Young women in corsets looking for a husband, dresses made of silky and colorful fabrics, sumptuous balls that are breathtaking, pionate love stories, a formal but mixed 19th century English high society… At first glance, “The Buccaneers”, the first three episodes of which are put online on Apple TV + this Wednesday, November 8, looks a lot like “The Bridgerton Chronicle”, hit series on competing platform Netflix, launched in 2020.
A few decades separate the action of the two fictions, the latter taking place in the 1870s, where the other began in 1813. The main driving force of “The Buccaneers” is a cultural gap between a group of young American women , from families of the nouveau riche, and the British elite attached to decorum and its traditions. Nan, Conchita, Lizzy, Mabel and Jinny are full of enthusiasm, like to have fun and spend time with friends. They see English lords as potential future husbands synonymous with prestige, but not all are ready to sacrifice their independence in order to become devoted wives. Arriving in the castles of the British countryside, each will achieve their goals in their own way.
The main heroine is Nan, who always felt like she lived in the shadow of her big sister Jinny. However, it is she who will quickly find herself at the center of attention, even as she learns a secret from her past that risks turning her life and her future upside down.
A provocative and highly entertaining side
Marriage with great fanfare, secret union, love triangle, hasty engagement, forbidden relationships, humiliations, physical and psychological violence, scandals of all kinds: the scenario of “The Buccaneers” does not lack richness. But it is precisely because the plot moves too quickly and goes a bit in all directions that the series struggles to convince from the start. The modernity of the heroines of this fiction, which aims to be resolutely feminist, often results in immaturity and giggles, more than a real affirmation of their characters. The facelift given to the unfinished book by American novelist Edith Wharton therefore does not slam as hard as the flamboyant and ultra-sensual fresco of “The Bridgertons Chronicle”.
The provocative and highly entertaining side of this new series adaptation still ends up getting to us. We particularly appreciate the interpretation of the main actress Kristine Froseth (seen in the series “The Society” on Netflix) in the skin of Nan, who makes us forget the unequal performances from her playing partners. The presence in the credits of Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) is also a nice et, especially towards the end of the season. The games of manipulation on all sides, more or less cruel, keep you in suspense, and you let yourself be charmed by certain characters in a surprising way. Enough to have a good time before the fires of “Bridgerton” love are rekindled in season 3, the broadcast date of which we are still awaiting.
“ The Buccaneers “, British series by Katherine Jakeways (2023) with Kristine Froseth, Alisha Boe, Josie Totah… Episodes 1 to 3/8 (50, 53 and 56 minutes). A section added every Wednesday.