer who frequently uses her writings to cause scandal in the wealthy circles across London. Which honestly sounds hilarious and after spending my childhood watching her nurture me as Mary Poppins, Maria Von Trapp and (actual) Queen Clarisse Renaldi, this casting is *chef’s kiss*. 

I would love for Julie Andrews to inject some snark in her iconic voice the same way that I live for Meryl Streep telling me off in the ‘This stuff’ monologue from The Devil Wears Prada. So it’s a win for everyone at this point that she’s playing a Regency-era Gossip Girl.

Book fans in particular are buzzing about certain fan-favorite characters like Colin, Lady Danbury (played by the brilliant British theatre legend Adjoa Andoh) and how the show will be rewriting certain scenes that offer grey areas in terms of consent.

If all of this isn’t convincing you, maybe the fact that show’s promised to offer a feminist take on Regency England romance that unveils the wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of London’s high society denizens.

If you need even more convincing, let the trailer to do the work for you!

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Sharanya Paulraj

By Sharanya Paulraj

Editorial Fellow