How Buccaneers Creator Really Feels About Those Bridgerton Comparisons

How Buccaneers Creator Really Feels About Those Bridgerton Comparisons
Image credit: Netflix, Apple TV+

'We love Bridgerton, that's the first thing I should say.'


  • A new period drama, The Buccaneers, is now available on Apple TV+
  • Based on the novel by Edith Wharton, the story follows five young women who set out to conquer London's high society
  • The series immediately drew comparisons to Bridgerton, but the showrunner has her own thoughts on the subject

On November 8, the first three episodes of The Buccaneers, based on the eponymous novel by American novelist Edith Wharton, debuted on Apple TV+, adding another period piece to the streaming service's library alongside Dickinson and The Essex Serpent. Even before the show's release, many people began comparing it to one of Netflix 's flagship dramas, Bridgerton, which was also adapted from a series of novels (albeit contemporary) by Julia Quinn and received phenomenal critical and viewer acclaim.

This is not surprising: both series tell the story of London's high society, focusing on the romantic love of young people as they pursue marriage and status through courtship at lavish balls. The Buccaneers, however, has slightly different ideas and a different approach to storytelling. Show creator and head writer Katherine Jakeways shared her thoughts on comparisons between her show and Bridgerton.

What the New Apple TV+ Show is All About

Although The Buccaneers has a similar premise, Edith Wharton's unfinished novel (due to her untimely death) has several distinct differences.

It is set about 50 years later, in the 1870s. The plot focuses on the clash between the hardened traditionalism of the English aristocracy and the boisterous free-spiritedness of the new Americans, who were making money through new entrepreneurial ventures rather than inheriting it.

The story follows five young American women whose wealthy fathers send their daughters to London to gain status and European titles through marriage to powerful people. At the same time, the British aristocratic bachelors themselves are delighted at the prospect of new sources of income to continue their idle lifestyles. Little did they know that the girls would prove to be defiant, sophisticated, and free-thinking!

Showrunner on Comparisons to Bridgerton

And yet it's hard to deny that it's still reminiscent of Bridgerton. Katherine Jakeways, who adapted the novel, shared her opinion.

'We love Bridgerton, that's the first thing I should say. Gosh, we hope we have a fraction of their [success]. We were developing The Buccaneers before Bridgerton had been on, so it was in production already,' she told TV Guide. 'I think it has stuff in common. Of course it's a period drama, there's the costumes, the locations, the romance is what you would expect in a period drama.'

Show Takes More Modern Approach

However, she was quick to point out that her series has some differences. And that, as we mentioned, is not only in the plot, but also in how viewers can perceive the characters themselves and their romantic adventures.

'I think perhaps our characters have more complicated, slightly more modern-feeling storylines in a way that you don't always get in period dramas. We have used some storylines which wouldn't have been seen in other period dramas about relationships that absolutely were happening in the 19th century but weren't written about or spoken about. We've tried to feature all different types of relationships.'

As she explained, Edith Wharton, who wrote the novel in the 1930s, had already modernized the novel to appeal to a contemporary audience. Jakeways' own goal was to make it easy for the viewers to identify with the main characters and their camaraderie, as the five represent a strong friendship that is not dependent on this or that historical period. Again, there are similarities to Bridgerton, which is also a modern reinterpretation of the lifestyle of 200 years ago.

'But I hope there's lots of space for all of us in this world,' Jakeways concluded.

A new episode of The Buccaneers will be released on November 15.

Source: TV Guide.