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Regency-era entertainment remains timeless

By Keirah Chen, Raymond Dai and Nam Nguyen Mar. 17, 2021

Evelyn Liu Art


Over the past few years, Regency-era media content has become increasingly popular due to its unique fashion styles and dramatic plots, gaining even more popularity during the pandemic. Amassing over 82 million viewers in its first month of release, Netflix’s newest Regency-era TV show, “Bridgerton,” topped the streaming service’s most watched original series list, surpassing other hits like “Stranger Things” and “The Witcher.”

Set between the late 18th and mid-19th centuries, Regency-era television and film have become staples in entertainment. The genre often explores themes of romance and class divisions through mostly fictionalized narratives, drawing attention to the time period’s differences in demeanor and conduct, from formal greetings to typical gender roles. With elaborate costumes and set designs, these dramas are often high budget and involve complex cinematography aiming to immerse audiences in the past.

Despite these shows and movies’ release years ago, they remain an enduring part of pop culture, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“Bridgerton” is not the first Regency-era piece that has captured the public’s attention. Similar shows like “Downton Abbey” reached a peak viewership of 9.6 million by the end of 2015 and garnered numerous accolades, including several Emmy Awards, while films like 2005’s “Pride and Prejudice” earned over $120 million at the box office. Despite these shows and movies’ release years ago, they remain an enduring part of pop culture, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The Regency romance “Bridgerton” offers audiences various attributes found in other popular period pieces: ornate accessories and wigs, expansive sets that encompass several London estates and a typical romantic storyline between the main protagonist, Daphne Bridgerton, and her love interest, Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings. Like many period pieces, the TV show provides escapism for audiences, transporting viewers into fantasy lands for one-hour episodes before they are returned to reality.

“With any show, there is a sense of imagination that allows you to indulge in a different reality. I enjoy movies such asPride and Prejudice” and “Little Women” because they depict a lifestyle of extravagance we do not usually see in our everyday lives. Those films and shows tend to romanticize life in the olden days by usually taking out the racism and misogyny that took place in history so it seems almost idealistic and simplistic,” Senior Jianna Wong said.

While most of the customs and traditions from the Regency period may seem outdated, its emblematic aesthetic serves as both a refuge from and an inspiration for modern trends.

However, Netflix’s new hit series also offers a modern take on this familiar genre. “Bridgerton’s” primary plot line features a biracial couple and several Black characters, including the queen, a rarity in historical pieces as the show takes a mostly colorblind approach to its plot that nods towards the racial diversity of today. In addition, the inclusion of music from contemporary pop artists, like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, and the modernized costumes, accentuating brighter colors and less historically accurate patterns, offer a different experience than more traditional period pieces.

Social media has also embraced the genre, with the show featured on TikTok trends like “cottagecore” and “royalcore,” which are internet fashion aesthetics that romanticize a vintage or regal lifestyle, according to Motherly. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the period drama has also sparked demand for Regency-style jewelry, fashion and even furniture, with antique online marketplace 1stDibs seeing a surge in sales.

While most of the customs and traditions from the Regency period may seem outdated, its emblematic aesthetic serves as both a refuge from and an inspiration for modern trends. Just like the centuries-old stories they tell, these forms of historical media continue to endure and entertain.

 

About the Contributors

Keirah Chen

Staff Writer


Keirah Chen is a sophomore at Leland high school and is a staff writer. She likes going places with friends and watching horror movies.










Raymond Dai

Staff Writer


Raymond Dai is a sophomore at Leland High School and a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. He likes to play video games, play badminton and go out biking in his free time.








Nam Nguyen

Feature World Editor


Nam Nguyen is a senior and is the editor for Feature World. He is a fervent plant enthusiast and enjoys watching indie movies in his free time because he thinks he's too cool for blockbuster films.

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