money can't buy you sense

Bridgertons, Ranked

Who’s the real family jewel? Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

The Bridgerton family is the envy of everyone in the ton, a showcase of “four perfectly handsome sons and four perfectly beautiful daughters.” Named alphabetically, Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth are good-looking, well mannered, and, of course, monied. But money simply can’t buy sense.

Throughout the show, the Bridgertons are hindered by the ignorance that aristocratic privilege affords. Anthony fantasizes about the perfect transactional marriage, Daphne somehow made it to the altar without knowing a single thing about sex, and Benedict … let’s just hope Benedict isn’t done soul-searching. For all the stuffy Regency sensibilities showrunner Chris Van Dusen throws out, the Bridgertons still cling to them as if they got dropped into this colorful new world Enchanted style. Where the best heroes and heroines of this genre are precocious, painfully self-aware, and armed with a purpose, the Bridgertons sure are pretty. Always down for a little sibling rivalry, we ranked them (including the newest Bridgerton) by utter cluelessness to find the true family diamond. Besides Newton, that is. Newton is the best.

Spoilers ahead for seasons one and two of Bridgerton.

9. Benedict Bridgerton

Photo: Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 4
Owning his birthright as the second son, Benedict (Luke Thompson) experiments with a bohemian lifestyle as an artist, gets intrigued by gay men, but opts for a tryst with the modiste instead. Queerbaiting in 2021? Simply won’t stand for it. In an upcoming season, just let Benedict marry a man. (Sorry, fans of the books.) It’ll probably require less paperwork than a hetero marriage did back then. Eloise is right when she snaps him out of his Byronic malaise in episode three, saying, “If you desire the sun and the moon, all you have to do is shoot at the sky. Some of us cannot.” What sort of hero gets bodied by his little sister like that?

Season-two ranking: No. 9
I experienced two major moments of disappointment this season. The first was during the finale, when we cut to a future in which everything we just spent eight episodes agonizing over is seemingly a distant, perhaps even pleasant memory. Gonna need these loose strings tied up tighter than Cressida Cowper’s corset ASAP because the second moment of disappointment was when I realized season three (or at least book three) follows the most detestable Bridgerton this season, Benedict. His season-two growth is so nonexistent I almost want to refer you, dear reader, back to my previous sentiments, but some of us don’t just give up when we have to face reality. Unable to follow through on his ambitions of being an artist, Benedict’s greatest challenge next season won’t be finding a wife to fall in love with him; it’ll be getting anyone to recognize him as anything other than Anthony No. 2.

8. Daphne Hastings, Duchess

Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 7
Being the eldest daughter comes with a heap of responsibility, whether it’s 1813 or 2021. Unlike Anthony, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) has made her duties her whole personality. Maybe this explains why the teen has precisely zero friends to tell her about the birds and the bees. Society girls like the Bridgertons and the Featheringtons are sheltered, sure, but certainly Cressida Cowper knows what goes on behind chamber doors. Competitive and used to perfection, Daphne believes there’s nothing she — or love — can’t fix with a Disney princess–esque determination. It’s just not realistic, and comes off as insensitive when she falls in love with a traumatized Black duke.

Season-two ranking: No. 8
Daphne’s homemaking destiny looks good on her. Her husband isn’t mentioned except when referring to his dukedom or through his progeny, Augie. How is the duke adjusting to a complete upheaval of the life he knew and bringing a child he swore never to have into the world? They could’ve made anything up. Instead, Daphne tries to be in Anthony’s ear the way her mother counseled her throughout her romance, though her advice is about as helpful as having flowers coordinated by meaning. I suppose the girl plays a smart game of pall-mall? She can have that.

7. Anthony Bridgerton, Viscount

Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 8
For the first half of the season, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) is our most tangible villain as he sabotages Daphne’s chances at love with such a passion it feels like he wants to marry her himself. As he struggles between fulfilling his familial duties and following his heart (read: fucking an opera singer), Anthony disregards the feelings of the women in his life until they have to put him in his place. By the time he finishes self-destructing and sorts out his feelings, he’s several steps behind his mother, sister, and his love interest. More interested in a roadside bang than a ball, his mistress (Sabrina Bartlett) found someone who doesn’t make her compromise and got to shut the door in Anthony’s face. Didn’t they tell you Siena’s a savage?

Season-two ranking: No. 7
Anthony is so committed to his way of thinking he didn’t recognize love when it rode right past him on a horse. His points for growth come from the fact that he was able to meet someone even more stubborn and principled than he is. When he should’ve been concerned that a severe bee allergy runs in the family, he was more worried about losing Kate. That’s one way to work through your trauma.

