TV Review: Series Adaptation of “Queenie” Doesn’t Live Up to the “Black ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary'” Hype

Candice Carty-Williams’ novel Queenie gets an international television adaptation, debuting in the U.S. on Hulu this Friday, June 7th. Described as a “Black Bridget Jones’ Diary," the story follows a young British Jamaican woman as she tries to balance finding her soul mate and moving up in her career. And with Candice Carty-Williams serving as showrunner on the series, fans of the source material are presumably in for a faithful adaptation.



At the start of the series, Queenie Jenkins (Dionne Brown) gets dumped and moves into a shared flat. Her office career seems to be going nowhere, and every time Queenie tries to get ahead, she feels pushed back down. Still, she’s determined to make things work, and with encouragement from her best friend Kyazike (Bellah), Queenie thrusts herself back into the dating pool.

I’ve been a fan of the Bridget Jones’ Diary film series since 2001, but have never read any of the books by Helen Fielding. Friends who have read them have lamented that they wished the films would’ve been more faithfully adapted, so I imagine Queenie readers will be delighted by this coproduction between Lionsgate Television and Onyx Collective. But as someone who is game for both romantic comedies and British humor, I found Queenie surprisingly hard to get into.

As the marketing suggests, “There’s a lot to unpack,” and for a half-hour comedy, Queenie’s earliest hurdle rises from throwing too many characters at the viewer too quickly. It’s hard to care much about Queenie’s boyfriend, Tom (Jon Pointing), who is introduced in the midst of a fight and then quickly out of sight. Therefore, Queenie’s prolonged pining over him doesn’t feel as earned as it would be following a more traditional relationship-encapsulating montage. The most appealing characters in Queenie’s orbit also don’t get enough screen time, at least in the three advanced episodes I had the opportunity to see. And as she embarks on a series of bad dates and hookups, the threads laid down don’t feel like they’re weaving together enough to hold onto your attention.

While Queenie is a comedy, the half-hour episodes progressively become more dramatic, tapping into heavy themes of past trauma, abuse, and racism. Like the novel, I’m sure the series will resonate with viewers who feel particularly represented through this story. But I’m sad to say that I wasn’t compelled to want to watch more as I’m otherwise a fan of this type of show.

I give Queenie 3 out of 5 stars.

Queenie can be streamed beginning Friday, June 7th, exclusively on Hulu.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).