By Madison Tringone
Bridgerton debuted on Netflix on December 25, 2020. With a viewership of 82 million households, it became the most-watched series on Netflix at the time of its premiere, and remains the second most-watched series by total watch time on the platform. The series reached number one in 76 countries on Netflix.
Bridgerton was created by Chris Van Dusen, a Watkins Mill alumnus and native of Montgomery County. The show is based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton collection novels.
Taking place in the early part of the 19th century, the books follow the eight siblings in the Bridgerton family, four boys and four girls, as they seek the loves of their lives. For Van Dusen, bringing this world to life on the small screen is also about something else.
Though race isn’t discussed in the books, Van Dusen was adamant that he wanted the show to reflect the world in which we live. It’s also a central component for all of Shondaland’s shows. Bridgerton posed a unique opportunity to have a multiracial cast with a period piece. Building the world of Bridgerton for the last three years has been Van Dusen’s only focus. Van Dusen wanted to take his love for period shows that he thinks are considered traditional and conservative and “turn it into something fresh, topical and relatable” (Valenti).
Van Dusen is known for working with Shondaland and writing and producing Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. He devoured Quinn’s stories after Rhimes gave him a copy of the eight-book series three years ago to see if it might be something he’d be interested in developing. While reading, he saw elements of his favorite types of storytelling: romance, sex, intrigue, all with a powerful family at the core.
Van Dusen stated in an interview with Pay Or Wait that he wants Bridgerton to be “pure escapism…that’s something I think we could all use right now.” Behind all of the escapism, Chris Van Dusen aimed to have a modern commentary about how over the last 200 years, everything and nothing have changed, for men and women.
Last April, Van Dusen tweeted that the series had additionally been renewed for a third and fourth season.
Featured photo courtesy of @ChrisVanDusen on Instagram, from the first day of filming the first season.