What comic name best sums up this silly, but entertaining show? Georgie’s Girls? Lowdown Abbey? Real Housewives of Grosvenor Square?
This purported period piece gets just about every period detail wrong – the clothes, the music, the dancing, the cigarettes – but I think that’s intentional. It’s a costume drama in the old fashioned, culturally obtuse sense. But oh what costumes they are! The women’s outfits are exuberant, extravagant, and feature fluorescent colors not known to nature or early 19th C dressmakers. The men’s costumes are somewhat less complicated, if only because they spend so much time taking their shirts off.
Underneath all the silliness, though, is some rapier-like social satire, the kind Jane Austen might have written if she had had the freedom of a modern author to tackle the unmentionable. The triviality of the pursuits of the aristocracy, their social snobbery, their casual cruelty, is on display under all the magnificent scenery. And the vulnerability of a young girl’s reputation to an unaccountable malicious gossipmonger seems also quite realistic.
The cast is quite good, adding heft and complexity to what were probably, in the source material, pretty sketchily written characters.
I enjoyed, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste. On Netflix.