Bridgerton beats its previous record to become most-watched English language series

Spoilers for Bridgerton season 2
This is good news for the ton. Bridgerton season 2 premiered at the end of March after a 1.25 year wait from the wildly popular first season. And season two has just beaten itself — season 1 — to become the most-streamed English-language show on Netflix in its first 28 days. Even if it weren’t already renewed, it would definitely be renewed! I was a bit worried that season two wouldn’t be as popular without the return of Rege Jean-Page. I thought a lot of parched people gave the show a try because of him, which could still be true, but the viewers came back for the second season in full force! Start for Rege Jean-Page’s beautiful face in season 1 and stay for the acting in season two.

“Bridgerton” Season 2 just settled its supremacy battle with “Bridgerton” Season 1. After shattering viewership milestones in early April to become Netflix’s most-watched English-language show in its first full week, “Bridgerton” Season 2, in its first 28 days, has now become the streaming giant’s most-watched English-language show – straight up.

With 627.11 million hours viewed, the new season of the soapy period series bested the previous version of itself; “Bridgerton” Season 1 now ranks in second place for that same achievement at 625.49 million hours viewed over its first full four weeks. The 28-day mark, which counts four full weeks of availability, is Netflix’s primary metric to determine the success or failure of a show.

Remember that this claim is just for an English-language series, as South Korean-favorite “Squid Game” still holds the overall championship record at 1.65 billion hours viewed in its first 28 days. On the English-language front, “Stranger Things” Season 3 is close (enough) behind “Bridgerton” at 582.10 million hours streamed in its first 28 days. That show is returning in just over a month, on May 27, after nearly three years of the air. Before (the likely) “Bridgerton” Season 3, “Stranger Things 4” is coming for the crown.

This week, Season 2 of “Bridgerton” clocked 66.61 million hours viewed and appeared in Netflix’s top 10 in 88 countries. The series, produced by Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland and created by Chris Van Dusen, made Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), the eldest sibling and head of the Bridgerton household, the star this time around, though in a less ribald season that, per some critics, seemed aimed more at the family-friendly set. That could help to explain its viewership numbers, not to mention more than a year of anticipation since Season 1 premiered on Christmas Day in 2020.

Also currently behind (and with some distance) “Bridgerton” Season 2 are the guilty-pleasure reality series “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” at #2, “Bridgerton” Season 1 at #3, followed by “Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story,” “Inventing Anna,” and “Better Call Saul” Season 5.

From IndieWire’s review: “‘Bridgerton’ Season 2 tries hard to please everyone, but ends up feeling watered down. Gone is the sexiness in favor of a more chaste series that almost everyone can watch together. Simone Ashley is a gem this season, but there’s never enough chemistry between her and Bailey to get a fire started.”

[From IndieWire via Yahoo! Entertainment]

There was so much angst over Rege Jean-Page’s departure that I am really glad this season was successful without him. I like him and I liked his character, but if the show shifts focus every season to go along with the books maybe it was better that he didn’t return. He could have pulled focus from the central couple with all the thirst for him and it might have been weird to see him sidelined as basically the best friend and brother-in-law. The show is called Bridgerton, I guess it makes sense that Anthony was confiding in Daphne and his brothers.

So one thing that occurred to me as I was watching season two was that horny viewers might tap out the longer it took for the action to happen. So again, glad I was wrong! I disagree with IndieWire’s review: there was certainly chemistry between Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey. They both have beautiful, expressive faces and they’re great actors. I thought they were perfectly cast for nuance and inner torment of season two. A lot of their acting lay in the facial expressions and eye contact and subtle ways in which they gravitated toward one another. My book reader friends told me the “I burn for you” line was supposed to be delivered from Anthony to Kate. I see why they used such an iconic line in the first season, but I wish they saved it for Anthony! The slow burn was believable and hot; it would have been perfect for this season. I only wish we got another episode with more action! Oh well, there’s always next season.

photos credit: Colin Hutton and Liam Daniel for Netflix via Netflix press

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21 Responses to “Bridgerton beats its previous record to become most-watched English language series”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    I mean…I like it more than season one, and changed my thumbs down Netflix rating to a tentative thumbs up! I’ve never done that before, lol.

