Weekly episode or marathon? Bridgerton shows that the problem is Part 1 and Part 2

The division into parts hampered the development of Bridgerton Season 3

Image Credit: Netflix

The debate between releasing weekly episodes or full seasons resurfaced with force recently with the premiere of the second season of House of the Dragon. HBO has always chosen to release its series weekly, as has Apple TV+ and, occasionally, Prime Video when it wants to make the conversation about a production last longer. With Netflix, however, the strategy has been different. A pioneer in releasing complete seasons at once, the streaming platform found itself losing momentum in successful productions very quickly. 

Netflix series tend to become the most talked about of the moment by a large margin... but the conversation disappears in just over a week. Thus, in recent years, the service has adopted a different strategy: it does not give up, in a way, the marathon, but still extends the success of the productions with the release of chapters in two parts. It was like this with the fourth year of Stranger Things, with the last seasons of The Crown and The Witcher, and, now, with the third season of Bridgerton.

Yes, the separation, in fact, kept Bridgerton among the most-watched series on the platform for the entire month that separated Part 1 (released on May 16th) from Part 2 (which premiered on June 13th). But, in addition to generating complaints about the wait from all types of fans, the separation also harms the viewer's absorption and enjoyment of the story. On the one hand, the division embraces more detailed discussion, as well as that brought by the release of weekly episodes. In Bridgerton, the “carriage scene” between Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton) at the end of the fourth episode, for example, would never have generated such a buzz if the audience followed it up with the “mirror scene”. , in episode five, which is even more sensual.

Despite this, the separation still brings with it some of the worst elements of the marathon. After all, at least four episodes are released at once and, most of the time, the focus of the discussion will always end up being the revelation or plot twist at the end. With the third season of Bridgerton, specifically, the debate ended up becoming much more about the change in Francesca's (Hannah Dodd) story concerning the books than the main couple.

Even worse than that, however, is the fact that returning to a series four weeks after having binge-watched all the previous episodes completely loses the continuity of the story. The feeling it gives is that many things come “out of nowhere” and that relationships are not properly developed. Maybe they were, but they were in the previous part and, perhaps, they were suffocated by the initial marathon or forgotten while waiting for the second part. With Colin and Penelope, the feeling that remains is not that of Part 1, which developed every step of the friendship between two already-known characters and, finally, made them realize that they should be together. 

The feeling is that of Part 2, which delivered rushed dialogues between the couple and created an atmosphere of tension much greater than the romance between them due to Lady Whistledown's secret. If everything had come out at once, the development of the romance would probably have been much more noticeable and the tension even more agonizing. If it had been published weekly, there would be little time to forget or lose continuity with the previous chapter. In any case, the result would be better for Bridgerton than it was with the division in two.