Aren’t we glad that we live in the 21st Century!?
Estimated to be Netflix’s 5th highest debuting series ever, Brigerton (a period drama) even sucked me in! Although I’ve never had much of a taste for 19th Century Regency romances. But after a week of binging Brigerton here are my thoughts.
But to set the scene for you, Netflix’s Brigerton is based on Julia Quinn’s novel of the same name. It is set in the 1830s in an alternative reality of 19th Century London. The 8-episode series focuses on a 2–3-month period of time during the season when debutants are presented to court- that facilitates potential matches between high born ladies and gentlemen. The storyline focuses on the Brigerton family (4 sons and 3 daughters), and the Featherington family (3 daughters). The storyline is explained to us the viewer by a narrator( voice over by the legendary Julie Andrews), which we later learn that the exerts we’re hearing are parts of a gossip column written by a mystery writer (Lady Whistledown). Laid-out as a 19th Century soapy, it covers off themes of class, saving face, gender, romance, birth-right, greed, shivery and gossip. All very trashy, but admittedly very binge worthy.
The main standouts for me were:
Racial equality- if racial barriers were broken down hundreds of years ago, skin colour would no longer be an issue today. As exhibited in Brigerton, where the Queen of England was a woman of colour. Throughout the series race and colour was never an issue, but it was based on a man (or woman’s) depth of character which people were judged on. But unfortunately this reality only exists in an alternative history drama.
The inequalities of class, birth-order and gender- and the reason why I’m so glad that we live in the 21st century now, is because in Australia at least we don’t have a defined class structure, inheritance isn’t based on birth-order, and gender barriers are almost demolished. Watching Brigerton, it reminded me of how unequal wealth and opportunity was distributed back in those days, to the first-born male of a high-born family- and everyone else (the other 99%) can get stuffed!
Pre-Google era- And Brigerton reminded me what life was like when knowledge was held by certain people, who can decide to pass on (or withhold) that information which could place others at a disadvantage. In an era where we can find the answer to any question which pops up in our mind in a matter of seconds, imagine living in the 19th Century and being completely ignorant? It’s not that you’re unable to find the answers, but you don’t even know that there is a question to be asked! How sad, how sad. With knowledge comes power, and I think we’re all more empowered today, thanks to Google!
Power of social media- and final stand-out for me from the series is the power of social media. In Brigerton social media took the form of a gossip column, however the outcome was the same in the 19th as in the 21st Century. Anonymous writer, voicing their own opinions and disclosing facts (true or false) could tarnish and ruin reputations and people. From Brigerton it has shown that everyone likes gossip, as long as that dirt isn’t flung our way, and isn’t that the truth in the present day? With tweets, memes, and fake news? It’s all a laugh and entertainment until we’re personally caught out by it. Should we do more to control social medias?
In the end, Brigerton was far better than I thought it would be. It presented as a trashy period soapy, but it ended up delving into far more deeper themes than I’d anticipated. If you’re interested to check-out Brigerton, click HERE!