Why We Can’t Wait for the Shonda Rhimes’ Regency Drama ‘Bridgerton’ on Netflix

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We’ve gotten our first glimpse of Bridgerton, the Shonda Rhimes-helmed period drama premiering on Netflix this holiday season. And it just might be everything we never knew we always wanted.

The series is the first Shondaland-Netflix collaboration after Rhimes inked a $300+ million deal with the streaming giant.

The trailer dropped on Monday, and amidst lavish sets, gorgeous costumes, and a beautiful cast, we hear the oh-so-familiar voice of Julie Andrews, who plays the ever present (but never seen) Lady Whistledown, purveyor of a high society gossip paper.

“You do not know me and never shall, but be forewarned, dear reader: I certainly know you,” she says in the voiceover.

The Plot

Bridgerton is based on the best-selling novels by Julia Quinn. The series follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the eight siblings of the powerful Bridgerton family, as she navigates Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Daphne searches for true love (and a beneficial match), but she’s left without options when her potential suitors begin to dwindle.

Then she meets bachelor Duke of Hasting (Regé-Jean Page). And while the two feign mutual disinterest, as the show’s synopsis puts it, “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.”

“The social season is upon us. We shall discover which young ladies might succeed at securing a match,” Lady Whistledown continues in the trailer. “Let it be known, if there’s a scandal, I shall uncover it… and share every last detail.”

Doesn’t that just sound delicious?

Great Expectations

For those of us still mourning the loss of Downton Abbey, hopes could not be higher. Not that Bridgerton is trying to be a replacement to the BBC drama, by any means. After all, the series set in Regency-era England, and Downton spanned the Edwardian era to the early 1920s. And it’s not as if the Dowager Countess ever put out a gossip rag. (If anything, that was more Lady Edith’s territory.)

But the costumes, score, scandalous plot lines, snappy dialog, spot-on casting, and rich source material all hint at something wonderful. And if we’ve learned anything over the last decade and a half, whatever Shonda Rhimes touches seems to turn to gold.

And speaking of that casting, Showrunner Chris Van Dusen spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the pitch-perfect choice of Andrews as Lady Whistledown.

The Coup of Julie Andrews

“When is Julie Andrews ever not the right fit?” Van Dusen said. “She’s brought so much to this character. She gets to say some really scathing, non-Julie Andrews things that I’m excited for people to hear. The things coming out of Julie Andrew’s mouth, as Lady Whistledown, she relishes in the cheeky things, which is a lot of fun.”

“Underneath all the glamour and lavishness and this beautiful escapist world, we have this running modern commentary,” he continued. “They had dating back in the Regency, obviously, they just called it courtship, and instead of things like Tinder, they just swiped left and right in the most glamorous ways imaginable.”

Van Dusen and Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers will serve as executive producers. Julie Ann Robinson, Sheree Folkson, Tom Verica and Alrick Riley will direct.

The series premieres on Christmas Day, and we can’t wait.