Apple TV+’s ‘The Buccaneers’ follows the story of five young women and their quest to find a perfect match for themselves. Over the course of eight episodes, the story takes many twists and turns as the girls face some harsh realities, especially when it comes to their expectations about marriage. The main character is a girl named Nan St. George who is caught between two love interests while also dealing with the revelation of a secret about her past and the influence it would have on her future. While the story has been delivered with a modern touch, its time period and setting play an important part in how things turn out for the girls. SPOILERS AHEAD
When Does The Buccaneers Take Place?
The events in ‘The Buccaneers’ take place in the 1870s in The Gilded Age, around the time when a lot of Americans became the “new money” people in the society and tried to find a place amongst the elite circles. Families like St. George, Closson, and Elmsworth in the show are all new money, and their desire to fit in with the old crowd is what drives their actions, for the most part. Money also becomes an important part of what they have to offer to the men, especially as the girls navigate the English aristocracy, believing that marrying into royalty would get them the ultimate stamp of approval.
The 19th-century setting of the story reverberates from the young years of Edith Wharton, on whose novel the show is based. The author was a young girl and was introduced into society during the time the show is set. She wrote the novel in the 1930s, but the story and the characters are the reflection of her own experiences and what she saw happening around her at the time.
The 1870s setting also puts a lot of boundaries around the young protagonists of the show, forcing them to make decisions that they probably wouldn’t in the 21st century. Despite (or perhaps because of) this, the show has been given a modern touch, giving the audience a means to connect with the story, even if there is a time difference of more than 150 years between them and the characters.
Where Does The Buccaneers Take Place?
The story of ‘The Buccaneers’ begins in New York, with the wedding of Conchita Closson to Lord Richard Marable. They meet each other over the summer, fall in love, and have a hasty wedding despite the disapproval of Richard’s parents. However, this opens the door for Conchita’s friends, including Nan, to enter the English society, where they pursue their own romantic interests, hoping to find suitable matches for themselves.
Most of the action in the show takes place in and around London. They attend a debutante’s ball, declaring themselves available for the wedding season, hoping to catch the eye of the right man. While a long, hard road waits for the other three, Nan quickly finds a match or two for herself, even if unintentionally. For a while, she is sent to Cornwall, and during her journey, she crosses paths with Theo, the Duke of Tintagel. While things progress between her and Theo, she also meets and develops feelings for Guy Thwarte.
As the other girls also find love interests for themselves, the story goes back and forth from London to New York, with the latter half of the season getting more invested in Nan’s love triangle and keeping the audience more in the Tintagel Castle in Cornwall. This back-and-forth isn’t limited to just balls and parties and love affairs. The changing locations show us the different lives the girls live in America and England and how it influences them. This rings especially true for Conchita, who finds it difficult to settle in London, as her in-laws remain completely hostile to her despite her efforts to win their favor.
The cultural differences between America and England form the core of ‘The Buccaneers.’ The protagonists are used to a certain way of life, a certain freedom that they have enjoyed in their society, even if on the outside. But things change considerably when they go to England, and all their dreams are dashed as they come face to face with reality, realizing that things often don’t turn out the way you want them.
Read More: Where is The Buccaneers Filmed?