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Name a more interesting hook for a TV series than "a very feminist, very steamy take on the strict social mores of early 19th century London, all narrated by an unseen gossip hound voiced by Julie Andrews"—I dare you. That's Bridgerton, Shonda Rhimes' first project under her massive Netflix deal, season one of which dropped Dec. 25, 2020 and basically combined all the best parts of Pride & Prejudice and Gossip Girl. It quickly became Netflix's biggest hit ever, with 82 million households watching the show in its first month. For context, that's not far off the Super Bowl (around 100 million households per year).
Some people—certainly not me, but surely someone with less obsessive tendencies and more varied taste in TV (opens in new tab)—might think that eight and a half hours of longing glances, illicit affairs, empire-waist dresses, and queenly proclamations would be more than enough to satisfy any lover of period dramas. To those people, I say: I've got a Regency-era-dramedy-induced fever, and the only prescription is more Bridgerton. Fortunately for us all, a second season of the Shondaland masterpiece came out in March of 2022, with seasons three and four already confirmed and being planned out by the geniuses over at Shondaland—in addition to a Queen Charlotte limited prequel series. (opens in new tab)
Has Bridgerton been renewed for a second season?
Yes! On January 21, 2021, Netflix announced that it had renewed Bridgerton for a second season. The show was also renewed for seasons 3 and 4, though neither have begun filming yet. (Rhimes has said that she plans for at least eight seasons, telling Variety: "There are eight Bridgerton siblings, and as far as I’m concerned, there are eight Bridgerton seasons. And maybe more.”)
In November, the show announced that it had finished filming for the second season, with a note from "Lady Whistledown"—a.k.a. Nicola Coughlan. "I can’t wait to share this season of Bridgerton with you, it’s been a complete joy. I’m so proud and so excited for you all to see it. See you in 2022/1814. Yours Truly, Lady Whistledown," wrote (opens in new tab) Coughlan on Twitter.
The season two episode titles are as follows:
- Capital R Rake
- Off To The Races
- A Bee in Your Bonnet
- An Unthinkable Fate
- The Choice
- The Viscount Who Loved Me
When did Bridgerton season two come out?
The second season of Bridgerton dropped on March 25, 2022. While fans were hoping for a Christmas 2021 date—a year after the release of season one—Netflix revealed in September 2021 that the second season wouldn't come out until 2022. On Christmas Day 2021, the cast of Bridgerton season 2 got together to share the official premiere date.
What is Bridgerton season two about?
Fortunately for the masterminds at Shondaland and viewers at home, there's plenty more intel about the Bridgerton family to be mined from Julia Quinn's series of romance novels on which the show is based. At the core of the book series are eight novels, each focusing on one of the Bridgerton offspring—who, by the way, were very helpfully named in alphabetical order, from A to H.
The first season loosely followed the events of the first book in Quinn's series, The Duke & I, which centers on the eldest Bridgerton daughter Daphne's entrance into society and search for a husband who offers both passion and high status; she does so by way of a scheme involving a fake betrothal that quickly becomes all too real. The second season will take its inspiration from the second book, The Viscount Who Loved Me. That story follows the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, on his own quest for love. The classic rom-com trope this time around sees Anthony's fiancée's disapproving and very protective older sister reluctantly warming up to the "consummate rake"—perhaps a little too much so.
Said (opens in new tab) creator Chris Van Dusen to USA Today: "The main narrative arc of this season is this question of head versus heart, or duty versus love, and which one wins."
“We’re very much passing on the baton to the lovely [Jonathan Bailey], who plays Anthony, and that will be the main story line of season 2 and the story arc of season 2,” said Phoebe (opens in new tab) Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton.
Explained showrunner Van Dusen in an interview (opens in new tab) with Variety: “We pick up Anthony after we’ve seen what he’s been through with his mistress. He’s thinking, ‘Was that love?’ Some would call it that, others would not. We’re exploring those concepts of duty and honor once again."
Bailey, for his part, told GQ that season two will address Anthony's fear of taking on the "patriarchal position.” He added that he gave thought to "what it means to be a rake, and how [Anthony's] anxiety and self-hatred plays into that."
And Netflix has released plenty of first-look photos:
What about Anthony Bridgerton's love interest?
Netflix revealed that Simone Ashley will be joining the Bridgerton cast as Kate Sharma. "Get ready to fall in love with Simone Ashley..." the Netflix announcement reads. "Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools—Anthony Bridgerton very much included." (Fans of the book series will remember the character as "Kate Sheffield.") Ashley is known best (opens in new tab) for her part as Olivia in Netflix's Sex Education.
The official description of Julia Quinn's The Viscount Who Loved Me introduces Kate as "the most meddlesome woman to ever grace a London ballroom" and as a "spirited schemer." Speaking to TV Line, executive producer Van Dusen said of Anthony and Kate: "This romance will be just as sweeping and beautiful as viewers have come to expect...They’re very passionate!”
