Bridgerton prequel Queen Charlotte has hit Netflix – and critics are calling it the best of the franchise yet.
The new show follows a young Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio in the past and Golda Rosheuvel in the present timeline) and her arranged marriage to King George III (Corey Mylchreest), as well as depicting the Great Experiment, AKA the reason the world of Bridgerton is so diverse. The cast includes Michelle Fairley, Adjoa Andoh, Arsema Thomas, and Ruth Gemmell, with Julie Andrews back as the voice of Lady Whistledown.
Reviews for the new Bridgerton show have been mostly glowing, with critics praising the central love story and the performance of Amarteifio as the young queen. We've rounded up a selection of reviews below to give you an idea on the verdict (and it's all spoiler free, so you can read whether you've seen the new show or not).
Variety – Alison Herman
"Queen Charlotte Is the Best Bridgerton Yet… In the hands of the master [Shonda Rhimes] who gave us Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, the Bridgerton universe becomes the best version of itself: a sexy, escapist love story with a maturity and substance that only adds to its eroticism. Bridgerton was already a phenomenon. It still takes Queen Charlotte to unlock the premise's full potential."
The Guardian – 4/5 – Lucy Mangan
"The series is a rare exception to the rule of prequels (generally substantially worse than the originals and undermining all previous endeavours) and will hopefully set many of its younger stars on the road to success. Amarteifio does especially well, shouldering the bulk of the show's burdens and showing in embryo all of the Charlotte we know. But it's with an innocent energy and unjaded intelligence that shows us something new too. Oh, and there's plenty of sex throughout. Enjoy."
The Hollywood Reporter – Angie Han
"Inherent to Queen Charlotte is the tension between the cotton-candy fantasy that's made Bridgerton so beloved with the thornier ground already laid out for the central couple by the core series (and real-life history). And while the series doesn't always land on a perfect balance between the two, the challenge ultimately yields a spin-off that's richer and more complex than the flagship series, but no less delectable in its romance."
AV Club – C – Mary Kate Carr
"This series wants to be many things: a rumination on different forms of widowhood and sexuality for older women, a drama about balancing duty with passion, an exploration of social issues through a semi-historical lens, and a coming-of-age and coming-to-power tale for young women raised in a society that would reject them. There may be a version of this show that can do it all, but not in just six episodes. (NB: The streamers' preference for abbreviated seasons is one of the issues at stake in the Writers Guild of America strike.) Bridgerton fans will likely find Queen Charlotte breezy, sexy fun, but any attempt to go deeper sadly comes up short."
The Independent – 4/5 – Nicole Vassell
"With classical renditions of pop hits aplenty and no shortage of steamy bedroom romps, Queen Charlotte delivers everything a Bridgerton fan could want, with touches of social commentary that feel refreshing, rather than preachy. If this series is an indicator, the Bridgerton-verse will continue to top the Netflix ratings – and for good reason."
Entertainment Weekly – B+ – Kristen Baldwin
"There are lavish balls and passionate love scenes; luxurious period fashions and poignant personal tragedy. It could all feel very Bridgerton Lite, but Rhimes – who writes or co-writes five of the six episodes – uses the prequel to explore deeper issues than just romance and heartache. On Bridgerton, the integrated 'ton is a novelty, the origins of which are barely discussed. Queen Charlotte reveals the struggle that came first, as Lady Danbury and her peers scramble and strategize to secure the equality they deserve."
Queen Charlotte is streaming on Netflix now. If you're up to date, fill out your watchlist with our guide to the best Netflix shows.