Here's why Samsung's Bridgerton Galaxy S22 launch video didn't work

Samsung Galaxy S22 Bridgerton
(Image credit: Future)

It was an admittedly cheesy idea: Take the hottest Netflix property this side of Squid Games and use it as a platform to introduce Samsung's new Galaxy S22 flagship smartphone.

The 210-year distance between that fictional, Regency Period history and the current smartphone-obsessed society should've been fodder for both amusement and fascination.

What would Bridgerton's Queen Charlotte make of these devices? How might she and members of her coterie use them? It had the potential to be a genre-busting moment unlike any other seen in the annals of product launches.

The reality was a plodding, almost three-minute-long segment that felt as flat as the canvases painted with images of the new Android smartphones. 

It wasn't as sexy or intriguing as a Netflix Bridgerton episode or dynamic as the typical Galaxy sizzle reel. 

Soon after one inventor comically introduced a raincoat, Lord Traister triumphantly waltzes into the scene and introduces - wait for it - paintings of the new devices. That's right, the first time Samsung shows off its latest hardware, it's as a series of oil paintings. Traister announces that this is "The Samsung Galaxy S22." When Queen Charlotte asks what that is, he tells her, "A correspondence device that produces moving pictures."

Hard to imagine a smartphone being described in a more reductive way. Granted, it's hard to describe any smartphone as simply being one thing or the other. They're almost more akin to digital Swiss army knives.

As the Queen tries to make sense of what she's seeing (and we're right there with her), she asks her servants to close the curtains for "better lighting." While one might've thought this would lead to some wordplay or clever revelation about Samsung's "Nightography," it's really only so the Queen can squint at the paintings in candlelight.

Like the rest of us, the Queen is concerned with some of the specs. She asks about "the large circles," to which Lord Traister explains that they are "the large sensor camera."

Clearly, the Queen doesn't know what a camera is, but she doesn't really care, either. Instead, she demands the painting - again, no real hardware insight - be brought closer.

With her face inches from the canvas, the Queen finally expresses more curiosity about the circles, "What do they do?" Lord Traister explains, "It captures exceptional night shots with image stabilization."

The Queen says she has no idea what that means. Oddly, Traister says he has no idea, either. That's as close as this clip comes to actual humor.

Finally, Traister asks the Queen what she would say if he told her the Samsung Galaxy S22 cameras "have a 30X Zoom." This triggers a new demand from the Queen: All the phone paintings must be rotated around her. It would've made more sense if she'd asked everyone to form up into a square. If you've watched enough Samsung launch events, you know they love squares.

The clip ends with Lord Traister admitting the phones won't be available to the Queen for 210 or 209 years. One must assume that Traister's head was parted from his body soon after.

A thrilling launch video this was not. Instead of finding the obvious tension between a 21st-century device and 19th-century royal society, we got paintings and head-scratching conversations.

At the very least, Samsung and Netflix could've given us an exciting mini Bridgerton episode. In hindsight, maybe Samsung should have gone with a Squid Game spoof. Now that would've been intense.

These phones definitely deserved better than what they got.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.