For a show with multiple strong and complex women characters, like we see in “Big Little Lies,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” is arguably one of the best examples of recent years — after all, the entire series is about women fighting for their rights. Based on the novel of the same name by author Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid’s Tale” takes place in a dystopian society, Gilead, in which fertility is scarce and fertile women are forced into becoming handmaids. As handmaids, they’re assigned a wealthy couple and are forced to have sex with their commander in the hopes of getting pregnant and giving birth to a child for the wealthy couple to then raise. The handmaid would then be assigned another couple to do the whole horrendous process again. The series focuses on June (Elisabeth Moss)— renamed Offred, as in “Of Fred,” when she is assigned to Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) — as she fights back against the system, determined to be reunited with the daughter who was taken from her.
The show has been praised for its strong writing and the ways in which it tackles its heavy themes, as well as the performances from its talented cast. The Guardian wrote, “For many, the anguish of watching won’t be worth it. But the vision of a totalitarian society is realized so fully that the story remains gripping and its message vital.” Indeed, anyone who has seen the series will agree that is incredibly difficult to watch — but also all the more satisfying because of its tough nature, one that feels all too timely.
Meanwhile, fans of the 1986 novel will be happy to hear that it does its source material justice. Deborah Ross from The Mail on Sunday, wrote, “‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is one of my favourite novels, so they’re bound to mess that up, but get this: it’s incredible. It’ll blow you away.”