Tag Archives: Shondaland

A brief note on Bridgerton

I’m generally a supporter of blind casting — love it in much Shakespeare — but am having trouble with it in Bridgerton. If slavery and colonialism is to a considerable extent what funded this class of people and their lifestyle it seems dodgy to me to cast people of colour as Dukes etc in in the series, somehow making black people not only complicit in but actual beneficiaries of the slavery and oppression of their like.

I did end up watching the whole series and very much enjoyed it in the way that I enjoy the rest of Shondaland. But this aspect remans a niggle and I plan to read Kristen J Warner’s The Cultural Politics of Colorblind TV Casting, which I’ve been told is excellent.


José Arroyo

A brief note on How To Get Away With Murder

Into the second season of How to Get Away With Murder now and completely immersed in Shondaland. Viola Davis is ferocious in the lead and the show itself is glossy, melodramatic, unafraid of trashyness and yet well-dramatising all the modish issues of the day: the show is very sophisticated on issues of race and gender, and on various representational levels; poverty, social inequality, broader issues of social justice are so far largely absent. In the first season Viola Davis covered up the murder of her husband whilst juggling an affair with Billy Brown. In this season Viola goes full steam on with Famke Jenssen. I like the narrative trope of returning to a primal scene of murder, sometimes as a flashback sometimes as a flash-forward in almost every episode. I love seeing stars of yesterday appearing in key parts (Cecily Tyson, Elizabeth Perkins, Angela Bassett) and given space to make an impact. Every chapter begins with a set of questions seeking solutions; every ending is a cliff-hanger. it’s compulsive, glossy, sexy. Perfect for this time of year.