Summary: Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton, the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parents’ footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, Daphne’s prospects initially seem to be unrivaled. But as her older brother begins to rule out her potential suitors, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown casts aspersions on Daphne. Enter the highly desirable and rebellious Duke of Hastings, committed bachelor and the catch of the season for the debutantes’ mamas. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable and sparks fly as they find themselves engaged in an increasing battle of wits while navigating society’s expectations for their future.
There will be spoilers but not a ton. Hehehehehe.
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of characters in this show and I’m not going to go over all of them. Just the ones whose stories were important to the show and that I enjoyed.
- Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton. She is the eldest daughter and fourth child of the family. She is pretty much perfect in how she comes off. Daphne is named the “incomparable” of the season and is dubbed the “diamond” by Lady Whistledown. She is supposed to be the one to get all the prospects but she’s having a hard time because her stupid older brother Anthony is interfering. She ends up having terrible luck and makes a deal with Simon to help her chances. Daphne goes through a lot of emotions in this season. She’s pretty young and for some reason no one tells young women anything about being with a man besides being a “perfect wife” and so she ends up learning a lot from Simon. I like Daphne fine, she wasn’t my favorite or anything but she’s likable. I think Phoebe does a good job with her, she’s pretty and has an innocence about her while also having fierceness. Later in the show, when she’s married, she has some extra bite to her and I appreciate some of the bite she has earlier. I think she’s fine.
- Rege-Jean Page as Simon, Duke of Hastings. He is one of London’s most eligible bachelors, he’s handsome and known to be a “rake” (a player/lady’s man) and he has no intention of marrying because he doesn’t want to have kids because when he his trash of a father died, he vowed that the “Hastings” name would die with him. Alright fine lol. My friend made a good point that in that case, he should have taken the name “Bridgerton” when he married Daphne, which would fulfill his vow but also allows him to be happy. Anyway, Simon is pretty boring to be honest lol but Rege-Jean Page is good looking and charming for the most part so I think that works in his favor. I actually liked learning about his history and to see how his life growing up wasn’t the best and I wish we got to see him dealing with that more as an adult with the death of his father and him actually falling in love. I liked when he was being sassy and playful with Daphne before they became romantic. I think RJP was ultimately okay.
Other Characters. Some of these I’ll touch on quickly because I may want to talk about them way more in my season 2 review. I’m not going to go into detail about her but Julie Andrews is the voice of Lady Whistledown and she’s fabulous. Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte is also fabulous but I’m not going to go much into her either.
- Adjoa Anode as Lady Danbury. She is one of the “IT” women of London society. She knows everything and is great. She is wise and often tries to do things with the best intentions and with her best interests at heart too, after all, the society cares about appearances. She has a strong relationship with the Queen, the Bridgertons (often talking with Violet Bridgerton) and she is Simon’s godmother. She really has her hands in everything. This actress reminds me of someone, I think Ruby Dee, but she’s great. I love her lol. She is so much fun to watch and to listen to. She’s a very powerful presence overall.
- Jonathan Bailey as Anthony. 9th Viscount Bridgerton, the eldest Bridgerton son and head of the family. He’s a bit annoying in this season but I think the actor is good. His sideburns are stupid lol. I totally understand his point in this season but he has a lot of growth by the end, which continues in the second season. Jonathan Bailey is fine as Anthony. He feels petulant in a lot of ways but he’s fine. We’ll talk way more about him in S2.
- Claudia Jessie as Eloise. The fifth Bridgerton child and second daughter. She is basically your “I’m not like other girls” character. Eloise despises society and is thankful that her “coming out” has been delayed a year because she doesn’t want to deal with the whole spectacle. She likes reading and learning and because of this, she gets swept up in trying to unmask Lady Whistledown. That’s pretty much her entire storyline in this season. I was surprised to see that the actress is in her 30s, I think she plays an 18 year quite well. I like her deeper, raspy voice and I like the way she delivers her lines. She’s probably one of my favorite characters in the show. But we’ll talk more about her later.
- Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington. She is the youngest Featherington daughter and Eloise’s best friend. We also find out that she’s Lady Whistledown (Gossip Girl basically). She’s very soft spoken and is often pushed around by her family and a bit by Eloise. She has a meek demeanor which makes it easy. She’s in love with Colin but won’t do or say anything about it. This actress is also much older than her character and you can’t tell either, I think she does a good job at handling all of Pen’s emotions because she goes through quite a lot. I like her fine.
- Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson. I liked her a bit in the beginning. She’s a cousin to the Featheringtons and comes to the Ton to get married. We find out that she had a boo back home and they were together before he went off to the war. This causes a lot of issues which then causes plot lines I did not like. But I think Ruby Barker was fine, she was very dynamic to watch and I think she had some great emotional moments. I think her chemistry with Pen and Colin was pretty great. I also think she did great with her facial features. As someone who reacts a lot in their face… I totally get it lol.
The Costumes. I know they’re not historically accurate but I enjoyed a lot of the costumes. Particularly the Queen and her wigs. They were always so different and I loved how a lot of her wigs were very ethnic. I liked a lot of the color palettes for characters. I loved that the Bridgertons wore a lot of blue, Lady Danbury wore reds, which in turn so did Simon. The Featheringtons were in yellows and oranges. It made it very clear who was considered gaudy and “tacky” vs those who were consistently admired.
Diverse. I appreciate that the show is diverse, I do think it could be way more diverse. It’s not quite “color blind casting” even though people like to throw those words around. If it was, then all of the Bridgertons would be different races and ethnicities. But I did like what we saw, the Queen being a black woman, Marina, Lady Danbury, and even Will and his wife. I would have liked to see more brown faces, dark skinned faces in the forefront. There were a lot in the background which was nice. I personally didn’t mind the scene where Lady Danbury was speaking with Simon about the King marrying a black woman because I was wondering if they were going to address it. If it was “color-blind’ they wouldn’t have needed to.
Friendships. Outside of the romances, I liked a lot of the friendships in the show. I like Eloise and Pen’s friendship even though it felt one-sided a times, but it felt realistic and I liked that they had their moments of not agreeing because Pen is a bit more timid compared to Eloise. I liked that Pen felt that it’s easy for Eloise to just prance about and investigate LW without worrying about marriage while all Pen can hear from her family is that she won’t be a good prospect because of her size. I liked the friendship between Daphne and Simon before it got romantic, I liked their banter and their playfulness. When they met the Prince and he told her he would call her gown “exquisite” and then he did, that was great. I liked that he clearly cared for her and tried to help her. I liked the moments with the Bridgerton family and I wish we got to see them all interact a bit more. Too bad for Francesca lol. I loved Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton’s friendship. I liked Simon and Will’s friendship. I might have liked Anthony and Simon’s friendship if we saw it more lol.
Plotlines. It’s hard to say that I liked this because two of the major plot points I didn’t care for. But I liked Anthony’s struggles with trying to be more of the Viscount and the man of the family instead of a big brother. He was also dealing with his issue of wanting to be with Sienna but being pulled by duty. I enjoyed watching Eloise try to figure out who Lady Whistledown was because the people she was suspecting, I also suspected. While I didn’t like the fake dating plot between Daphne and Simon, I liked their interactions and seeing them become friends and becoming two people who trust each other. I liked seeing Simon’s background and I would have loved too see more interactions with him and Lady Danbury. I enjoyed the mini love triangle between Pen/Colin/Marina but I wish it was more pure than it was. I think overall I enjoyed the show for what it was doing, I just didn’t care for the main story lol.
Daphne and Simon. I know I know, I actually didn’t really care about them being together. I didn’t think they worked well nor did I think the actors had romantic chemistry, and it was super awkward whenever they would have sex or talk about it. I did not like any of it lol. I also thought he looked way too old next to her. I understand that was the thing in those times but it was weird lol. I think he was supposed to be about 29 and she was maybe 21 which isn’t that weird but she still looked so young compared to him. I did not like their fake dating plot either. I understand the logic but it was dumb (I hear that Anthony and Kate had similar plot lines in their book, thank goodness they changed it in the show). I don’t like that they were basically forced into getting married and then that they were being so weird about it after lol. I didn’t like that he told her that she couldn’t have children when in actuality he didn’t want children because of his stupid vow. I didn’t like that he didn’t tell her the truth to begin with, especially when he knew she wanted to have children and be a mother. She was willing to give that up because she thought he couldn’t HAVE them not that he didn’t WANT them. HOWEVER, while that was stupid, especially since his father was dead, who cares about that guy, be BETTER than him… stupid. What Daphne did once she found out the truth was not cool and I don’t like that they don’t treat it as what it was, non-consensual. Instead he’s mad because he doesn’t want kids and she’s mad because he lied to her but no one is talking about that what she did was non-consensual… weird. I know that it’s a period piece and maybe people are used to glossing over that (they still are to be honest) but it’s set in it’s world dream-world, that was too glossed over for me. Made me like them less lol. I just didn’t like these two together.
