Representation on screen

Netflix is always airing new television shows on its platform but it is often a guessing game on whether a show will become a hit and strike an audience’s attention. Shows like Stranger Things, You, Money Heist, and Squid Games are all shows released by Netflix that quickly became popular, all generating huge viewership numbers. Bridgerton, directed by Cheryl Dunye, is part of Netflix’s list of hit television shows and is based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn. Bridgerton’s first season aired on December 25, 2020 and, at the time, became Netflix’s most watched television series in history, with many praising and appreciating the diversity within the show. However, since then, it has fallen to second place with Squid Games securing the number one spot. Bridgerton’s second season aired on March 25, 2022 and is currently sitting in Netflix’s top ten based on viewer activity. After the release of season two, Bridgerton reached number one in 92 countries and amassed 193 hours of viewing time its premiere weekend. The show is set in the Regency era of London and follows the eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family as they look for love and happiness in London high society. Each episode includes narration from an anonymous and ever- scandalous newsletter columnist known as Lady Whistledown, who takes major gossip from around London and publishes it in the newsletter, drawing everyone’s interest. Season one follows the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne, as she makes her debut into the competitive marriage market. Whereas, season two follows the eldest Bridgerton son and viscount, Anthony, as he navigates being the man of the household and finding a viscountess. Apart from romance, Bridgerton tackles the idea that many Regency period pieces have white characters front and center while people of color are in the background or rarely there at all. “It’s not a color-blind world. Race and color are very much a part of the world and a part of the show’s conversation, just like things like status and class and gender and sexuality are, and I think that’s part of what makes Bridgerton, Bridgerton,” Bridgerton’s executive producer and showrunner, Chris Van Dusen, said. Van Dusen also shared that he wanted to create a series that was inclusive by turning the period the show takes place in on its head and reimagining it. Season two, apart from centering around Anthony Bridgerton, focuses on two Indian sisters, Edwina and Kate Sharma, played by Charithra Chandran and Simone Ashley. Charithra Chandran, who plays Edwin Sharma in the show, hopes that having two Indian women as lead characters in the show can normalize casting people of color as lead roles. “You seldom see dark-skinned Indian women as the romantic interest and the lead that Simone plays or the diamond that I play. I hope that it makes girls who look like us feel more comfortable in their skin — feel like they belong,” Chandran said. Bridgerton is renewed for a third and fourth season and producer Shonda Rhimes hopes to make Bridgerton an eight-season series.