Thread for discussion of the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

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Because the only thread for The Handmaid's Tale at the moment is this ridiculous never-ending poll and I think the TV show deserves a proper thread of its own.

Best Album from Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale from the mixtapes the story is supposedly reconstructed from according to the Historical Notes in the back

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 6 June 2019 14:46 (one year ago) link

Season 3 now underway so have at it.

van dyke parks generator (anagram), Thursday, 6 June 2019 14:46 (one year ago) link

Too sadistic for my weak stomach. I gave up after the first episode of Season Two.

Herman Woke (cryptosicko), Friday, 7 June 2019 00:12 (one year ago) link

I am still trying to get through season 2. Not sure if I will pick it back up. The pacing is just too ho hum.

Yerac, Friday, 7 June 2019 00:19 (one year ago) link

Season 1 was impressive in its design and atmosphere. Season 2 was repetitive sadistic bollocks.

There are a number of illogical gaps in the world building, which is also a problem I have with the book.

chap, Friday, 7 June 2019 12:33 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

I don't know how much longer I can stick with a show this slow. I'm three episodes into the new season and haven't managed to stay awake through a whole episode yet.

nate woolls, Monday, 24 June 2019 03:39 (one year ago) link

SPOILERS (to the end of s3e03)

It's not that it's slow, it's that it repeatedly undoes plot development. At the end of S2, Serena is more or less an agent of the resistance. In S3 she has (implicitly) tried to kill herself by walking into the sea and actually burned her house down - neither of which are mentioned again (by the end of e05) and in e05 her actions in the first half are those of a completely different person to the back half. And Aunt Lydia has been 'killed' twice or three times to my recollection, and her actions in e04 (which are clearly supposed to be pivotal) are forgotten by e05.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Monday, 24 June 2019 08:53 (one year ago) link

Yeah, at least have the cast kinda should have been written off the show at this point. Make that three fourths.

Frederik B, Monday, 24 June 2019 09:04 (one year ago) link

the change in serena in this last episode was weird. so frankly is her attachment to this baby that isn't hers. Also I don't exactly know what they think they're going to get out of that video, it's not like Canada is going to agree to an extradition treaty; presumably having June there was just a threat directly to her husband that if he didn't do something they would hurt her.

akm, Monday, 24 June 2019 23:16 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

good fucking god this show was becoming a really depressing slog until this week. This show is like the Prisoner where it dangles a tiny ray of hope at you and then throws you in a fucking grave. At least this week the plot machinations seem to be moving in a more interesting direction than endlessly torturing June in new ways.

akm, Friday, 26 July 2019 20:01 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

Forgive the thread spam, but I wanted to note that this show's 2019 season is nominated in the 2019 ILX TV poll:

ILX's Best Television of 2019 Poll / VOTING AND CAMPAIGNING THREAD / Voting Ends January 31

If you like this show and you'd like to see it have a good showing in the poll (running in February) all you need to do is submit a ballot including it and your other favorites (4 minimum, 25 maximum, organized by your favorite to least favorite) to forksclovetofu at gmail by end of day today. It'll take five minutes; get to it!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 31 January 2020 14:28 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

BTW i just finished the Testaments (Atwood's sequel book) and it's really good.

akm, Monday, 27 April 2020 00:22 (one year ago) link

want to read it

been watching the third season of this, I like it but it is grim,

Dan S, Monday, 27 April 2020 01:32 (one year ago) link

ten months pass...

Obviously not looking for spoilers, but my general feelings after the first season are a) absorbing most of the way, b) Elisabeth Moss fantastic (expected that), Ann Dowd too (big Leftovers fan--if Dowd had been around in 1976, she would have played Sybil's mother) c) didn't find the ending all that credible (after everything we know about the Aunts and how casually brutal they can be, suddenly Aunt Lydia is "You shouldn't have done that--there'll be consequences!", and d) after a couple of S2 episodes, not sure how they sustain this for two more seasons, and then a new one. I guess you could say that of most good shows after the first season; some do manage quite well. Anyway, I'll be all caught up when S4 starts (April, I believe). We don't get Hulu here, but maybe it plays on Prime?

clemenza, Saturday, 13 March 2021 14:35 (one month ago) link

When June gags on the vitamin drink in S2/E4, I have to believe (whether book or just TV show) that's an allusion to Rosemary's Baby and Minnie's tannis-root concoction.

