The Handmaid’s Tale is already the most talked-about new shows of 2017, and it’s coming to our shores exclusively on Lightbox from June 8. Alex Casey tells you why you should be psyched.
Adapted from Margaret Atwood’s terrifying dystopia first imagined in her 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is a too-real vision of the future. Set in Gilead, where the environment has been pillaged and women’s rights and reproductive capacities are managed by a totalitarian regime. This was a place that used to be better known as the United States until, you know, covfefe.
With power structures determined to restore “traditional values”, the story follows one of the last remaining fertile women who is forced into a life of sexual servitude in the Commanders household. Set with the tall task of repopulating the world, Offred must negotiate the oppressive obstacles of Gilead to find her daughter that was stolen away from her. In a world where you can’t trust anyone as far as their bonnet brim, any wrong move could end it all.
Who do you need to know?
Elisabeth Moss as Offred
The Top of the Lake and Mad Men star continues to go from strength to strength as Offred, our fierce heroine in an actual hellscape. Her performance has been touted as “unflinching, vital and scary as hell” by The
Gilead New York Times.
Joseph Fiennes as the Commander
As the stomach-churning oppressor, Fiennes turns up the traumatising dial further than he ever could have in American Horror Story.
Samira Wiley as Moira
Just when you thought you had seen the last of this Orange is the New Black star.
Alexis Bledel as Ofglen
The journey from a Gilmore Girl to a Handmaid is a harrowing one indeed, and you can count on Gilead to devastatingly shred Bledel’s girl next door vibe.
What else to look out for?
Look for an exciting Margaret Atwood cameo in episode one, and for a disturbing number of parallels between how the women of Gilead are treated and how gender divides continue to play out in 2017. And, if you haven’t already, look out for a copy of the book and power through it over the long weekend. You’ll need the mental preparation.
How to watch it?
The first nine episodes will be available to watch exclusively on Lightbox from 8 June, with the final episode launching express hours after it airs in Gilead/the US on the 15 June.