    I also thought these guys had better chemistry and just felt the whole thing was hotter, maybe BECAUSE it wasn’t as explicit. I like innuendo, subtlety, word play, and THEN you could go full blown full sex. So, yeah, maybe the last three episodes should have had tons of doing it, as opposed to just the last two, but otherwise, this was the right kind of pacing for me.

  2. Becks1 says:

    I had issues with this season, but I definitely thought there was chemistry. My biggest issue was that I didn’t like how they ended the season with their marriage/love being declared, when in the book they get married about halfway through and THEN their relationship improves and they fall in love etc, so in the book we get so see more than just them bickering and sniping at each other all the time.

    I understand why they went for something different this time around, so that it wasn’t the same setup as season 1, but I still wish we had gotten a little more “hey we like each other and get along” before they were in happily ever after mode.

    I also thought there were too many subplots this season but honestly I thought that way about the first season. On rewatches I just skip the plots I don’t care about, lol.

    Anyway all that to say I can see why this got more views. First, you have the basic (large) Bridgerton fan base. And then there probably a good deal of people who liked the fact that there was less sex. Then, there was so much talk about whether this season was better or not or what people liked or didn’t like that I’m sure even those discussions increased interest.

    So, good for Bridgerton. It keeps proving that you can have a diverse cast in a romantic historic series and it will bring in the numbers.

    • C-Shell says:

      All of this, @Becks1. There has been some chatter that we’ll see some of the Anthony/Kate love story develop in Season 3 (as a subplot, I assume). Simone suggested it in the context of Kate growing into her role as the Viscountess. We’ll see. The myriad subplots got too much airtime, imo, but I could forgive that if they’d given the season another couple of episodes to let Anthony and Kate get more HEA-time. When the last episode played, I was stunned that it was over and had to watch it again to wrap my head around the fact that it was the finale! Anyway, the chemistry between Bailey and Ashley was off the charts, and I HOPE we see more of it in S3.

      • IShouldBeWorking says:

        If they make it all the way to Gregory’s story Kate is a big part in it. I would hope that means they keep exploring and developing Anthony and Kate’s relationship in the meantime!

    • Kate says:

      Agree – I can understand why they wanted to change the storyline a bit so that it wasn’t Season 1 all over again, but I wish they had found a way to do that without taking the love triangle aspect so far. Really hated that and was SO GLAD when that part was over.

      • IShouldBeWorking says:

        Agreed, Kate. I hated how it changed Edwina and Kate’s whole dynamic from their book relationship with the love triangle situation and how far they let it go.

  3. Ninks says:

    I preferred the slow burn to the all out bonkerton of season one.

    It’s amazing to see Netflix’s two biggest shows are Squid Games and Bridgerton. Squid Game is an entirely Korean production. Bridgerton is unapologetically catered to a female audience and has featured a Black man, a dark skinned Indian woman and an out gay man as the leads. For so long networks and studios have shied away from diverse stories and casting because they are too narrow minded to believe there’s an audience for it, yet two of the biggest shows in the world show how wrong they are.

  4. Seraphina says:

    I started watching Season two yesterday. Binged three episodes. Not sure yet how I feel about it (compared to season one). Although I am enjoying the comedy in season two. I am trying not to read comments so I don’t get spoilers – the temptation is real. I have two characters whom I dearly love because they are so entertaining: the Queen and Eloise. Well done to both actresses. Oh yes, and Lady Danbury. Ugh, who am I kidding – so many good charters. Bravo to the cast.

  5. Jane says:

    I’m glad they’re moving away from the sexiest that was season 1 – I absolutely don’t want to see Colin & Penelope, or Eloise & Philip getting their freaks on in the next couple of seasons. I preferred season 2 because I preferred the couple and their characters and story. I’m looking forward to seeing more Antony & Kate in season 3, far more than any of the other characters.

