After a very long wait, we finally returned to London during the fictional 19th century Regency period in “Bridgerton”.
And after a close call, Lady Whistledown is back and making moves to bring her business to new heights.
The second season of “Bridgerton” was plagued with production issues due to constant coronavirus cases, which added to the long wait for its return. However, it looks like they had no impact on the end product.
We pick up the following year with the next social season with the high society still recovering from all the fall out of Lady Whistledown/Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) spilling all the insider tea.
Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) is determined to outsmart the noisy columnist and regain her control over the high society which she feels is getting out of her reach,
When “Bridgerton” season one dropped in late 2020, we were still in the depths of lockdown hell.
Specifically, in Mzansi, we had the news of raised lockdown levels that occurred a week after the show debuted.
And since we were, yet again, locked inside with very few outdoor activities possible, the show not only offered an opportunity for some escapist fun but also something we hadn’t seen before with a regency period based show.
We gobbled up the modern-day songs rearranged for the period, the anticipation of trying to figure out who Lady Whistledown is and of course the burning love story with Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings(Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor).
The show became an instant hit, both internationally and locally, with TikTok FYPs, Twitter and Instagram time-lines filled with user-created content based on it.
Now, we're close to the pandemic turning into an endemic, with many of the restrictions that made many of us homebodies gone, season 2 doesn’t quite scratch the same itch.
The show is still beautifully shot, the acting is great, figuring out what pop song is playing at the various social events is fun, seeing what kind of wig Queen Charlotte is going to wear is exciting, but when it comes to our two leads, there doesn’t seem to be much of fire.
Don’t get me wrong, the addition of the Sharma family - Edwina(Charithra Chandran), Kate (Simone Ashley) and Mary (Shelley Conn) - add a bit more scope.
While they still subscribe to the norms of the London high society, they are very much in touch with their Indian heritage, which is both small and more overt ways are shown.
Specifically with Kate, where she does slight code-switching when speaking to her sister and mother compared to everyone else.
There is chemistry between Kate and Anthony Brigderton (Jonathan Bailey), but it’s nowhere close to that between Daphne and Simon.
That "burn for you" scene is still one of the hottest things to grace our screens, and they try to do something similar with Anthony and Kate, but it just doesn’t hit the same way. I don’t foresee a whole song being made from that moment.
The lack of true fire between them might have to do with Anthony, in general, being a very unlikeable character. Especially compared to Simon, who straddled the line between lovable douchebag and swoon-worthy heartthrob.
The stand out performance from the first six episodes I watched was Simone. She brings a presence and stature to the role of Kate that is very much against the status quo.
Straddling the line of playing the game for women in that period while still getting ways to be independent.
The show is still good, with great scriptwriting and characters we still care about. The story moves well enough between all the cast members, with the sole focus being Kate and Anthony.
However, since their storyline is the anchor for this season and at least in the first couple of episodes falls short compared to Daphne and Simon.
I’m also hoping that we have more queer characters appearing in the later episodes since hints were being thrown in the first season.
And Shondaland has never been shy to give well-rounded queer characters a good storyline in their shows, and I’m hoping we get that in the second half of the season.
“Bridgerton” is still a great show and is worth the watch, but for me, I just didn’t feel the burn this time around.
Hopefully, when season three comes around, the next couple, the story focuses on reignites the fire that was once the main driving force on the show.
And Regé-Jean needs to at least make a cameo appearance. His beautiful face and body are truly missed.
“Bridgerton” season 2 starts streaming on Netflix from March 25.
This article was originally published on IOL.