Midway through Bridgerton season two, I had a quick thought.
'Remember when everyone panicked that Regé-Jean Page's departure would ruin the show?'
We needn't have worried.
Bridgerton, Netflix and Shonda Rhimes' horny Regency-era drama, has finally returned, having pushed the entire world against a wall (or a staircase - IYKYK) following its Christmas Day 2020 premiere. It was Netflix's biggest ever series until Squid Game leapfrogged it in September last year.
Watch: Bridgerton season two teaser trailer. Post continues below video.
Bridgerton's phenomenon was the result of a perfect storm. It premiered into a touch-starved world, where we'd spent the year holed up in our homes and negativity consumed our media.
Adjoa Andoh, who stars as the self-assured Lady Danbury, best described it in an interview with Mamamia ahead of the second season's release:
"We brought in a new conversation that was lighter and more joyful, and gave people a space to breathe out and be transported somewhere away from their uncertainty and their concerns and their worries," she reflected.
"The sense I really got was, the show was doing something I would say sort of mental health, joy-giving, at the time when everything was pretty heavy for lots of people globally. So that was the kind of fantastic feeling. When we came back to season two, there was the sense of the privilege of having been in a show that could do that."
Many of those pandemic-specific aspects are less pronounced now, but the much-anticipated second instalment shows Bridgerton can stand up on its own.
While season one told the story of Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon, Duke of Hastings (Page), they are moved aside for this season. While centred on one family, Bridgerton is a loose anthology: like Julia Quinn's book series, each instalment will follow a different sibling's love journey.