  6. Saba says:

    This season was pure homage to Pride and Prejudice, lol. Eloise was so much fun and so were the Featherington foibles.

  7. VivaAviva says:

    I enjoyed season 2, but I do admit that I was missing the sex scenes. I am actually rather prudish and usually leave the room during sex scenes, but the ones in Bridgerton season 1 and 2 were so well done and felt like some resolution from all the romantic build up.

  8. Leslie says:

    I’m very glad season 2 is a hit because I want the series to continue. I’m looking forward to season 3 – Benedict and Sophie are my favorite couple/romance from the books.

  9. Lively says:

    Season 2 was way better than 1. Simone and Jon B had amazing chemistry and are talented actors that even the bad delivery of the overall story, didn’t get in the way of the season.
    Can’t wait to Kanthony on S3, they better have a storyline.

  10. QrsGeorge says:

    I still hated this season. Harrumph.
    I’ll never not be mad about what they did to Penelope and Eloise’s relationship. And turning Eloise into a spoiled little sh*t. And how they changed the Anthony/Kate/Edwina dynamic. Needed more love, less angst & misery. I’ll stomp back to my cave of crankiness now.

    • L4Frimaire says:

      Eloise was the absolute worst this season and became so unlikable. The Featherington’s misfortunes are becoming tedious. I hope Penelope has more agency and isn’t so desperate for Colin in future. However, the two leads did have amazing chemistry and a little bit more heat with the love scenes would have been great. Also, we didn’t see them get married and the reaction of the ton to it. Does Edwina find love? She went from simpering to pretty cool and assertive at the end, the Eloise alternative. I tried reading the first book but while I like the series so far, cannot get into Regency romance novels.

  11. Scrambled Eggs says:

    I’m honestly obsessed with this season, but only for the Kate/Anthony parts. I’m not surprised at all that it broke records; I just lament how many more rewatch hours it might have had if they had just cut out the whole Featherington plot and put more Kate and Anthony and their families.

  12. IShouldBeWorking says:

    I just binged the whole second season in two days after rereading the second book and overall I liked it and I loved Kate and Anthony’s chemistry! I also liked how they changed Anthony from the book. His motivation for getting married in the book would be really hard to show onscreen since it was such an internal struggle and there were some misogynistic scenes in the book with him that I really hated.

    I hated what they did to Edwina and Kate’s relationship with the love triangle. They could have created drama in other ways and it went on far too long. I also hated all the Featherington side drama and what they did to Eloise to make her such a brat. I think part of it was to set Colin and Eloise’s main storylines coming up but I still hated it and none of it is from the books. I get the feeling they are going to bypass the time jump that happens for Colin and Eloise’s stories and this will be the new driving force to put those in motion.

    I already want to go back and rewatch Kate and Anthony’s scenes but I’ll probably fast forward through the Eloise and Featherington stuff.

  13. Trimdownmnrchyboring says:

    The horny viewers were out LOL and with that number of viewers, it confirm that people are not there for regejean either. I’m there for the plot and the romance. But it did feel “watered down and there wasnt enough chemistry to get the fire cracking” is exactly the way I feel about it.

  14. The Voice says:

    I liked s1 but I loved s2. I’ve never read the books so I didn’t know the storylines but I especially loved this season bc of the slow burn and Jonathan Bailey’s incredible acting. I definitely noticed him last season but his glow up this season took it to another level. He’s such a gorgeous man and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

    Since the premiere, I’ve rewatched K&A’s scenes countless times and every time I still notice new things. Jonathan’s micro expressions are everything. I really loved seeing his character’s journey. Didn’t enjoy the love triangle though and think they could’ve created another reason that kept them apart.

    I think I also enjoyed s2 more bc Kate is closer in ethnicity to me so it was so nice to see myself kind of represented on screen. Kudos to the Bridgerton production team. So groundbreaking (and record-setting) on so many levels!