Ashley, for her part, told USA Today of her character and Anthony: "She communicates with him on a level that I don't think he's ever had before. They both mirror each other in that way. They both hold a lot of duty and responsibility. And maybe no one's really asked what it is that they really want, until they met each other."
Is there a trailer for Bridgerton season 2?
Yes! The first full teaser for season 2 was released, fittingly, on Valentine's Day, captioned with the words, "Love never plays by the rules." In the minute-long clip, the ton receives a dispatch from Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews), a.k.a. Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), who cheekily narrates that she's been "honing my skills — no, even better: I’ve been sharpening my knives." The brief footage also shows glimpse of everything we've grown to love and expect from Bridgerton: Sidelong glances! Sword fights! Balls! Courtship! Drama! Anthony bathing! A shocked Daphne!
Love never plays by the rules. Bridgerton Season 2 premieres March 25 pic.twitter.com/t6mexCFwJoFebruary 14, 2022
Then, on March 9, Netflix released a full-length trailer.
In the trailer, Anthony is heard saying, "It is only out of the greatest love of my family that I am to choose a wife with head and not [heart]," and shown courting two sisters: Edwina and Kate Sharma. Meanwhile, Lady Whistledown asks: ""What happens when duty is in conflict with the heart's true desire?"
Earlier this year, Netflix also released first-look footage, in which a sideburn-less Anthony Bridgerton gets taken down a few notches by Kate Sharma, who overhears the viscount detailing his "many requirements for a wife, loud enough for the entire party to hear."
Kate can clearly hold her own against Anthony, snapping at him: "I find your opinion of yourself entirely too high. Your character is as deficient as your horsemanship." It's unclear how Anthony will manage to woo the new talk of the ton, but one thing is for sure: their chemistry puts even Daphne and Simon to shame.
Days before the season's release, Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and Uzo Aduba—host of the Netflix Book Club—released a video for Netflix titled: "What to Expect in Bridgerton Season 2." The clip included sneak peeks, fan reactions, and a conversation between Quinn and Aduba about the much-anticipated second season:
Is Daphne still in 'Bridgerton'?
Though they got a happy ending at the end of season one, it was confirmed in April 2021 that Regé-Jean Page would not be returning as Simon Bassett.
Phoebe Dynevor will be returning as Daphne, however—at least for one more season. Of Simon, she told The Wrap: (opens in new tab) “I think he’ll definitely be referred to a lot. I think we’ll see the baby. And we’ll just focus more on her relationship with the Bridgerton family...She’s a grown woman now so she can call more shots and be more in control."
Rhimes told Variety: "Rightfully, [Bassett] said, ‘I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline'...And I don’t blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection.”
What new characters have joined the cast for season two?
In addition to Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, the Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) announced on April 5, 2021 that four new characters have been cast in Bridgerton season two. Charithra Chandran (Alex Rider) will play Edwina Sharma, Kate's younger sister who's a debutante looking for a true love match. Shelley Conn (Liar) will play Kate and Edwina's mother, Lady Mary Sharma. Calam Lynch (Benediction) will play Theo Sharpe, a hardworking printer's assistant, and Rupert Young (Dear Evan Hansen) plays Jack, a new character who isn't from the books who has a connection to one of Bridgerton's most notable families.
Rupert Evans, who you'll remember from Charmed, has been cast as Edmund, the late Bridgerton patriarch and father of the siblings. He'll likely be featured in Anthony's flashbacks, since Edmund's death had a profound effect on Anthony. The first season ended with a shot of a bee, which is a callback to how Edmund died (an allergic reaction to a bee sting) and an indication that Edmund will feature heavily in the Anthony-centric season two.
Also, there's a corgi called Newton who will play a large role, if the books are any indication. Here he is:
What do the reviews say?
Almost every review of season 2 of Bridgerton notes one thing: There's less sex. "Sex scenes are few and far between, and even the hot-and-heavy interludes feel somehow… chaste," writes The Daily Beast's Laura Bradley, concluding: "Once a euphoric romp, the series now has the energy of someone who couldn’t bring themselves to say “cocksure” aloud in a writing circle."
Meanwhile, Vulture's Jen Chaney concludes: "Despite its positives, Bridgerton is ultimately not as fully, effectively transportive this go-round. Even though both seasons rely heavily on the tropes of romantic storytelling, this one makes it easier to spot those tropes and become distracted by their presence."
"The best part of Season 2 is when the writers spend time on a different kind of love story: the friendship between Penelope and Eloise," notes (opens in new tab) Kelly Lawler of USA Today. Her takeaway: "Bridgerton" has a strong sophomore season that should keep its fans happy, even if they might wonder where all the sex scenes went."
The Guardian's Jack Seale wrote: "It’s still sweeter and fizzier than rival period dramas, but without Regé-Jean Page, it’s no longer a heady, horny and impetuous watch." CNN's Brian Lowry called the first season "somewhat overrated" and said of the second: "The series remains frothy and watchable, if perhaps a bit less Lady Whistledown-worthy in this latest iteration."
Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. She graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2017 and has also written for W, Brides, Glamour, Women's Health, People and more.
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