Netflix's Bridgerton was a gift to our holiday viewing season, allowing us to indulge in a period romance rife with sex, gossip, and costumes, all under the watchful eye of executive producer Shonda Rhimes. Based on the series of romance novels by Julia Quinn, Bridgerton spent its first season focused on the courtship between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoeve Dynevor) and Simon, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), whose secret pledge to never marry or continue his bloodline complicates the inevitable pairing and the very, very sexy consummation of their union.
There are eight novels in Quinn's Bridgerton series, each of which concerns the romantic fate of a different sibling from the titular family. One imagines that as we move on to subsequent seasons of the TV show, we'll also be working our way through the Bridgerton clan's romances. Not that some of them didn't spend Season 1 in plenty of romantic entanglements. There was Anthony's (Jonathan Bailey) tortured affair with the opera singer, Colin's (Luke Newton) brief engagement to unwed and pregnant Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker), and Benedict's (Luke Thompson) hedonistic sojourns to the artist's den to snog dressmaker Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale). But lord knows the path of true love doesn't ever run smoothly on these shows, so looking forward to future seasons of Bridgerton, we thought we'd do some speculative matchmaking.
For the purposes of this article, Daphne is considered paired up with Hastings, and the two are off the board. We're also setting aside youngest Bridgertons Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt), while Francesca (Ruby Stokes) will be imagined several years into the future. Finally, we're going into this exercise with no knowledge of the novels, so if we contradict what happens there, that's life on TV, baby.
As played by the infuriatingly handsome Jonathan Bailey, Anthony Bridgerton spends the bulk of Season 1 being an impediment to other people's romances — specifically Daphne and Hastings, but also his own. His clandestine affair with opera singer Siena Rosso (Sabrina Bartlett) ended because he was too bound by his noble duty as the head of the Bridgerton family. But there's hope for Season 2 and beyond that Anthony will let up a little and allow himself some happiness. Let's assume that the ship has sailed with fair Siena. He's handsome enough that he could end up attracting the likes of Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen) or one of the eligible Featherington bachelorettes, but it might be most interesting to see him matched up with Marina Thompson, who spent much of Season 1 unhappily pregnant and desperately seeking a match to get herself out of her scandalous position. Yes, she was briefly engaged to Anthony's brother, Colin, but that would only make an Anthony/Marina pairing all the more juicy and dramatic. Meanwhile, scoring the eldest Bridgerton would surely make all the other bachelorettes about town severely jealous of Marina, which would be delicious as well.
Benedict's frequent trips to the after-hours artist salons at Henry Granville's (Julian Ovenden) place surely seemed like an opportunity for the second Bridgerton son to expand his horizons, both artistically and libidinously. And while he ended up in dalliances with Henry's wife and also Madame Delacroix, we still think Benedict has some bisexual adventures in his future. Someone like, say Prince Frederick of Prussia (Freddie Stroma) might be too much to ask of Regency London, even in this historical fiction, but there's a real connection between Benedict and Henry, and we'd love to see that explored.
Oh, Colin. Sweet, simple, honorable Colin. He got burned when he proposed marriage to Marina, not knowing that she was secretly pregnant and scheming to trap him. We also know that Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) pined for him ceaselessly throughout Season 1, so she's obviously an option. But perhaps too obvious? If Colin/Penny is going to happen, it should happen after a few seasons worth of build-up. Which is why Season 2 should see Colin romantically entangled with Penelope's mother, Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker). For one thing, jaws would drop all over London, and Lady Whistledown's scandal sheet would be on fire. For another, you can't have a great soap opera without a hot May/December romance.
Of course what we love about Eloise (Claudia Jessie) is her independence and the way she bucks her society's demand that she go through the paces of a debut, courtship, and then marriage. We don't want a traditional romance for her. Some might zero in on the close friendship between Eloise and Penelope and start to see the two best friends as something more than that, but instead why not pair Eloise up with another proudly independent lady, dressmaker Genevieve Delacroix? Eloise already had her moment of being obsessed with Genevieve back when she briefly believed Madame Delacroix to be the secret identity behind Lady Whistledown. After initially side-eyeing the dressmaker, Eloise grew to admire her tenacity. And she doesn't even know the half of it, given Genevieve's secret of having been a working-class Brit instead of the fancy French artisan she poses as. The pair would make an incredibly powerful match. Plus: free dresses!
The mostly absent Bridgerton daughter is largely a mystery, so we're mostly projecting here, especially since it's likely Francesca won't be looking for a suitor for a few more seasons. But when she does… hey, maybe Prince Frederick is somehow still single? He's handsome, seemingly upstanding, in fine social position (obviously), and since the Queen has the Bridgertons in her good graces (for now), we don't see her disapproving of the match... In several years.
The matriarch of the Bridgerton family is a widow raising eight children on her own, and she's also kind of the best. While the marriage market in Regency London for dowager viscountesses is probably not all that popping, the Bridgerton audience wants to see Lady Violet happy. So who would be a good match? Eligible men in the Bridgerton cast who aren't Bridgertons are hard to come by, with most of them married, dead, or both. Ah, but what about the one person on the show who we know Lady Violet vibes with, who is good enough for her, and who would make an iconic match? Yes, we're talking about Lady Danbury. Lady Whistledown would have a stroke, but think about the heads they'd turn together, presiding over London society. Make it happen!
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.