Marina/Colin/Penelope. I DID NOT LIKE what they did here. I picked up early that Pen liked Colin (I at first thought she liked Eloise with the way they locked eyes in the beginning lol) and I didn’t mind that idea, nor did I mind the idea of Colin and Marina. Personally, Colin is one of the least interesting Bridgertons (him and Benedict) but I didn’t like that they were trying to trick him. Sure, he liked Marina and most likely would have gone through with it if they told him the truth, but I did not like how Marina was willing to trick him. I felt bad for her in ways because she was being played herself and forced into something she didn’t want either but that was frustrating. I didn’t like that Lady Featherington was so controlling with Marina that she felt like she had to this. I didn’t like that Pen ended up turning on Marina to save Colin. This storyline was extremely annoying lol.
Acting. I find this problem mostly with Rage-Jean Page as The Duke. I think he’s good looking and charismatic but I watched the season twice and this man cannot act. Maybe it’s just this character because as The Duke, he has like one emotion. Even when he’s upset, he doesn’t look upset. When Daphne does that heinous thing in the latter half of the show, he doesn’t even seem as devastated as it seemed he should have been or was trying to be. Even when they were being sexual, I was like “he looks bored”. When he was declaring his love for Daphne to the Queen so they could get married, he had no reaction. Chile, I was like, so ya’ll casted him because he’s good looking. Word. It’s nothing new but my goodness, it was obvious to me.
Diversity. So while I didn’t personally mind the conversation between Lady Danbury and Simon about the King marrying a black woman, I understand why people don’t like it. I wondered if they were going to talk about the amount of black and brown faces I saw, since it wasn’t true color blind casting. So, because they did, I was like “oh okay,” but then they never mentioned it again nor was it a factor in anything. I kind of wish that they didn’t talk about it at all because then I wouldn’t have been like “okay… so the world just fully accepts it? There’s no one who doesn’t like it?” I know it’s a fantasy but I can’t help but to think that way since the show put that there in my face lol. I also just wish there were more non white main characters.
Costumes. This isn’t a big deal but I did not like Daphne hair. I hated Anthony’s sideburns and how messy he looked. I didn’t care for a lot of Eloise’s clothes even though apparently hers were “pretty accurate”. It was the high neck thing and the thing she would wear in her hair. I also could tell that Penelope was wearing a wig (thank goodness for the glow up in season 2 lol).
Lady Whistledown’s Reveal. I do not like that they revealed her in this season. I wish they waited but I guess she wouldn’t have a ton to do in season 2 but I was extremely disappointed. That’s all lol.
Overall, I liked the first season of Bridgerton. I think it was a fine introduction into the show. I liked the characters for the most part and the acting all around was fine. The weakest person to me was Rege-Jean Page. I liked most of the costumes and the look of the show, I liked that the show is in it’s own “diverse” world. I enjoyed the musical choices for the most part, and I liked some of the side plot lines. I loved the various friendships we got to see throughout the show and I hope we continue to see more of them as it goes on. But I didn’t care for Simon and Daphne as a couple, they were the least interesting characters to me. I didn’t like how some characters were costumed in their hair, I didn’t like that Lady Whistledown was revealed so early and I didn’t like that some major things brought up and/or shown weren’t talked about (diversity, the non-consensual act). I see why people love the show but the stuff they loved it for is not why I liked it lol. I think the first season is fine and as I watched it twice, it was better on my second watch. It’s a good show and I’ll keep watching.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
What did you think of Bridgerton season 1? Who is your favorite character from this season? Season 2 review coming soon!
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