Not sure what to make of the music. It's far from central--which is fine, I'm easily distracted by that--but every couple of episodes, they seem to make an attempt at something. "American Girl" was good, but not as good as in The Silence of the Lambs. They bypassed what I thought was a sure thing: ending the one episode with "Hollaback Girl." There was an episode-ending thing I liked--newer, slow and atmospheric--that I'm too lazy to look up right now.

clemenza, Saturday, 13 March 2021 23:48 (one month ago) link

First really great musical moment midway through S2; you'll know what I mean if you've seen it.

clemenza, Sunday, 14 March 2021 15:28 (one month ago) link

I also used to wonder how they could sustain it, and it does turn into a miserable slog for a bit, but the story definitely advances in interesting ways in season 3, I felt.

akm, Sunday, 14 March 2021 15:42 (one month ago) link

One thing they're obviously going to do is continue to fill in backstory; they've layered on so much by now it's hard sometimes to sort out chronology. Not having read the novel, I wondering when they cross the line into non-novel embellishment. Maybe they already have.

clemenza, Sunday, 14 March 2021 15:46 (one month ago) link

oh they crossed that line in the first season.

akm, Sunday, 14 March 2021 17:27 (one month ago) link

Another way they stretch this out is to go back and forth endlessly on a couple of things: the June/Serena relationship (a little kinship/they hate each other) and June's overall outlook (defiant insurrectionary/resigned and broken). I realize they account for a lot of the show's drama, but it can get wearing. I'm almost onto S3: the acting and look of it are still strong.

clemenza, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 02:55 (one month ago) link

S3/E4: Aunt Lydia's way of doing things is over, it's finished. Even she knows that.

clemenza, Saturday, 20 March 2021 02:48 (one month ago) link

This has changed so much in the space of about three episodes, I'm basically lost--or at least there was a transition that I missed. June, who logically should have been killed a dozen times, is now brokering deals behind the scenes.

clemenza, Saturday, 20 March 2021 02:50 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

Granted, I haven't yet seen episode 3, so maybe that will allay some fears, but I've found this season frustrating already. I really like what they are doing in Canada, I like the diplomatic concerns triggered by the Waterford's arrest, it's interesting to see that develop. And the probing into the trauma that these kids went through in Gilead could be good, but I also appreciate anything that gives Samira Wiley more screen time.

My problem is with June being seemingly stuck in this endless loop of "do brave shit to undercut Gilead, narrowly escape, get recaptured, get tortured, repeat". It's beginning to stretch credulity that Gilead just doesn't kill her, considering all of the seemingly minor infractions that get people killed in Gilead all the time. I get that she's the driver, but the loop feels like wheel spinning while the other characters and storylines are actually moving forward.

Again, I still mostly enjoy the show - there is some great cinematography and I always love the attention paid to the architecture of Gilead and the stark contrast of what we've seen in some of the Canadian admin buildings. And, as noted, that scene with "Ripple" is beautiful and was really unexpected.

Maybe season three rights the ship wrt to June's storyline, but I was a little annoyed when she got captured again at the end.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:00 (one week ago) link

Shit, apologies if I should have spoiler tagged. I sometimes forget that's now an option, hopefully most interested folks have seen the first two of the three released eps already.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 3 May 2021 17:02 (one week ago) link

Found S4's first episode boring, although the music--Aretha Franklin, Carole King, Grateful Dead--was encouraging.

clemenza, Monday, 3 May 2021 17:14 (one week ago) link


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