Christmas is officially canceled this year. Tell all your friends that Dec. 25 is now known as Bridgerton Day.
Netflix's newest drama—and Shonda Rhimes' first series since leaving ABC—is finally here, and let us just tell you that it's worth an eight hour Christmas Day binge. Sure, you should not watch it with your parents or your children or your grandma, but you should definitely watch it. It's like Scandal with corsets. It's Pride & Prejudice & Ariana Grande. It's the Keira Knightley version of Gossip Girl. It's Shonda with no standards and practices, and it is a marvel to behold.
Before you start your binge (presumably the moment it arrives at midnight), there are a few things we'd like to share that might help you on your journey or at least get you very pumped for said journey, especially if you haven't read Julia Quinn's books that the show is based on.
While there are many characters involved, the show revolves around the Bridgerton family, headed by Lady Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell). Lord Bridgerton has died, so Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) is supposed to be the man of the house. Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) is the oldest daughter, and as the show begins, she's hoping to attract a husband.
All the Bridgertons are named in alphabetical order: Anthony, Benedict (Luke Thompson), Colin (Luke Newton), Daphne, Eloise (Claudia Jessie), Francesca (Ruby Stokes), Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt).
Anthony, Benedict and Colin all look relatively similar, but just know that the one who's sleeping with the opera singer is Anthony, the one who's doing art is Benedict and the other one is Colin.
Colin is pals with (and the crush) of Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), one of the daughters of the Featherington family, who are welcoming a guest named Marina (Ruby Barker) into their home.
Regé-Jean Page plays Simon Bassett, a handsome, mysterious duke who refuses to settle down and has some serious beef with his late father. The queen, a powerful yet bored woman who simply loves her gossip and her drama, is played by Golda Rosheuvel.
Each season, the queen declares which young ladies she thinks are most eligible for marriage, and then she waits to see that she's correct when they do, in fact, get married. When her prospects are not quite as thrilling as she hoped, Daphne joins forces with the Duke to get everyone off their back by pretending to be courting.
All the drama is publicly documented by the unidentified Lady Whistledown, who is basically like regency Gossip Girl and voiced by Julie Andrews.
Don't be afraid to watch the first episode twice.
We found ourselves a little confused in episode two, so we went back and watched the first episode a second time. It was extremely helpful because that first ep is packed to the brim with information that you might just miss the first time as you're still getting used to the language and the fact that all the men have the same haircut.
If you must watch around other people, be careful.
This is your urgent warning that things get...steamy. You should be able to tell when it's coming, but just prepare yourself for the end of episode five. And then episode six.
Yes, that's Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams."
Speaking of episode six, you're in store for some truly incredible musical moments courtesy of orchestral versions of popular pop songs. Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish and even Maroon 5 all provide background music that somehow fits absolutely perfectly, after you get over the momentary shock of hearing "Bad Guy" in a period piece.
The covers are by Vitamin String Quartet and Duomo, and the rest of the score was composed by Kris Bowers.
The books each focus on a different Bridgerton sibling.
We're already anticipating season two, and if the show follows the trend of the books, other seasons will focus on other Bridgertons after telling Daphne's story in season one. That means there are things to pay attention to on top of our new favorite couple and all the clues to the identity of Lady Whistledown, like what the heck Benedict is up to in the art world.
The Shonda of it all.
You won't find a lot of Grey's Anatomy or Scandal here, but you can absolutely see the Shonda Rhimes influences in the modern aspects of the story and the simple fact that the queen and the duke are both Black and we don't have to know why or how. You can also see the Shonda impact in those sexy, lingering glances and the way the women take control at a time when they can only get anything done by getting married. If this is what Shonda wants to give us at Netflix, we will take it!
Hit play on the video above to hear from stars Coughlan, Jessie and Bailey while we're off to watch it yet again. Have a wonderful Bridgerton Day and we'll be back next week to discuss!
Bridgerton arrives on Netflix on Dec. 25.