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Golden Globes embrace saucy Netflix shows — except fan favorite ‘Bridgerton’

A closeup of Regé-Jean Page, seated in an ornate room, in "Bridgerton."
Regé-Jean Page is Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, in “Bridgerton.”
(Liam Daniel / Netflix)

This just in from Lady Whistledown: The ton is abuzz over the snubbing of “Bridgerton.”

The saucy period drama from executive producer Shonda Rhimes was widely predicted to pick up several Golden Globe nominations Wednesday. Instead, it was passed over like one of last season’s debutantes.

For the record:

9:03 AM, Feb. 03, 2021An earlier version of this article said the number of global households that Netflix reported viewed “Bridgerton” in its first four weeks was 68 million. It was 82 million.

“Bridgerton” is already a fan favorite — 82 million households watched some of the series in its first four weeks of release, according to Netflix, which by that metric makes it the most successful original series in the history of the streaming service — and also received mostly positive reception from critics, who appreciated its refreshingly contemporary spin on Regency romance. It’s also the kind of lavish Eurocentric drama that has long been catnip to members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., who are also known to favor programs from streaming services and premium cable networks.

“Bridgerton”was expected to vie for drama series. Leads Phoebe Dynevor and Regé-Jean Page, who play a pair of aristocrats whose sham romance turns into the real thing and are the kind of exciting newcomers the Globes often like to anoint with awards, were also considered likely to pick up nominations for actress and actor in a drama series, respectively.

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Instead, the mercurial Globes lavished attention on other dishy Netflix series, including two dramas from Ryan Murphy, “Hollywood” and “Ratched,” and the sugarcoated dramedy “Emily in Paris.” “The Crown,” another sumptuous Netflix drama about the bedroom antics of the British ruling class, also fared better than “Bridgerton,” scoring nominations for drama series and acting nods for cast members Emma Corrin, Olivia Colman and Gillian Anderson.

Based on the romance novels by Julia Quinn and created by Chris Van Dusen, “Bridgerton” is the first series from mega-producer Rhimes under her lucrative deal at Netflix. It’s a soapy hit full of over-the-top plot twists, complicated female roles and swoon-worthy declarations of love familiar to fans of the Shondaland dramas “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” but with the kind of steamy love scenes not possible on broadcast television.

Set in 1813 London, the bodice-ripper follows beautiful young aristocrat Daphne Bridgerton (Dynevor) as she makes her social debut with the goal of marrying for love. She and the dashing Duke of Hastings, a.k.a. Simon Basset (Page), begin a fake courtship with the goal of elevating her desirability, but their budding feelings for each other complicate matters.

“Bridgerton” explores the manners and courtship rituals of Regency England through an intentionally anachronistic lens. The series consciously takes license with history; it includes orchestral versions of hits by Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift on the soundtrack and imagines a post-racial alternate version of 19th century England in which the Duke of Hastings — and much of the aristocracy — is Black.

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Sarah Paulson and Cynthia Nixon sit in a theater in "Ratched."
Sarah Paulson, left, as Mildred Ratched and Cynthia Nixon as Gwendolyn Briggs in “Ratched.” Both performers, along with the series, were nominated for Golden Globes.
(Saeed Adyani / Netflix)

“Ratched,” which tells the origin story of the villainous nurse Mildred Ratched, the character from the 1975 film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” was generally disliked by critics but nevertheless received three nominations, including drama series. Lead Sarah Paulson, a Golden Globe favorite, was nominated for her performance as the title character. Supporting actress Cynthia Nixon also was nominated.

Jim Parsons was recognized for his supporting role as a talent agent in “Hollywood,” Murphy’s revisionist take on showbiz history.

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“Emily in Paris,” an escapist confection from “Sex and the City” scribe Darren Starr about a young American woman who relocates to France, also fared well with the HFPA. It was nominated for television series — musical or comedy — and lead actress Lily Collins also scored a nomination.


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