Okay y’all, I have talked about Bridgerton on this blog before but in general I don’t gush about it too much because I never really found it worthy of gushing. I liked the first season of the show and then started reading the books, but it’s not like they’re one of the top series I talk about (you can thank Shami Stovall for that).
But please I need someone to talk to about the second season of the show!!
When I read the first book and realized how much creative freedom was taken with the show’s adaptation, I felt kind of weird about joining the Quinn world because I saw the show first and liked it so much. Though the same core story is there, I would argue that the couple in The Duke and I are very different from the couple in the first season of the show. I wasn’t sure I’d like the rest of the book series or the show’s next season because I wasn’t sure which version of the story was better.
Spoiler alert: it’s gonna be the show for that second season.
I reserve the right to decide later on in Bridgerton‘s run whether the show is overall better than the books, but the second season is absolutely better than the second book was. Taking out awkward contrivances and all of the tropes repeated from Daphne’s book was such a good idea! In my reviews of Quinn’s novels, I mention anytime a trope has been used multiple books in a row. The series relies on a lot of the same narrative contrivances beyond the necessity of hitting the tropes of the historical romance. Sure, the typical regency romance novel has the same basic outline as any other, but tropes tend to vary; especially in multiple book series. The Bridgerton series was basically the same two tropes over and over and over and over–for each sibling! There are eight of them, it’s kind of ridiculous that each one seems to have the exact same relationship.
So to be honest, I wasn’t as excited about Kate and Anthony’s story on screen as I was to see the other side plots that were smartly introduced in the first season. I wanted to know how they were going to pull off Penelope’s hijinks. But then…I watched it. And oh boy was it good.
Anyone who’s been on the Internet long enough has probably run into a meme about Pride and Prejudice from 2005, so even if you haven’t seen it you will probably understand what I mean when I say the yearning. Bridgerton season 2 is the spiritual successor to Pride and Prejudice 2005.
They took out a couple of plotlines and suddenly the story was this gorgeous enemies to lovers situation. They added in the appropriate amount of side character plotline, the flashbacks were heart wrenching, and the things they added to the story were not only plausible but way more interesting than not knowing anything about these characters until their respective story. It enriched my memories of the novels by adding background in a series full of time jumps.
There are so many other reasons this season was Better. The costumes are more interesting–several fashion bloggers online have discussed the development of a signature look for the show that no longer concerns itself with historical accuracy. The side characters getting plot development to lead up to their eventual Main Character Moments was a clever move from the beginning of the show but it’s even better in this season. Don’t even get me started on the casting–Simone Ashley is unparalleled as Kate.
Ultimately, the show has officially become its own thing. With the first season, there was still just enough of Quinn’s story and world to think of it in terms of the books it was adapted from. Now, though, with significant enough changes to update the story for a more modern audience, the show is morphing into its own world in a way not dissimilar to how Game of Thrones moved on from Martin’s book series. Other reviews have mentioned the idea that Bridgerton is a fantasy version of the time period born of modern day tropes, visions, and desires and I think that’s absolutely the case. It’s historical fantasy escapism at its finest!
Are you along for the ride?