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Dickinson Versus Bridgerton

by Şebnem YAREN

Dickinson and Bridgerton. Two sensational shows that were introduced to the world recently. If you have a Netflix subscription, odds are you have probably heard about or seen the latter, Bridgerton. Bridgerton has acquired massive media attention after the release of its first season on Netflix in late December of 2020. It takes place in early 19th century, and showcases the marriage season of the high elite of England and the main plot is the complicated relationship of the two main characters: Daphne Bridgerton and the Duke of Hastings. Dickinson, although very different, is also very similar to Bridgerton when analyzed from a bird’s-eye view: they both take place in the 1800s, although Dickinson takes place in the US, and the wardrobe of the characters are pretty much the same. Let us dive more into these two shows in-depth.


Both shows are, of course, period pieces, but they also experiment out of the box on what is normally perceived as a period piece. Dickinson does this technique more than Bridgerton though, that is also why it is called a comedy rather than a drama like Bridgerton. Dickinson showcases the life of a real-life American poet Emily Dickinson, who lived in Boston in the 1800s. What Dickinson does differently than Bridgerton can be analyzed in two different aspects: technically and contextually. In technical terms, Dickinson uses much more 21st-century material in the show compared to Bridgerton. Bridgerton only wanders off from the 1800s with a few string melodies of modern artists such as Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes, while Dickinson’s dialogues (at least of the young characters) are completely 21st-century jargon, and the music in the show is almost entirely from the current era, even combined with some dance scenes that include modern clubbing aesthetic. However, contextually, although they touch base on similar struggles of women and the patriarchy’s damage on them in the 19th century, Dickinson varies from Bridgerton distinctively. Dickinson is a show that focuses on character development rather than specific events such as the marriage theme in Bridgerton. It explores the complicated personality of Emily Dickinson, while also showing important character development of the side characters. It explores the sexuality and queerness of Emily Dickinson in a very spiritual and somewhat conservative way while also representing the LGBTQ+ community and their struggles. On the contrary, although Bridgerton shows a same-sex couple a few times, its main leads are a heterosexual couple. Dickinson also differentiates for not including any explicit scenes, unlike Bridgerton, which does not shy away from them in the show, receiving attention mainly because of the explicit scenes. 

To sum up, Bridgerton includes very appealing and breathtaking dramatic events that get a viewer hooked to watch more. On the other hand, Dickinson catches the viewer in a more invested kind of way, almost like the viewer who watches Dickinson becomes invested in the separate lives and personalities and characters, while an average Bridgerton viewer probably gets hooked from event circulations and shallow drama. Bridgerton is a very entertaining and riveting show with a beautifully shot 19th century England vibe, while Dickinson is a more profound and gripping show that feeds the viewers’ soul more than their eyes. Despite their differences, I would recommend an average viewer of either of them to watch the other one as well, since they will probably be hooked to both.

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