scene from Bridgerton on Netflix

'Bridgerton’ Is a Dramatic, Steamy Escape From Reality

These days, television screens seem unable to avoid the overwhelming domination of the COVID-19 pandemic. News channels feature nearly non-stop numbers updates and breaking stories, and now even regular network dramas and comedies take on the task of depicting the challenges of life in a pandemic. NBC’s "Superstore" and "This Is Us" and CBS’s "All Rise" — to name a few — feature characters donning masks in public places and work offices, and mention weeks spent in quarantine before meeting up.

While it can be comforting and entertaining to see realistic events in otherwise fictional platforms, an event as traumatic as the pandemic can be simply exhausting to relive on the big screen — especially since we’re still in the thick of it.

Netflix’s "Bridgerton," then, — and many other Netflix shows, for that matter — offers just the opposite: a sweet escape from both the horrific challenges of the virus and painstaking mundanity of life in quarantine.

With filming having wrapped up just days before restrictions shut down many production companies, "Bridgerton" shows no signs of masks or quarantines, and there’s plenty of other scandals and theatrics to keep the mind away from our current… situation.

Elaborate costumes and scenery, steamy romances and secret identities are just a few of the thrills viewers can expect from the British 19th century period drama, directed by Shonda Rhimes and adapted from the popular novels by Julia Quinn. 

The show follows a well-off British family of the same name, whose oldest daughter Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) is entering the “marriage market,” which entails a whole season of various courtships, balls and promenades in the square until a girl finally finds her match and accepts a proposal.

The queen herself deems Daphne Bridgerton the most desirable young woman that season, though due to the stubbornness of her brother Daphne finds herself with very few suitors to choose from. In an attempt to increase her desirability, Daphne forms an alliance of sorts with Duke of Hastings Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), which enfolds into a steamy storyline that puts Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinski’s (of "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before") to shame.

The drama that inevitably ensues is narrated by one Lady Whistledown, an anonymous gossip columnist whose pamphlets set the town astir with her juicy reveals. Funnily enough, the voice given to Lady Whistledown is none other than Julie Andrews, whom The New Yorker’s Doreen St. Felix aptly describes as “possibly the least anonymous person in Britain.”

From its wholly incaptivating storyline and talented cast to its decadent scenery and wardrobe — not to mention its offer of a tantalizing escape from current reality — it’s no wonder "Bridgerton" is set to become one of Netflix’s five most watched shows in the company’s history.

"Bridgerton" is available to stream on Netflix.