Now that the second season of Ladies of London has finished airing in both the US and the UK, I figured it was time to wrap up the season across the pond. I personally loved watching my London Ladies for 10 weeks and am very sad to see the season come to an end. So, I'm doing my second-ever non-Housewives feature to break down what made the season so fabulously addictive, how it improved from Season 1 and what could change for (fingers crossed!) a potential third season.
WHY IT WORKED
- Attack of the culture clash: My opinion is that the show is at its best when it feels quintessentially British. After all, one of the things I love most about it is that the Ladies give us a peek at a different culture by taking us inside the ranks of high society across the Atlantic. Therefore, my favorite parts of the season were the most decidedly British moments - i.e. the shooting weekend in the English countryside, the Scandinavian Christmas party, London Fashion Week, the trips to castles and aristocratic estates, etc. And of course, it's an awful lot of fun watching the American girls try to adjust to this new world of titles, castles and stiff upper lips.
- New cast members: The additions of a bonafide baroness and Midwestern girl-turned-Lady Montagu were the perfect way to inject new life into the season and replace Caprice Bourret and Noelle Reno. After spending Season 1 in a "Friend of..." capacity, Julie Montagu took center stage by finding her voice and growing a pair of unbelievable balls, and her Cinderella story is something made in reality TV heaven. Caroline Fleming brought yet another dose of credibility to the show when she burst onto the scene as literal Danish royalty. Plus, I appreciated that both new women fit seamlessly and naturally into the group through their connections to the more veteran cast members, rather than being randomly forced into the group.
- Dramatic dust-ups: The civilized drama hit the ground running this year. It's safe to say Hurricane Juliet dominated the first half of the season - whether she was feuding with former BFF Marissa over their dueling Thanksgivings and broken friendship, freaking out about queen bee Caroline Stanbury humping her husband in a unicorn onesie or battling it out with Julie over her fight with Caroline. However, Juliet eventually learned her lesson about stirring up trouble and spent the second half of the season in the backseat, ceding the spotlight to the Julie/Annabelle and Annabelle/Caroline Stanbury feuds. In addition, we were blessed with Cougargate and Caroline Fleming's incredible ability to hold a grudge against Marissa over the course of months of filming. Though there was not necessarily a singular storyline that pulled the season's narrative together, I actually appreciated the season of smaller feuds and fights between the Ladies. See how nice it feels to actually put an issue to bed and move onto the next one?
- The trip to Denmark: Now that we were past the prototype year, the Ladies finally got to take a cast trip to Copenhagen and the castle where Caroline Fleming grew up near Svenborg. The trip exposed viewers to yet another new culture and, even more, the aristocracy within it. We got to see life in a castle, with formal dinner parties straight out of a modern-day Downton Abbey and experience Copenhagen through the eyes of one of its biggest celebrities. Plus, being in such close quarters acted as a catalyst for the simmering tensions between Annabelle, Julie and Caroline Stanbury to finally boil over into active storylines.
WHAT COULD CHANGE
- Reunion please!: Early in the season, I tweeted to Andy that I was dying to see a Ladies of London reunion this year. To my pleasant surprise, Caroline Stanbury tweeted me back saying "watch this space" and then...nothing ever happened. What I could surmise from Caroline's tweet is that a reunion was likely in the works, but ultimately fell through. Just a guess. I get that the logistics of flying Andy to London to film a reunion would be tricky, but PLEASE make this happen next year. A good reunion is a necessary final ingredient to any Bravo hit and the Ladies deserve one - preferably in Royal Albert Hall with everyone dressed in their most glamorous McQueen gowns...
- Cast shake-ups: Casting turnover is probably one of the few inevitabilities in the Bravoverse, and by the end of the season it seemed that queen bee Caroline was gunning to oust Annabelle from the group. However, the dynamic between the Ladies was really left up in the air by the end of the finale and I for one would love to see what happens next for all of them. Therefore, I would actually love if the cast stayed exactly the same, and maybe added one new Lady to the mix. Pretty please don't fire anyone, OK Bravo? (However, if there's a gun to my head, I'd have to vote Caroline Fleming to be rotated out, but still...just keep them all.)
- More episodes: I have to admit that I was a little bit bummed when I found out this season was only going to be 10 episodes long, just two more than the first season. There's more than enough going on in the lives of the Ladies (and in the London social scene) to warrant a longer filming period and a higher episode count. Can we at least get in the 16-17 range next year? And while we're on the subject of more, how about having all of the Ladies on WWHL over the course of the season instead of just Caroline S. and Annabelle?
Season 2: Overall, I really adored this season, and compared to Season 1, it's the clear winner. It expanded on everything the debut season got right while replacing the Ladies I didn't need to see any more of by the Season 1 finale. Dear Bravo gods, please give us a Season 3!
Season 1: Looking back, Season 1 really feels like a prototype for the show that became Season 2. With only eight episodes, it was over almost before it even got properly started. Also, filming complications including Annabelle's horse-racing injury and Caprice leaving early for the birth of her son (via surrogate) in America messed with the cohesion of the season, and ultimately cancelled the baby shower/going-away party that would have served as the proper season finale.