‘Bringing the sex BACK to Bridgerton’: Critics go wild over steamy period drama spin-off Queen Charlotte – as they say the Netflix prequel is ‘better than original two series combined’
- The reviews are in for the prequel of Netflix’s steamy hit UK series Bridgerton
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The much-anticipated prequel to Bridgerton is to be released later this week – and according to critics, it’s a whole lot steamier than it’s original counterpart.
Queen Charlotte, the spin-off to Netflix’s immensely popular bodice ripper, will be available on the streaming platform on May 3 and is thought to be even steamier than the headline-making original show.
The shows is set decades before the events of Bridgerton and follows the formidable Queen Charlotte, played by India Amarteifio, as she experiences her first throws of passion in Regency Britain.
Early reviews of the show seem to indicate that Queen Charlotte could prove as popular – if not more – than its sibling show, with Digital Spy branding it ‘its own standalone triumph,’ and The Evening Standard dubbing it a ‘bodice-ripping, sparkling fairytale.’
Much like Bridgerton’s first series, which had raised eyebrows with its infamous ‘episode sex,’ where Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor shot ten sex scenes, Queen Charlotte is peppered with sexy moments.
Queen Charlotte, the spin-off to Netflix’s immensely popular bodice ripper, which will be available on the streaming platform on May 3, is thought to be even steamier than the headline-making original show (pictured)
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton story is split into two timelines. Oone set in the past, where Queen Charlotte is a young newlywed, pictured, and one in the present
However, some critics felt that the show has put too much focus on the sex, above anything else, with the I commenting: ‘The sex is back – but the romance is dead.’
Others noted that Queen Charlotte and King George III clearly had an active sex life, as the two had 15 children together.
Meanwhile, many applauded the show for depicting the complicated relationship between the two monarchs.
Here FEMAIL looks at what the critics said of the show.
The Evening Standard
The Evening Standard noted how the spin-off show follows Bridgerton’s trusted formula of two attractive lovers getting in varied state of undress throughout the season.
Vicky Jessop wrote how the steamy scenes even surpassed the original show’s first series in sexiness.
‘Bonking begins, and it makes the last season of Bridgerton seem pretty PG in comparison,’ her review reads.
‘Our heroes have sex in baths, beds, and on one rather memorable occasion, during dinner, prompting the stone-faced footmen to file out professionally while they get down to business,’ she added.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton story is split into two timelines: one set in the past, where Queen Charlotte is a young newlywed, and one in the present, where she is the imposing monarch fans of the show have come to know and love.
Jessop notes that the past timeline, which explores Charlotte’s early day as the Queen, is vastly more interesting than the present day plot, where she tries to marry off her offspring.
She also praised India Amarteifio in her role as a fish-out-of-water trying to make her way into the cut-throat British royal court.
INews was also taken with the numerous sex-scene in the spin-off, noting it was a stark contrast with Bridgerton’s second series, which was much tamer than is predecessor.
‘If you found the second series of Bridgerton lacking in the bedroom department, you will be delighted to know that in the new prequel, Queen Charlotte, sex is back,’ Francesca Steele wrote.
‘The intimate acrobatics of Queen Charlotte and her new husband King George III are given top billing,’ she added.
However, this critic noted how the show’s emphasis on sex came to the detriment of the romance between Queen Charlotte and King George.
Steele decried Mylchreest performance, calling him ‘disappointingly insipid.’ She despaired over the lack of chemistry between the two main characters and said the spin-off feels compared to the original Bridgerton.
In a very enthusiastic review, The Express dared that Queen Charlotte might be even better than the show it is a spin-off of.
‘Prepare to be taken on a regal, romantic journey tinged with tragedy in the latest instalment of Shondaland’s costume drama,’ their review read.
Reviewer Neela Debnath particularly delighted over the romance between King George III and Queen Charlotte.
‘Their love story is a joy to watch with the copious sex scenes understandable – the real-life couple had 15 children with 13 of those making it to adulthood, so Queen Charlotte and King George had a physical relationship to say the least,’ she wrote.
While she was sold by the acting game of the young cast, Debnath also rejoiced in the moments featuring Bridgerton veterans Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh, who plays an older Lady Danbury, and Ruth Gemmell, who plays Violet Bridgerton.
She especially liked that these three mature women could be seen talking about esx with relative frankness throughout the show.
She also applauded the show’s production value, for which no expenses were spared, calling the prequel ‘sumptuous.’
Like other reviews, Entertainment Weekly rated Queen Charlotte highly, calling Amarteifio ‘an absolute star.’
