Conner’s Critiques: “Bridgerton” Season 2 is the talk of the to(w)n, but wasn’t as good as season one

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Credit: Netflix

Conner McBride, Business Manager

Netflix has, after a long wait, released season two of the popular historical drama on March 25, 2022, “Bridgerton.” Right off the bat this show has accumulated 251 million hours of watch-time within the first full week of its release, making it the second most watched show within a week, right after the popular Netflix K-drama, “Squid Game.”

The show is set during the 1800’s regency London period, so around the time of the Battle of Waterloo. Season one came out near the end of the first year of the quarantine lockdown and was very well received, scoring a 82% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.3/10 on IMDB. At the end of season one, Daphne Bridgerton, now Duchess of Hastings Daphne Basset, gives birth to her son. 

The new season starts off with introductions of the newest, eligible and ready to be married ladies to the queen. Reintroductions of the Bridgertons who are eligible for marriage are made: Eloise and Anthony. We are also introduced to some new characters: the Sharma sisters and their mother as well as the new Lord Featherington. 

First and foremost, before even mentioning the music or outfits, the extravagance of the show and its sets deserves to be mentioned. It’s clear that the producers and set designers spared no expense when it came to location. From the white rose decorated pews of St. James’s Church to the giant paintings and gold detailing of the room where all the eligible ladies make their debut to the queen, all of the sets are very well done.

The music, just like last season, did not disappoint. From what the Bridgerton official Spotify playlist shows, it’s the same artists as the previous season, but with new songs. The most notable part of the soundtrack is popular hits such as “Sign Of The Times” by Harry Styles and “Material Girl” by Madonna turned into orchestral remixes. When there are no balls happening, the other part of the soundtrack is composed almost entirely of string instruments with the occasional tambourine thrown in to add some spice.

The costumes are all also very good. Due to Lady Whistledown’s identity being revealed to the audience in the last season, this season shows more about where she works and gets her articles printed, in a working class area which shows more than just the high-fashion empire-waist style gowns of the high class. 

Additionally, of course, there are new outfits from the main characters: the Featheringtons finally have better clothing than the horribly clashing dresses of last season. A bigger focus is put on men’s high-class fashion due to Anthony’s participation in the season. If Anthony had not participated, presumably, the mens’ fashion would once again be glossed over and more focus would again be put on womens outfits. The Sharmas introduce calmer styles of dress – that is to say, less focused on lacing and beadwork – and Elouise, the younger sister of Anthony Bridgerton, takes on a more conservative approach to the latest fashion trends.

One thing the show seems to be lacking, despite the abundance of them last season, is balls. In season one, the show featured 11 balls all involving a different focus on what would happen with the characters. 

“We have discussions about the emotion that we want out of this. Is it one of these sexier balls? Or is it a falling in love ball? A gossip ball? That tells me as a director how to bring it to life,” says director Tom Verica in a Vanity interview about season one of the show. 

Throughout the eight-episode season two, there are only four balls, which is a shame because that’s when the more extravagant dresses and popular songs show up. With the lack of ball scenes, the only time more detailed dresses can be shown off is at dinners or at the big wedding.

Another thing that the show was unfortunately lacking in, is attractive men. In season one, there was the Duke, played by Regé-Jean Page, the three Bridgerton brothers :Anthony Bridgerton, played by Johnathan Bailey, Benedict Bridgerton played by Luke Thompson, Colin Bridgerton, played by Luke Newton, and Prince Friedrich, played by Freddie Stroma. But now in season 2, the only attractive men shown are the Bridgerton brothers and maybe, the new Lord Featherington played by Rupert Young.

Also, the show draws some startling similarities to the hit broadway musical “Hamilton.” Although it takes a few episodes to start connecting the dots between the show and the musical, as soon as one of the dots is connected, it all starts coming together like a puzzle. Everything from a tense, forbidden love between an older sister and the man betrothed to her younger sister, to coming to a new place in order to find opportunities and maybe even love.

All in all, the show is worth the watch, most preferably in a binge marathon, even if you need to carve a few hours out of your schedule to fit it all in to fully experience the tension-riddled, dramatically extravagant show that is “Bridgerton.”