Bridgerton: Mixed responses from critics to second series

Image source, NETFLIX
Image caption,
Charithra Chandran and Simone Ashley star in the second series of Bridgerton

The second series of Bridgerton is "a bit tamer" without its star from the first season, Regé-Jean Page, according to TV critics.

"Fans may have been worried [it] would lose its sex appeal sans its biggest star," but season two "has far more dynamic tricks up its sleeve", The Independent's reviewer wrote.

The Guardian said it was "less fun".

Digital Spy said: "There are significantly fewer intimate scenes compared to the first [season]."

The first series was hugely successful, focusing on the love story of Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Page). It was watched by 82 million households in the first month of release.

Series two is all about the relationship between Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and heiress Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).

"These characters make a more dynamic pair to watch on screen," said The Independent's Nicole Vassell. "Fans can rest assured that the chemistry in Bridgerton is far from lost. With the show making us wait through season two for the pinnacle of passion, the reward is all the greater."

Image source, NETFLIX
Image caption,
The new season arrived on Netflix on Friday

However, the Guardian's Jack Seale wrote: "Without Regé-Jean Page, it's no longer a heady, horny and impetuous watch.

"We're left short of equivalents to the celebrated season-one sex scenes, which, apart from being unusually explicit for the genre and notably focused on the female experience, felt like an integral part of the plot, not merely glace figs atop a grand confection."

But he concluded that the show is still in "fine health and ready for what will doubtless be many more seasons".

He added: "Next time, though, it might need to work harder to feel new."

The Telegraph's Anita Singh asked: "Why have they dialled down the sex?

"The first series of Bridgerton launched at a point when we had lost our collective mind. Over that gloomy Covid Christmas of 2020, we fell on this period romp with weeping relief.

"After almost a year trapped in the house with only ourselves for company, of course we went Bridgerton-mad. Heaving bosoms! Naked bottoms! Grand balls soundtracked by Taylor Swift songs!"

She went on: "Now that we're all a bit less delirious, we can judge the arrival of series two on its dramatic merits. And it is still silly fun, though the novelty has worn off."

Image caption,
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor played Daphne and Simon in series one

Carol Midgley in The Times said: "Perhaps having hooked in its audience with this light filth, Bridgerton is now asking, dare I say it, to be taken more seriously.

"I'd say it's all the better for the dial-down as the script does seem a bit weightier," she added.

Vulture's Jen Chaney said the new series is a "much slower burn", concluding: "Yes, it's true that there's less sex in season two, but the real scandal - Lady Whistledown herself would certainly confirm this - is that there's less excitement.

"Bridgerton is ultimately not as fully, effectively transportive this go-round."

But the Wall Street Journal's John Anderson said it "remains refreshingly humorous and self-aware", while Inoo Kang from the Washington Post added it may be "less steamy" but "it's also more relatable".

Metro's Sabina Barr decided that season two "takes a few episodes to really come into its own and break away from unmistakeable parallels to the first", but the "payoff will certainly satisfy fans of the books and TV show alike, with enormously emotional moments that pull at the heartstrings and a fiery show of desire".

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