Popular series Bridgerton, penned by the fabulous Julia Quinn, has spawned a slew of similar ideas for those hoping to tap into its success. Recently, NBC released a trailer for their forthcoming show The Courtship. Will appeal to fans of Bridgerton? Vice doesn’t think so.
Recently, Vice published a piece about the trailer for the new NBC show calling it “absolutely batshit.”
The trailer looks like The Bachelorette meets Bridgerton complete with a narrator with a British accent. The participants all appear in 19th-century garb in a dating show that’s “a journey where swiping is out — and courting is in.” The narrator asks, “Can the old ways of courtship lead to new romance?”
The premise is sixteen suitors vying for the hand of Nicole Remy, a software engineer who was once an NFL cheerleader. They all seem to be pretending it’s 19th-century England with all the trappings that go with it.
Will true romance fans enjoy the show?
Romance fans want the fantasy. The witty banter, the chemistry, and that all-important promise of a happily-ever-after. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But, as Vice pointed out, women didn’t have the same freedoms in 19th century England that they do today. Women of the time didn’t get the right to vote until the 20th century. When you stop to consider what they refer to as “old ways,” you realize that even women of means had very few rights. Marriages were arranged, usually, as business transactions to consolidate wealth or to protect a family lineage.
The Vice further explains that the new NBC series seems to be using the Regency-era setting from 1811 to 1820 when King George III was too ill to serve and his son, George IV, served in his place as regent. While direct influences aren’t named yet, it says that the show will return us to a time of “honor, pageantry, and scandal.” We’re guessing that they mean the opulent romance novel version of this based on the trailer.
Will romance fans enjoy this though?
Were things really better back then?
As the Vice notes, there’s a difference between wanting to escape into a favorite romance novel and actually living it. Many romance novels show people finding love in a time that wasn’t entirely fair to everyone and in a way they couldn’t escape. A happy ending for a woman here is normally a happy marriage and family because that’s really all she could do. Top writers at least point out the inequities.
The show’s trailer showed us a dedication to diversity with the cast and that’s promising. It may even be helpful in promoting inclusivity in the romance genre. It’s also promising that a woman is the center character. There looks to be a lot of seriously handsome men for her to consider and that’s bound to appeal to a large audience.
An interesting twist here is that the suitors must also gain the approval of Remy’s advisors along with hers. What makes this interesting, as Vice points out, is that normally one doesn’t meet the family until a relationship is established and heading toward some sort of commitment.
The “ton” is also referenced. A group of the wealthy elite always watching and analyzing the actions and words of another. If the ton approved of you, everything would be fine. If they spurned you, it could be your social doom. How much that plays into the show’s narrative remains to be seen. Seems the ton is still around today. It’s just called social media.
It’s an interesting experiment in reality TV to be sure. We’ll find out more when the show debuts on NBC March 6th.