Review Kristen Baldwin wrote that the Bridgerton prequel ‘goes down as smooth as a fruity blancmange.’
According to Baldwin, the show escaped the traps of being Bridgerton Lite by introducing themes that go beyond just romance, sex and heartache.
She noted the show follows the bodice-ripper blueprint of having two attractive people getting it on, but also handles race issues in a way the original programme doesn’t.
In total, the reviewer gave the show a B+, noting that the show left plenty of story to tell, and suggesting Netflix could think about making a second series of Queen Charlotte.
Like other reviews, Metro talked much of the abundance of sex scenes in the show.
‘Disappointed by the lack of sex scenes in the second season [of Bridgerton], which took until episode seven to arrive? This show has you covered aplenty… again, and again, and again,’ reviewer Sabrina Barr wrote.
‘Charlotte goes from being utterly clueless in the art of bedroom activities to becoming a bona fide expert with her beau, turning the royal couple’s pressurised duty to conceive an heir into a raunchy love affair,’ she went on, adding that the prequel gave Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor’s own season a run for its money.
However, she noted that the new show is not only about sexy romps, and praised its emotional plot for being more interesting than expected.
Barr wrote that showrunner Shonda Rhimes has listened to the criticism that the two first series of Bridgerton had gathered when it comes to the show’s depiction of race.
The Digital Spy
Writing for Digital Spy, Laura Jane Turner said he show was as successful as its predecessor.
While other reviews find the chemistry between India and Corey lacking, Turner couldn’t get enough of the young actor’s romantic storyline.
They also called Arsema Thomas the ‘standout’ character of the season, and applauded the fact that Ruth Gemmell is given her own storyline without the children in this prequel, as she discusses romantic matters with Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte.
Turner said that the new show elevates the Bridgerton franchise as a whole by diving into the intricacies of race and is made ‘better for acknowledging real-world lived experiences.’
However, the critics also noted that the show ‘loses steam’ halfway through the series in spite of its solid storylines.
The Telegraph were also a big fan of the Queen Charlotte spin-off, with reviewer Anita Singh saying the ’emotional’ show’s finale left her on the verge of tears.
Singh dubbed the romance between ‘winning’ Charlotte and ‘swoon-worthy’ George ‘adorable. ‘
‘Grown women will lap this up, as they did with the first two series of Bridgerton and the Julia Quinn books on which the series is based, but really this show is perfect for 14-year-olds,’ Singh wrote.
Singh also liked that the show didn’t go too hard on racial issues and applauded Queen Charlotte for keeping a light touch throughout its run.
Overall, she was won over by the show’s ‘frivolous fun’ and was pleasantly surprised with how emotional a watch it turned out to be.
The Daily Beast was more critical in its review of the show, saying it’s steamy scenes played to its disadvantage.
‘If last season felt like it was less about the sex and more about the romance, this new spinoff swings the pendulum in the complete opposite direction—the bedroom romps are prioritized far more than the actual story at hand,’ Fletcher Peters wrote in their review.
They noted that the new series gave viewers a chance to see what life in the Regency era ton would have been really like – through Queen Charlotte’s arranged marriage and Lady Danbury’s older husband.
However the review went on to say that the show struggled to fit the usual Bridgerton romantic tropes into six episodes instead of 10.
The fact that the love story was rushed and takes two episodes for romance to blossom ‘deprives you of the chance to fully fall in love with these two characters,’ Peters added.
The review went on to decry the show’s attempts at tackling political issues, namely women’s rights and race relations.
Adopting the tone of Lady Whistledown, the narrator of Bridgerton’s main show, Kathryn VanArendonk called Queen Charlotte a ‘diamond’ in her review for Vulture.
She revealed that she believed the spin-off was a successful prequel and a better programme than the first two series combined.
She differentiated the Queen Charlotte show from the first and second series of Bridgerton, which she said ‘[lacked] substance and [were]devoted to faddish frivolities, those seasons swept onto the shore of high style and then washed out to sea again with nary a lasting impression left behind as a memento.’
VanArendonk, who clearly is not a fan of Bridgerton, praised the new show for its handling of a character with mental illness, which she said is ‘poignant to the point of real distress.’
She added that the show also includes the steamy romps fans have come to expect from Bridgerton, and holds some ‘established fustian buffoonery,’ from the show’s two previous installments.
She noted the cast of the spin-off was ‘charming,’ and hinted that the show explores some same-sex relationships in a way the Bridgerton franchise has not done yet.
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