6. Violet Bridgerton, Dowager Viscountess

Photo: Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 6
Oh my God? Teach your kids about sex? It’s the thing that brought them into the world, so it’s definitely your responsibility to at least explain the *ahem* broad strokes. Anthony, Benedict, and Colin get by on the ol’ “boys will be boys,” but the incurious Daphne clearly needed more than “The two of you care for each other deeply. When all is said and done, nothing else matters.” Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) considers herself less bloodthirsty than the other mamas, hopeful that her kids will find love matches, but let’s not forget that she and Lady Danbury plot to set Daphne up with the Duke of Hastings long before the scheme crosses his pretty little mind.

Season-two ranking: No. 6
Assuming we’ll see more of Mama Bridgerton in the spinoff Shonda has planned, this season’s flashbacks help establish a little more about what she went through after her husband’s death and what’s driving her as she marries off her brood. She clearly has a soft spot for Anthony, guilty for all he took on as head of the household. How will she respond to the other Bridgerton boys getting married?

5. Colin Bridgerton

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 5
Colin (Luke Newton) nearly risked it all to add a swirl to the Bridgerton family line. We get it, but it’s not what the cunning Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker), a distant cousin to the Featheringtons, deserves. While race doesn’t seem to be an issue for the third Bridgerton son, it clearly comes up for her cousins and Anthony, who forbids Colin from marrying her despite eagerly marrying off his sister. After her pregnancy is revealed, Colin tells Marina he would have cared for her child as his own, and she doesn’t believe it for a second. Like Daphne, he has honest intentions but no real understanding of the hardships Marina faces as a Black unmarried mother, making his word just as foolishly laughable as Anthony’s is to Siena. He’s gonna have to get it together if he wants to keep up with Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan).

Season-two ranking: No. 5
Colin comes home from his world tour no more worldly than when he left. He still needs an explicit reality check from Marina, as if marrying another dude and raising twins with him (aw!) wasn’t enough. It might have actually knocked some sense into him even if it’s not the realization that he should be with Penelope. He manages to see through a Featherington scheme and support a Black-owned business! The people of the ton should know to bet on William Mondrich by now.

4. Eloise Bridgerton

Photo: Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 2
Seeing the pressure Daphne puts on herself, it’s no wonder Eloise (Claudia Jessie) is so staunchly anti-marriage. She wants nothing to do with the sacrifices her mother and sister have made. Her real fears about marriage and childbirth are tossed aside the louder she expresses them. “It must be taxing,” she tells her older sister, “the game of pretend you feel you must endlessly maintain.” Still, she is a Bridgerton. Eloise is unashamed of making her opinions quite clear, even if they alienate her from the other women in the ton, including her best friend, Penelope.

Season-two ranking: No. 4
Eloise is so sure she’s better than the rest of the ladies of the ton. And yet she fell into one of the patriarchy’s earliest traps: ditching your BFF for a boy. Personally, I wouldn’t play so fast and loose with my only friend. Eloise has cause for shock upon finding out Penelope is Lady Whistledown, but turning on her is not only unhelpful, it’s also pretty un-feminist of her. Has she not gotten to the “women support women” part of the pamphlets?

3. Francesca and Gregory Bridgerton (tie)

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Season-one Ranking: No. 3
We’ve come to the Bridgertons with the least amount of screen time. The “bonus Jonas” to Anthony, Benedict, and Colin’s Kevin, Joe, and Nick, Gregory (Will Tilston) will likely have his time to shine in future seasons, just like how Frankie Jonas is currently becoming a TikTok star. Francesca (Ruby Stokes), who spent much of the season off studying pianoforte with an aunt, so far seems more chill than either of her big sisters. Obviously we need a lot more data, but for now they’re ranked here, noting their absences. Yaaasss, Bridgertons, give us nothing.

Season-two Ranking: No. 3
Gregory has a sweet moment asking Anthony what their father was like, though I find it hard to imagine it took them this long to have this conversation. There are photos of Edmund everywhere? As for Francesca … one word: forgettable.

2. Kate Bridgerton née Sharma, Viscountess

Honorary mention: Newton! Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Not only does she have the privilege of not being a Bridgerton by blood, the newest addition to the family, by marriage, proved herself to be less reliant on the views of the ton in one season than they have in their entire lifetimes despite all the freedom that wealth and status affords them. Kate is shorted by the loss of her parents and almost loses her own great love because of the same societal confines. It’s a shame we don’t really get to see her stand up for what she deserves. Congrats to her for what she does lying down, though …

1. Hyacinth Bridgerton

Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Season-one ranking: No. 1
Sure, she’s not a main character, but as the youngest Bridgerton, Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) didn’t witness her mama and papa’s great love and doesn’t face any of the pressure her elder siblings feel. With three strong sisters — determined Daphne, bright Eloise, and the talented Francesca — as examples, clever Hyacinth talks back to her brothers, laughs in Lord Berbrooke’s face, and has the best bangs in the family (no bangs). Ladies and gentlefolk, we’ve found this season’s incomparable!

Season-two ranking: No. 1
Diamond-in-the-making Hyacinth maintained her position as the best Bridgerton with a skill everyone else on this list could benefit from learning: minding one’s own business.

Bridgertons, Ranked