I must confess, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Bridgerton. The characters, the setting, the drama, the plot twists. I love it all. I am counting down the minutes until we can all watch Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. To fill the void, I have managed to work the words “ton” and “promenade” into my daily vocabulary, confusing many of my friends. I have also gone on an endless search to find other shows that are similar. If you’re a Bridgerton fan feeling the same way, look no further than Sanditon.
I stumbled upon Sanditon on PBS Masterpiece, which is home to Downton Abbey, Poldark, and many other shows that I return to season after season. Sanditon is based on the unfinished Jane Austen novel of the same title, and gives off Pride and Prejudice and Bridgerton vibes all at once. From the first episode, I immediately loved the main character, Charlotte Heywood, who grew up on a farm and goes on an adventure to visit the Parker family in the beachside town of Sanditon. She is met with challenges as she explores love, friendship, and her own purpose, and is surrounded by a cast of potential love interests, life-changing acquaintances, and conniving villains.
The great news is that Season 3 (which will also be the final season) of Sanditon just premiered, so it’s the perfect time to binge the whole dang thing. Here’s exactly why Sanditon is every Bridgerton fan’s dream:
Unrequited Love That Keeps Us Guessing
I love a good unrequited love story. Much like the romances of the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton, as well as Kate Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton, the main relationships in Sanditon build throughout each season in a way that has us on the edge of our seats.
In Season 1 of Sanditon, the relationship between Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker blooms with all the tension (and drama and roadblocks) we’ve come to know and love in Bridgerton romances. Charlotte is played by Rose Williams and Sidney is played by Theo James (of shows like Downton Abbey and more recently, White Lotus) and their chemistry is undeniable. Similar to Kate and Anthony, they start off in conflict with each other, attempting to deny their true feelings. I won’t say more because it would be a spoiler, but let’s just say I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this, and am eager to discuss with anyone and everyone who has seen the first two seasons.
Like Bridgerton, the Sanditon story follows many other romances among the characters. Everywhere you turn as an audience member there’s a hidden glance, a well-placed comment, or a secret affair going on. The stakes are always building, as is the romance. I also appreciate stories that showcase that one can find love and partnership while remaining an independent and whole person that fulfills their own destiny. Both shows have examples of this in their characters’ journeys.
Feminist Characters That Challenge Society
One of my favorite things about Bridgerton is the characters who are constantly challenging the norms of the current day, redefining what it means to be a woman and striving to gain an equal place in society. One of my favorite Eloise quotes in Bridgerton is: “Why must our only options be to squawk and settle or to never leave the nest? What if I want to fly?”
Several of the characters in Sanditon echo this sentiment, including Georgiana Lambe. Georgiana is a wealthy heiress from the West Indies who is stuck in Sanditon under the watchful eye of Sidney, the ward assigned to her after her father’s passing. Georgiana is independent and doesn’t need a ward to tell her how to behave or what to do. Her story arc is full of twists and turns as she faces sexism and racism in the town. Throughout the first two seasons, Georgiana makes her own choices to secure her future, defying the rules set in front of her by society.
Charlotte also seeks to redefine her destiny, which at one time meant working on her family’s farm and marrying. Instead, she alters her path by staying in Sanditon, and getting involved with the Parker family business. Like Georgiana, no one can intimidate her or dissuade her from speaking her mind and following her intuition and heart. Mirroring Eloise Bridgerton in a way, Charlotte states in the Season 3 trailer, “Too often, young women are thought to be strangers to their own minds. It is left to fathers or uncles to choose the path their life should take, as if we require saving from ourselves.” There are several storylines in Sanditon that explore feminism within the rich supporting cast, and it’s clear the new season will continue to do so.
Beautiful Scenery That Will Inspire Your Next Beach Vacation
The town of Sanditon is a seaside resort, and the surrounding areas provide breathtaking views of the water and sandy beaches. One of the main conflicts in Sanditon revolves around Tom Parker, Sidney’s older brother, who must keep up the resort’s standards so the wealthy and fashionable upper class (the “ton” if we’re speaking in Bridgerton terms) will visit its shores and spend money, keeping the businesses alive. There are endlessly romantic scenes that take place on the shores, and of course many a longing look on grassy hillside walks above the shoreline.
Much like Bridgerton makes me want to go to London to promenade about, Sanditon makes me want to settle into a seaside cottage, stare out at the ocean, and plan my very fashionable future. Throughout the show, many parties are thrown to entice investors and patrons of the town, and we know a show like this wouldn’t be complete without an event to look forward to in each episode. It’s the dreamy, hopeful, romantic, anything-is-possible feeling of it all that I think keeps us coming back to Bridgerton. So if you’re looking to feel that again, Sanditon is waiting for you.
If you haven’t ever seen Sanditon, skip the Season 3 trailer below to avoid spoilers, but if you have seen the first two seasons, take a look at what the next season has in store for us all: