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One of Netflix’s latest TV shows is Bridgerton. Set in 19th century England, the series takes viewers inside the lives of the London society set. Since it premiered on Dec. 25, 2020, the internet’s been talking about the sexy series. There’s romance and gossip all with an opulent 1800s backdrop. And while the show may look like an escape or dreamworld, it was a challenge to create. 

Shonda Rhimes is behind ‘Bridgerton’

Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page on 'Bridgerton'
Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page on Bridgerton | LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020

Bridgerton is Shonda Rhimes’ first show with Netflix after signing a massive deal with the streamer. After leaving ABC over Disneyland passes, she’s set to deliver multiple Netflix programs with her production company, Shondaland. The period drama is her debut. 

The show itself is inspired by Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series. According to Quinn’s website, they are set between 1813 and 1827. While they take place in a different time period there are pieces of Quinn’s life sprinkled throughout the novel. 

For instance, the author told Oprah Magazine a moment in the books where Simon (Regé-Jean Page) gave flowers to Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) that didn’t make it into the show was taken from something her husband did. 

As for Rhimes, she read Quinn’s Bridgerton books and became a fan. The Grey’s Anatomy creator eventually approached the author about adapting it for the screen. They struck a deal and Quinn became a consultant on the Netflix series. 

The creator of the Netflix original series calls it ‘challenging’ to make

One look at Bridgerton and it’s easy to see why creator Chris Van Dusen admitted to Seventeen in a December 2020 interview that the program wasn’t easy to make. There are grand sets, elaborate costumes, and over-the-top parties. While they look great, it means a lot of work happening behind the scenes to get every detail just right. 

“To be honest with you, there was really nothing easy about the show,” Van Dusen said. “But that has made it all the more rewarding and challenging. Seeing it all come together, it completely surpassed any expectation I had.”

“You hire this amazing crew and you cast these incredible actors, but you never you never really know how it’s going to turn out,” he added. 

Judging by viewers’ reactions to the series the difficult moments paid off. 

‘Bridgerton’ has author Julia Quinn’s stamp of approval

Books adapted for the screen can sometimes fall flat with fans. Not staying true to the source material is an often-cited criticism. However, Bridgerton has Quinn’s approval. The author gushed about the series to Oprah Magazine. 

“They just made something absolutely incredible that’s both the original and isn’t the original—it’s more,” she said. 

Quinn received scripts in her role as a consultant but she said there was never “something big that worried” her. 

“I feel like I just had this wide-eyed Pollyanna thing. I’m sure there are people who have their books adapted and do not have this wonderful experience, but I sure did,” she said.

As for the TV show making tweaks to the books or changing scenes, Quinn’s OK with it. 

“It’s not a word for word adaptation, and it shouldn’t be. I never expected that. I didn’t want that. It’s not what television should be about,” she said. Bridgerton Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.