I enjoy a good costume drama, especially if based on a classic 19th-century novel I've never read, or likely to.
I confess to not having read a word of Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James or Thomas Hardy, but I'm always up for a good story adapted for the screen.
So with all the attention Bridgerton was getting, I decided I should give it go, even if the books the Netflix series is based on were written in the 21st century.
The novelty of the first episode drew me in. The characters enticing, like an array of chocolates in a fancy box.
The star of the box is the young, society-entering Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor). The epitome of doe-eyed femininity. With enough edge to keep the male characters, her brothers and prospective suitors, on their toes.
Her story arc takes her from naivety, both personal and social, to something more like a contemporary female character, if still in a corset.
My favourite character, however, was Daphne's younger sister Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie). She has the better lines, being a writerly intellectual-type.
I enjoyed her facial expressions and the way she moved like a praying mantis in a dress. All jerky, leading from the abdomen, leaning forward to make a point in conversation.
It was a nice characterisation that distinguished her from the other female characters' prim and proper bearing.
It was the male characters I had the most trouble with. The Duke (Regé-Jean Page) is a handsome man, undoubtedly. His acting, though, I'm sorry to say, didn't do much for me.
He wore the pain of his childhood like someone who had been told the stubble length of his beard was too long. Concerning, I know, but given his supposed back story, a more convincing portrayal of internal agony was needed.
The Duke's vow, the centre of the whole drama between himself and Daphne, eventually became an unconvincing barrier to the lovers' happiness. By the later episodes, I was wishing he would just get over it.
Which, to my amusement and relief, was kind of Daphne's reaction when finding out why the Duke didn't want to have kids and thus the awkward impact on their sex life.
The Duke did, in the end, get over it rather quickly, but then he'd never convinced anyone he needed counselling in the first place.
Daphne's eldest brother, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), was a little more convincing in his conflict between love (or desire) and responsibility to upper-class snobbery and social convention.
This possibly had more to do with his hair than with his acting. His tempestuous mane conveying a Byronesque romantic passion. Those wild swirls as fascinating as a painting of waves in a stormy seascape. I'm jealous, of course.
The fixation on beauty is standard fare for this kind of escapism. The radical casting of actors from different ethnicities, reflecting modern concerns rather than historical reality, was tempered by the conventional bias towards beautiful people being good and ugly people bad.
And yet, just as you started feeling ill from too much of this chocolate-box prettiness, something would stand out.
Like the red-marks on Daphne's back when a maid undoes her corset. Or the scene where she has her period while attending a concert.
Or Eloise accusing a servant of being the gossip-rag author Lady Whistledown and having it explained that servants are actually too busy for that kind of nonsense.
Overall, I'd say my experience of Bridgerton was at the level of Cadbury Roses chocolates rather than Bennetts of Mangawhai.
But I can see how the series could resonate with some viewers in this era of Facebook and Instagram.
There's a parallel between Bridgerton's repackaging of previous centuries' concerns with social standing in "society" and our contemporary worries about being "liked" on social media.
Daphne Bridgerton sits at the top of her world like a beautiful Instagram influencer.
Thinking of it like that, I'm more sympathetic to the ever-striving Featherington family, who don't meet the high standards of beauty and taste set by the Bridgertons.
Can Bridgerton succeed in its second season? Will its novelty wear off?
I'm unsure if I'll be tuning in, because I'm yet to get over the disappointing ending. For me, the big reveal of who Lady Whistledown was didn't ring true.