People love drama, and both Netflix and Amazon have dipped their toes in the historical drama scene with shows like Bridgerton and films like I'm Your Woman. Despite the years between their respective settings, they have some serious common ground for how much the two offerings differ.
Set in Regency-era London during ‘The Season,' where eligible young women are dolled up, properly perfumed, and paraded out into society, Bridgerton gives viewers their first taste of London society. In season one Phoebe Dynevor plays Daphne Bridgerton, the oldest daughter of Viscount Edmund Bridgerton and Viscountess Violet Ledger. After Edmunds' untimely demise, Daphne's older brother, Anthony, becomes Viscount and the official head of the Bridgerton family.
Daphne concocts a plan with Duke Simon Bassett to keep him from mothers who want to marry their daughters off and Daphne from an unpreferred suitor. They find an amicable detour from society's dictations by pretending to court one another. They didn't expect the real feelings that would develop as they spent time together.
Season 1 of Bridgerton blasted Netflix into orbit and has quickly become a cultural favorite for its intense look at the intimacies of the London Ton and the ‘coming-of-age' tale. This massive success has been renewed for seasons 3 and 4, giving producer Shonda Rhymes plenty of work to do. Each consecutive season of this smash hit for Shondaland sees each of Daphne's siblings make a match and break a few hearts along the way.
I'm Your Woman Features Commonground With Bridgerton
Bridgerton demanded to be noticed and became an overnight sensation in pop culture on the popular streaming site Netflix. In contrast, I'm Your Woman had a quiet slot for Amazon as an original release.
- Bridgerton is a series.
- It's set in London during the social season when parliament is back in session, and intricate balls and soirees are all anyone talks about.
- It follows siblings in a well-known family of nobility.
- It was the number 1 show on Netflix's Top Ten and was Netflix's most-watched series ever in 2021.
- I'm Your Woman is a movie.
- It is set in the 1970s and was filmed in Pennsylvania, mainly in Pittsburgh.
- The movie focuses on one young woman's “coming-of-age” life.
It's easy to dismiss similarities between a noblewoman in 19th century England and a Mafia wife from the 1970s; some character qualities make the leading ladies quite the same. Looking deeper, Daphne Bridgerton and Jean are young, naive, and impossibly caught up in realities beyond their everyday lives. They significantly involve the men their lives revolve around.
While Daphne is hopelessly lost in the inner workings of pairings years in the making, Jean is at the mercy of her husband's associate, Eddie. Switch the two women around, and their stories would be the same.
Bechdel and The Importance of Feminism
While both Bridgerton and I'm Your Woman have moments of female empowerment, it's clear that neither of them passes the Bechdel test.
The Bechdel test is a way to evaluate whether a film or series breaks with gender stereotyping or sexism. To pass this test, three key markers must be met.
- Two women must be featured
- They must talk
- Their conversation must be about something other than a man
These features have two women in conversation, but their conversations do not revolve around anything beyond a man. Even though Jean's husband only has a few moments on screen, her character's whole life revolves around finding him and trying to protect herself and her baby.
Daphne's whole world rotates around finding a proper society husband and marrying as soon as possible. Still, she can't shake free from the expectations of family and society to think of anything other than Simon Bassett and how her life culminates around her perpetual and impending marriage.
Even though these shows can't pass the Bechdel test, their audiences still tune in. Netflix has renewed Bridgerton through Season 4 because their audience shows up week after week. Meanwhile, I'm Your Woman made the top 15 list of Amazon crime movies of 2020.
While Bridgerton and I'm Your Woman might be on entirely different levels regarding plot and character development. Still, when it comes to engagement, both perform well.
Fans quickly offered accolades to I'm Your Woman for its writing and performance. One viewer claimed, “a crime drama from the perspective of the leftovers, the detritus of the criminals. Rachael's character is developed expertly both by the writers and the performance in this role. A true pleasure to watch, and I am richer for it.”
Another said, “It's like a crime western, beautifully made, incredible acting, fantastic period detail and ambiance. The script is understated with tones of Pulp Fiction but without the bravado. Maybe not a masterpiece, but a truly entertaining and well-crafted piece of cinema.”
Period Dramas Become a Thing
Whether you like crime dramas set in the 1970s or Regency-era love affairs, Bridgerton and I'm Your Woman have piqued the interest in period dramas for those who've taken a chance on these bygone eras.
With Netflix, watchers can binge on shows to their heart's content. But once they ran out of Bridgerton episodes to digest, they started shifting their conversation to what other period dramas they should be watching. And research shows that for Netflix, Bridgerton was a boon of sorts, bringing in new users – 33% of the audience – and activating stagnate users, both of which were great for the streaming service.
As streaming services vie for new, modern content, it's clear that knowing what their audiences want to consume in entertainment can clearly pay off. It also seems as if period dramas are here to stay. With the significant success of both Bridgerton and I'm Your Woman, there's no end to what viewers want to see next.
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