BRIDGERTON Season Two – Review by Susan Granger

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When Bridgerton debuted in December, 2020, the Regency-era costume drama quickly became one of Netflix’s most popular shows, reaching 82 million households. Admittedly, its second season lacks the sexy spice of the first, focusing on far less interesting characters. Nevertheless, its Gossip Girl-meets-Downton Abbey concept is addictive for bingeing.

Reimagining 19th century England, it once again focuses on aristocratic families seeking favor from Black royalty. “We were two separate societies, divided by color, until King George III fell in love with one of us,” all-knowing Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) explains.

The sizzling first season followed Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset (Rege-Jean Page); they’re now married. So the focus is on Daphne’s eldest brother, rakish, stubborn Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), who feels compelled to find a suitable wife.

Enter proper, placid, polite Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran), newly arrived from Bombay, along with her headstrong older half-sister Kathani (Simone Ashley). In the 1800s, India was a British colony with thousands of transients settling in London. But Edwina and Kate’s mother was rejected by her aristocratic British parents when she chose to marry the girls’ father, a lower-class Indian clerk.

There’s also a crisis in the not-so-prosperous Featherington family, marked by the arrival of Cousin Jack (Rupert Young). Meanwhile, the close friendship between eavesdropping wallflower Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and intellectual, inquisitive Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) is in danger of rupturing.

All this is chronicled by the cunning, scandal-mongering gossiper Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), a constant irritant to scheming, snuff-sniffing Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), who will soon get her own prequel series, according to executive producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal).

Based on Julia Quinn’s bodice-ripping, historical romance novels, the melodramatic storylines have been re-imagined by showrunner Chris Van Dusen, who details a multihued, multiethnic, colorful society, complete with extravagant, eye-catching costumes and bucolic beauty.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, Bridgerton: Season Two is a slow-simmering 7 – with the streaming Netflix series already renewed through Season Four.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.