I remember hearing about a series last year that was taking TV by storm called The Handmaid’s Tale that’s based on Margaret Atwood’s best-selling novel which was also made into a movie back in 1990. So when the chance to watch and review this series came along, I just had to see what all the fuss was about in The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One. With ten intense episodes that grip you and don’t let go, it’s a well done but disturbing show that will stick with you long after it’s over.
The setting is a dystopia-like place called Gilead in what was formerly the United States before pollution and other environmental disasters killed off most of the human race and made most of them sterile. Now a twisted regime rules things that treat women as property as we follow the life of Offred (Elisabeth Moss) who is one of the last fertile woman in the world. She’s also a handmaid in the Commander’s household where the women there are forced into sexual servitude and raising the resulting children in order to repopulate the world. Before she was forced to be a part of this, Offred had a daughter that was taken away from her, and she’s doing all she can to survive and find out where she is. This means keeping her head low while also trying to stay on the good side of the Commanders and their evil wives, and of course her fellow handmaids who all have their own secrets and any of them could potentially be a spy for Gilead where one wrong word or deed means death or worse.
To say anymore would ruin a great series, and to say that it’s intense to sit through is a huge understatement. I felt like I was walking on pins and needles along with Offred as she does her best to navigate this harsh and shady world where even the smallest slip up means the end or losing body parts. It also helps that the cast is spot on in their roles from the cruel wives of the Commanders, to the seemingly innocent and kind characters that you can never be sure if they’re hiding some nasty agendas.
I can’t say it enough, but I’m glad to had watched this on Blu-ray as the high definition visuals and sounds make all of the details come to life and seem to put you there in the thick of everything with Offred. As far as the extras go, there’s “From Script to Screen” that breaks down the premiere episode and a critical scene I dare not spoil. They’re also interviews with showrunner/executive producer Bruce Miller, and Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd and Madeline Brewer where they discuss the episode and others that pulled viewers into the show. Speaking of which, “Hope in Gilead” goes into what makes the show such a hit as the cast and crew make comparisons to the show against some of the modern political topics of today.
If you’re looking for a gripping, suspenseful and highly intense series to watch, you need look no further than The Handmaid’s Tale: Season One. Not since the recent take on The Man in the High Castle have I seen a show that just grabs you and doesn’t let go even after it ends. Just be careful around these handmaids, as you’ll want to make it back for the upcoming second season which I can’t wait to watch.