• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Book vs. Film: Bridgerton

ByRhona Bowie

Nov 18, 2022

Book vs Film? – An age-old question and one that typically generates hours of debate. It’s not an easy task to pay homage to the characters and story told in a book, and turn it into a film or TV show. Especially since fans are so protective of the books they love and the versions of the characters they have imagined. That being said, it is rare that you hear a movie is better than the book. However, I’m of the opinion that the TV series Bridgerton is better than the book series.

Season one of Bridgerton came out in December 2020 and became an immediate hit, with Forbes saying that viewers watched 625 million hours of the show within the first 28 days. Season two proved that this wasn’t a fluke as viewers watched 193 million hours of the show. With so many people watching the series, many sought to fill the hole between seasons coming out by reading the books. I was no different. However, I was surprised at the differences between the two and how much more I enjoyed the TV show compared to the books, something that rarely happens. Upon reflection, there are a couple of reasons why.

Each series follows a Bridgerton sibling, just as each book does. While the show follows the same rough guidelines as the books, there are many stark differences. The first is the characters themselves. Although in the books all of the Bridgerton siblings are white and stay that way in the show, the love interest so far has been people of colour. Not only that, but the directors have made sure to celebrate different cultures (such as the Indian Sharma sisters in season two) by paying close attention to their unique family practices.

Typically directors and shows receive a lot of complaints when straying from the plot of the book or the descriptions of the characters, however, Bridgerton received a lot of praise for doing so. Although some fans have said it would be even better if the race difference were acknowledged between the characters, it has been widely positively received. Many viewers spoke about how heavily this influenced their enjoyment of the show, making them feel seen. This is one of the biggest reasons I feel the show is better than the books. It is incredibly important for people to feel represented in the media, and this is something that the books failed to do for many people, contributing to the appraisal of the show.

Another key reason why the show is arguably better than the books is due to an expansion of character depth. In the book series, there is only one book about each sibling, in which readers discover the love story and nothing more. The show delves deeper into each sibling and each love interest, providing a consort of additional side characters for the viewer to follow. Although many use books as an escape from reality and there is never any harm in enjoying some light, romantic reading, the show (although obviously romanticised to a large extent) is a better reflection of how real-life people are. In this way, it is far easier to become attached to the characters in the show than in the books, a tell-tale sign of good writing.

The author, Julia Quinn, says herself that “A word-for-word adaptation of my books would not make a great TV series.” If her books were followed directly there would be many loved side characters missing, less depth to the character’s development and leave many viewers feeling misrepresented or left out entirely.

Image “Nicola Coughlan in a video for Vogue Taiwan in April 2021” by Vogue Taiwan is lisenced under CC-BY-3.0