Downton Abbey is so 2015. Bridgerton is the new period drama in town, and Netflix now says the show has become its "biggest series ever." The drama—based on the historical romance novels of author Julia Quinn, and which the BBC describes as being a "Regency-era Gossip Girl"—depicts the life of the high-society Bridgerton family in early 19th-century London. The show, created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes, has ascended to No. 1 in nearly seven dozen countries, and Netflix says 82 million households worldwide have escaped from the pandemic by tuning in during the month since the show's debut on Christmas Day. Before Bridgerton, The Witcher had held the streaming platform's 28-day record, with 76 million viewers.
The show—starring Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton, and Rege-Jean Page as Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings—is "designed to be more lavish, sexier, and funnier than the standard period drama, and that's what so surprised and delighted our members," Netflix exec Jinny Howe says in a statement, per CNN Business. The New York Post reports that what makes the show most notable is its attention to its women characters, as well as its diverse casting. Perhaps the real underlying appeal of Bridgerton? "[It] really provides an incredible escape for audiences at a time where that's exactly what’s needed," Van Dusen says, per the Post. If you've already plowed through all the episodes, some good news: The show has been renewed for a second season. Check out the show's trailer here. (Read more Netflix stories.)