The Bridgertons Chronicle: What is Shonda Rhimes’ first Netflix production worth between Downton Abbey and Gossip Girl?

The bridgertons chronicle: what is shonda rhimes' first netflix production worth between downton abbey and gossip girl?

For her very first fiction produced for Netflix, almost three years after signing an exclusive contract with the platform, producer Shonda Rhimes (“Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal”, “Murder”) returns to her first love …

What is it about ?

In London, during the Regency, Daphne Bridgerton, eldest daughter of a powerful dynasty, is supposed to find a husband, but the competition is tough and her desires are elsewhere …

Available on Netflix. 4 episodes seen out of 8.

Who is it with?

Mainly worn by little-known British comedians, The Chronicle of the Bridgertons focuses on a quirky star couple formed by Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne, seen in Younger and the Snatch series, and Rege-Jean Page in that of Simon Basset, already crossed with Shonda Rhimes in the For the People judicial series. Around them, we find with pleasure Jonathan Bailey, discovered in Broadchurch and in the first series of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Crashing; and the voice-over of the legendary actress Julie Andrews, in the role of Lady Whistledown, known to the whole world for having played Mary Poppins and the heroine of La Mélodie du Bonheur.

Well worth a look ?

They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and the same goes for The Bridgertons Chronicle, rightly adapted from a popular literary saga, which is better than what one might imagine from her at first glance. For her very first series for Netflix, with whom she signed a 9-figure exclusivity contract in 2018 – making her the highest paid woman on American television – Shonda Rhimes operates here as a return to the sources. Before creating or producing series that have become cult such as Grey’s Anatomy and its 16 years of age, its spin-off Private Practice, or Scandal and Murder, successes which have each participated in their own way in redefining American network television, she started her career by writing the screenplay for the film … A Princess Wedding in 2004!

Bridgerton is basically the antithesis of this romantic comedy all that is more classic and marked with Anne Hathaway and already Julie Andrews, which took place in a similar but more contemporary universe, with not so different stakes. Except that today’s Shonda Rhimes is no longer the debutante of the time who performed what Disney expected of her. And if this new proposal takes place in the 19th century, it is in the subject much more modern than the film was! The producer has never hidden her passion for the British series Downton Abbey and after a failed attempt to make her own variation with Still Star-crossed for ABC, a real artistic and audimatic failure, she is trying her luck again here but with ideas more convincing and means offered by Netflix much more substantial. However, let’s give back to Caesar what belongs to him: Shonda Rhimes did not write Bridgerton, she “only” produced it and gave the baby to screenwriter Chris Van Dusen, with whom she had already collaborated on Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

Fans of Shondaland, who will have noticed that the designer is being offered the luxury of having the logo of her production company at the start of the episode, instead of the usual Netflix “Toudoum”, should not be totally disoriented by Bridgerton so much we find the markers of his work. Resolutely feminist and carried by a heroine of fragile appearance but in reality very strong and ready to do battle with the patriarchy and the traditions of her time, she takes pleasure in thwarting the codes of the genre in an irreverent way, but not completely punk no more. Through the voice-over of Lady Whistledown, a sort of aged Gossip Girl through whom scandal always happens, through the dialogues between the characters that never lack spice and cynicism, or the constant sexual tension that sometimes results in scenes of sex less corseted than expected, there is a form of jubilation that allows you to follow the episodes a little too long with relish.

There is money on the screen, a profusion of means from sets to costumes to wigs; the production has clearly put the small dishes in the big ones to make this yard wonderful to watch; the actors are handsome and quite good, although no performance really stands out; but the staging, neither ambitious nor singular, does not espouse the subject at all and prevents Bridgerton from really standing out from the crowd, unlike The Great for example, proposed this year by Hulu which was much more interesting in all respects of view. This is undoubtedly the price to pay to seduce the widest possible audience on Netflix, who certainly want to see during this Christmas period a light and romantic program at will that cannot afford to go too far out of the frame.

The Bridgertons ‘chronicle does not really correspond to what one would expect from Shonda Rhimes’ partnership with Netflix which in theory should allow him more freedom and even more daring, but it is a first step, an appetizer. , a tangy candy that looks like it, before we hope for more ambitious and differentiating projects. During 2021, she will launch her first creation since Scandal: Inventing Anna or the incredible but true story of a woman who managed to fool the New York elite by posing as a rich German heiress …

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