Fated for All: Romanclusivity Captures Our Hearts in Bridgerton and Beyond | TV/Streaming

If there is an apotheosis of romanclusivity, “Bridgerton” is it. This show delights in the conventions that Romance readers adore. For those of us traditionally sidelined, Shondaland and original showrunner Chris Van Dusen celebrate inclusion—making it known people of color existed in Britain before the Regency era, including in Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry. Brownell was part of that team and continues the tradition in Season 3:

“The decision was rooted in real life conjecture that Queen Charlotte may have been mixed race. When casting the first season, Shonda, Betsy, and Chris used this as a jumping off point to imagine an alternate history in which more viewers could see themselves represented.” Brownell added that, “It’s been lovely to see such a positive response. I’m certainly aware of criticisms that the show’s casting erases the realities of history. As showrunner, I’m always listening to both sides of the argument and trying to do what feels best for our show.”

“Bridgerton,” with its sweeping manors, string quartet remixes of Billboard pop, spicy entanglements, and diverse cast, is the biggest historical romance on our screens. Based on Julia Quinn’s novels, the series illustrates diverse characters can thrive in any era while captivating massive audiences. Love needs no exclusions. The show’s first season thrilled 82 million households globally within its first 28 days. Season 2 became the most-watched debut in Netflix history at the time, boasting 627.11 million hours viewed in that same span. Edging out the 625.49 million hours for Season 1. Notably, 76% of the viewers during its first week were women, highlighting the show’s strong appeal among an audience we can bet contains millions of romance readers. With the anticipated “Polin pairing” of Penelope and Colin up next, those viewership numbers are likely to rise. These impressive metrics underscore the broader appeal of romanclusivity done right. 

Those numbers may also be why “The Buccaneers” from AppleTV+, a series based on an unfinished Edith Wharton novel, is heading into its second season.

Mr. Malcolm’s List

“Mr. Malcolm’s List” (2022)

Released during the pandemic, the feature-length version of “Mr. Malcolm’s List” drew a $2,024,507 worldwide box office, not quite the same glow as the short film (2.2M views on YouTube). Still, it exemplifies the warmth and intrigue found in romanclusivity. Based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Allain and set in Regency-era England, this part-Austen part-Wilde romp is a charmer. Starring Zawe Ashton, Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, and Theo James, “Mr. Malcolm’s List” sets the stage for more multicultural historical romances to delight viewers.