Viscounts over Dukes – Why ‘Bridgerton’ Season Two Outshines Season One

Source: Shondaland / Netflix

Bridgerton is a show that you expect romance genre fans to love as it has all the much loved tropes — there is an abundance of initimate moments, beautiful dresses, and multi-layered Jane Austen-esque characters. However, when I watched the first season of Bridgerton, it left me a little underwhelmed and it seemed to try to make up for excitement by throwing in sex scenes rather than focusing on a well-developed plot. Bridgerton Season Two drastically improved the viewership experience, with copious amounts of yearning, more emphatic declarations of love, and a real sense of rooting for the characters to find their happy ending in a way that made sense to them.

The Family Dynamics 

Source: Shondaland / Netflix

The eponymous family are the centre of the entire Bridgerton show, which naturally makes the family dynamic a key element of the series. It could be argued that Season One was hindered by the fact that it had to introduce the characters to an unfamiliar audience and establish the world of the Ton, whereas in Season Two the viewers are able to better understand each character better as their storylines are more developed.

Bridgerton Season Two provided viewers with more entertaining and heartwarming moments between all the Bridgerton family members. We saw them bicker and banter as they played their traditional family game of Pall Mall, as well as banding together to dance and make light of their situation at the Bridgerton ball (including the youngest siblings Gregory and Hyacinth). These were entertaining scenes that emphasised the hierarchy and personalities of each member of the family.

Other scenes showed how characters were able to shine as a family — like the Sharma’s, in which sisters Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina (Charindra Chandran) have their own affectionate way of addressing each other, with Kate calling Edwina ‘Bon’ and Edwina calling Kate “Didi’. The Featherington family meanwhile had moments that demonstrated both their dysfunction and love for one another, with Lady Featherington’s ultimate speech in the finale demonstrating the maternal love she possesses for her daughters.

A Swoon-Worthy Romance 

Source: Netflix

Season One of Bridgerton included a lot of swoon-worthy moments. The Duke (Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) were certainly a beautiful couple, with plenty of passionate and romantic moments between them. Some of the strongest and best parts of Season One were the scenes between Daphne and the Duke, which were perhaps diminished by *that* controversial scene. In comparison, Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) excel at being a more interesting couple. 

They, in my perspective, outshined Simon and Daphne in terms of being a compelling couple. I’ll admit, I am a little biased because the hate-to-love cliché has always been one of my favourites in terms of romantic relationships. However, although Daphne and Simon had their disagreements (and problematic elements), they weren’t as seemingly frustrated by each other as Anthony and Kate were. Additionally, Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley had more chemistry between them which helped tell the ‘Kanthony’ love story, as Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma’s enemies-to-lovers romance captivated audiences with their scenes full of banter, bickering, near-touches, and longing stares across crowded ballrooms. The characters’ struggle between tearing each other’s clothes off or ripping each other’s heads off created a lot of sexual tension for the audience. It also made the viewers’ eagerly anticipate the moment when they would finally get together. 

Character Development

Source: Netflix

Anthony Bridgerton was perhaps the most unlikable character in Season One but in Season Two we see great character growth. The story and the flashbacks into his past allowed Anthony as a character to grow in the audience’s eyes, away from being just the domineering older brother to someone with complex issues and unresolved trauma. Viewers gained a better understanding of him, making the character more likeable and his choices more understandable. 

Anthony wasn’t the only character who grew into a more mature person, however. Almost the entirety of the Bridgerton Season Two  ensemble had various aspects of character development, which served to alleviate some of the previous season’s issues. For example, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) became a much more enjoyable character to watch. She was not only perceptive in her criticisms of society, but she also demonstrated that, despite her reservations, she is still a part of it and would go to any length for her family, especially to protect their reputation.

Deviating from the Novel

Source: Netflix

The changes they made for this season were amazing, as instead of following the same pattern as Season One there instead appeared to be more time given for emotional connections. A noticeable change from the book series would be the bee scene, as instead we saw a moment where Kate and Anthony were able to be vulnerable with each other without thinking about their duties for a bit. 

The changes help the viewers fall in love with Anthony and Kate’s slow-burn, and in the end choosing to be with each other because they want to and because of their love for each other. In order for a story to make sense, you do need to change things up a bit to work on screen. 

Words by Simone Margett

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