‘Bridgerton’ fans might enjoy these underrated Jane Austen screen adaptations

If you are anything like me and you are obsessed with regency era films and television series, then you’ve probably already binge-watched Netflix’s Bridgerton.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/netflixph

The first season of the historical drama followed the whirlwind romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). And through its eight episode run, viewers were able to see how the two turned from friends to eventual spouses. 

Understandably, many people were drawn into the Duke of Hastings and the eldest Bridgerton daughter’s love story. And many of them–including myself–are eager to see more of the Bridgerton romances unfold. But until the streaming platform can confirm a possible next season, here are a few Jane Austen book-to-screen adaptations that Bridgerton fans can enjoy as they wait for more news on the show. 

Emma (2009)  

Through the years, there have been many screen adaptations of Jane Austen’s Emma. From Gwyneth Paltrow’s 1996 version to Anya Taylor-Joy’s 2020 adaptation, many Austen fans have seen different versions of the titular character portrayed on both TV and film. However, out of all of these adaptations–many of which I have seen–the BBC 2009 mini-series was the best one of them all. 

Not only did it gradually showcase the friendship-turned-romance between the two best friends, but Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller seem to be the best embodiments of Emma and Mr. Knightley. 

Garai’s tenacious and effervescent portrayal of Emma made the character very likeable and Miller’s stern yet endearing Mr. Knightley will leave fans rooting for him throughout the series’s four-episode run.

Photo Credit: David Venni via IMDB.com

Why Bridgerton fans might like the show: Much like Lady Whistledown or Queen Charlotte, Emma enjoys meddling into the love lives of those around her. So, fans might take pleasure in watching her succeed–and oftentimes, fail–at her attempts in matchmaking, whilst realizing all along that she herself has found her perfect match and it was the man standing right in front of her. 

Northanger Abbey (2007) 

Although this is one of Jane Austen’s less popular novels, I enjoyed Northanger Abbey for its unconventional hero, Mr. Tilney. Unlike the likes of Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley, Mr. Tilney is not always so formal and likes to tease Catherine quite a bit. And the movie version of the Austen hero is not far from how the author described her character to be in the book. 

Played by JJ Field, Mr. Tilney presents a comical and amiable persona that complements Felicity Jones’s portrayal of the shy and naive Catherine. And it’s through their meetings in Bath and subsequent stay in Northanger Abbey that the two realize their true feelings for one another. 

Photo Credit: IMDB.com

Why Bridgerton fans might like the movie: I think fans might enjoy the “rich vs. poor” kind of love story the 2007 film shows. Because like many of the socialites in Bridgerton, Mr. Tilney’s father wants to make an advantageous marriage for his son. But upon learning that Catherine has no money to her name, he forbids a possible union between her and Mr. Tilney and sends her away. But little did he know that Mr. Tilney will do a lot more for the woman he loves… even if that means disobeying his father’s wishes and giving up his inheritance. 

Persuasion (2007)  

Persuasion focuses on the romance between Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot. 

Frederick and Anne were two young people in love. However, Anne’s parents refused the union, noting Frederick’s lack of fortune and title. So, the two parted ways. 

Eight years later, Anne’s family is struggling with their finances and Frederick has now become a wealthy and recognized Royal Navy Captain. With their heart-wrenching parting still lingering in both of their minds and with the tables turned, it begs the question: is there still a possibility of romance between the two despite everything that has happened?  

Starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins, Persuasion reignites the viewers’ belief in the possibility of second chances, when it comes to love. 

Photo Credit: IMDB.com

Why Bridgerton fans might like the film: Fans might be able to appreciate Captain Frederick Wentworth’s unwavering love and devotion to Anne, in spite of the hardships he faced while being with her during his younger years. And despite having more options for a partner when he returned, he still chose her above everyone else.

Moreover, if fans loved the Duke of Hastings’s “I burn for you” line in the show, wait ‘til they hear Captain Wentworth’s “I am half agony, half hope” spiel–as he pours out his immense love and affection for Anne even after all these years. 

Via Giphy

NOTE: This review is not sponsored by Netflix or any other production houses. This was written purely from the perspective of the writer as a fan of these TV shows and movies.

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