Bridgerton has taken the internet by storm. Streaming giant Netflix has officially crowned it as its biggest series ever clocking in 82 million views within its first 28 days. There’s even a second season in the works, much to fans’ relief. The 19th century period drama is based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn, brought to life by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes’s Shondaland. It mainly follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and her rising popularity in London’s high society making her the object of a certain writer’s attention.
If you’ve enjoyed Lady Whistledown’s (Julie Andrews) narration of high society gossipmongering, here are other shows with scandals more shocking than making out with someone in a garden at dark.
Gossip Girl (2007-2012)
Gossip Girl is literally the mid-aughts version of Bridgerton. Both shows follow the lives of affluent families, their scandals, and love affairs. If Lady Whistledown needs to physically print newsletters of her juicy gossipmongering, Gossip Girl reveals her scandalous discoveries through a blog. So if you want to see frocks, frills, and hats traded for mini skirts, eyeliner, and chunky mobile phones, watch Gossip Girl if you haven’t yet.
Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
Historic drama Downton Abbey happened a century after Bridgerton so the set and costume designs are pretty similar. The show is rife with the scandals, romance, and outrageous controversies of British high society. After bingeing the six seasons, you just might find yourself unconsciously mimicking their accents. Downton Abbey was largely successful, snatching awards and constantly being nominated in prestigious award shows like the Emmys, Golden Globes, and BAFTA.
Sanditon (2019 – present)
Here’s another British historical drama that might just fill up the Bridgerton-shaped hole in your heart. Based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel of the same name, Sanditon follows Charlotte (Rose Williams, Reign) who moves to the quiet fishing village of Sanditon. She meets ambitious and charming Sidney (Theo James, Divergent) and inevitably ends in a love triangle with his brother, Tom (Kris Marshall, Love, Actually).
If it’s scandals you’re looking for, Reign has an abundance of those. It follows the exploits of 15-year-old Mary, the Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane, The Purge), who arrives in France and marries Prince Francis. She is then thrown into the “treacherous world of the French court”, which is sprinkled with love triangles, and, yes, scandals. Mary’s handmaidens Kenna, Aylee, Lola, and Greer get some of the action too.
Outlander (2014 – present)
Outlander is based on a novel series of the same name by Diana Gabaldon and its adaptation will satiate the appetite of Bridgerton and period drama fanatics. Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe, Ford v Ferrari) is a married combat nurse from 1945 who mysteriously gets transported back in time to 1743. She gets caught in a group of rebels and marries Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan, Bloodshot) out of necessity. Soon enough, she falls in love with him. Outlander isn’t bright and colorful like Bridgerton, but it does tell of an epic romance, a compelling story, and pays commendable attention to historic detail.
The Great (2020 – present)
Set a century before Bridgerton, The Great is a satirical, comedic, “genre-bending, [and] anti-historical ride through 18th-century Russia.” It stars Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great who started from the bottom as an outsider and eventually became the longest-reigning female ruler in Russia’s history. Nicholas Hoult portrays Emperor Peter III, Catherine’s husband. The show has just been renewed for a second season, so it’s not too late to join the party.
Harlots is set in 18th century London where rival brothels and madames battle for the coins of England’s wealthy elite. Brothel owner Margaret Wells struggles to give her two daughters a better future. She must compete with madame Lydia Quigley, another brothel owner at the top of her game, through her strong-will, quick-wit. Hollywood Reporter dubs Harlots as “the best erotic workplace drama” so if you’re into that kind of thing, binge ahead.
Vanity Fair (2018)
William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1848 novel has a mini-series adaptation of the same name. Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One) portrays Becky Sharp, our heroine (or antiheroine) hell-bent on doing anything to get into London’s high society. While Vanity Fair might not have its fair share of outrageous scandals like the others on this list, it does have forbidden romances and Becky’s ambitious life choices. Claudia Jessie, Bridgerton‘s Eloise, portrays Becky’s close friend, Amelia.
Which of these shows have you seen?