The Buccaneers is the new Bridgerton

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This stylised period series about five young American women making their way in England has distinct shades of Netflix’s mega-hit – and deserves to be as successful, writes Neil Armstrong.

It’s been so expertly made that you have little choice but to just surrender to it. Resistance is futile. It looks absolutely beautiful. The costume designers have fully understood the assignment. And, take a bow, bonny Scotland, where it was filmed, and which doubles for New York, Cornwall and London. The music, from the likes of Warpaint, Bikini Kill and, of course, the mighty Swift, is excellent.

The up-and-coming Froseth is a very likeable lead. Nan’s moxie takes a knock in the first episode when she learns a hurtful family secret, and Froseth plays her with a beguiling mixture of defiance and vulnerability. 

There’s a suitably detestable villain in Conchita’s brother-in-law, the dastardly, gaslighting James (Barney Fishwick), described by his own sister, Honoria, as “a monster”. A sweet clandestine romance develops when the strait-laced, repressed Honoria (Mia Threapleton) allows Mabel to loosen her strait-laces.

There are, amidst all the froth and fun, some gritty themes such as abuse, coercive control and grooming. And when Conchita, a woman of colour, feels rejected by the titled and entitled white family she has married into and asks “What if they look at my baby the same way they look at me?” it is not difficult to think of a contemporary parallel the creators may be going for.

And although Apple TV+ is remaining officially tight-lipped at present, certain plot points suggest a second season is a certainty. So, the makers seem to think they have a hit – and so do I.  

★★★★☆

The first three episodes of The Buccaneers is streamed on Apple TV+  on 8 November, followed by new episodes weekly, every Wednesday.

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