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More casting news: Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel Joins Hulu's Handmaid's Tale in Major Role

Bledel, who is coming off of Netflix’s four-part Gilmore Girls revival, will play the recurring role of Ofglen, Offred’s fellow Handmaid and companion (get a first look at her above). At first, Ofglen seems like a pious rule-follower, loyal to the oppressive Gilead system, but she turns out to be daring and subversive. Fun additional fact free of charge: Bledel’s character is also a lesbian.

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Good news! This is a relief:

 
ETA: This tweet was in response to someone asking whether it will air in the UK. So good news for Brits AND Canadians!
Edited by Fex
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Oh that's heartening! I feel it would be something of a travesty if we couldn't watch this, of all things, in Canada. So I will definitely be watching for this announcement.

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On 4/15/2017 at 2:30 PM, Brn2bwild said:

It's getting fantastic reviews so far.  Can't wait to see it.  (Note: links contain mild spoilers, though not really spoilers if you've read the book.)

The Handmaid's Tale Gets An A From Us, and Here's Why

The Handmaid's Tale is a chilling expansion on Margaret Atwood's novel

The Handmaid's Tale: TV Review

I am with you, I can't wait to watch this.

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I wonder if Hulu will have an option to binge the entire 1st season if it is filmed like they have for another brand new show that I started to watch tonight on Free Form called Famous in Love?

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2 hours ago, numbersix said:

What time should we expect the episodes to drop on Hulu? Is it right at midnight or later in the day, in which timezone?

On thefutoncritic it lists the start time as 3:01am. I am on Eastern time, so I guess it's midnight Pacific.

Edited by Arynm
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http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-allen-handmaids-tale-20170502-story.html

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The 77-year-old Atwood herself chimed in, telling the Los Angeles Times’ Patt Morrison: “We’re no longer making fiction — we’re making a documentary.”

 

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The idea, in these mostly liberal media outlets, seems to be that under President Trump, America has become — or will become terrifyingly soon — a militant Bible-based patriarchy (hello Texas, hello Mike Pence) in which women have no rights, especially no reproductive rights, and are divided into rigidly stratified social classes whose very names give their status away: privileged, churchy Wives at the top, Econowives in the lower social orders, and cook-and-bottle-washer Marthas who do the housework for the Wives and their powerful husbands, the Commanders.

At the very bottom are Handmaids, political pariahs (wrong ideas, such as feminism) who become the literal property of the top-dog men and are forced to bear their children. (The Wives suffer from environmental pollution-related fertility problems.) As the New Republic’s Sarah Jones, one of the “timely” crowd, explains, “Of course, we don’t divide women into classes of Marthas, Handmaids, Econowives, and Wives; we call them ‘the help,’ ‘surrogates,’ the working class, and the one percent

 

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I listened to an interview with Joseph Fiennes today on CBC Radio2. It was interesting to hear him talk about his take on the Commander and the particular influences he took from the book. I read the book when it first came out but not since then, so some of the information he passed along was long forgotten by me, but it's certainly going to add to my viewing now. I recommend the interview to you all.

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7 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

Yay!  Although I am surprised. I was under the impression that the first (and only) season would be a dramatization of the book...so what are they going to do for season 2?  Maybe Margaret Atwood is frantically working on that second Gilead book for this?

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I know she's talked about setting another book within the same universe.  I would guess though that it would include lots of expanded stories kind of like last episode's adventures into the non justice system and unnecessary "corrective" surgery, none of which are in the book but make sense within the framework of what we are shown.

I mean, The Man in the High Castle is an even slimmer novel than this one and they've managed to wring three seasons out of it so far mostly by turning it into an inspired by kind of story.

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I am glad that they are going to have a season two, and I think there is already material that could be used from the book for it, beyond the story of Offred.

The epilogue at the end of the book, to me, is perfect season two material. The glimpse into the future after Gilead, how the society continued to change, certain powers being overthrown and replaced, the resistance movement that had strongholds in other areas of the world, etc.

I think there are a lot of good ideas that could be fleshed out further from just that section of the book alone, and with Margaret staying on, or she had better, as a creative advisor I'm not worried about the direction this show will take because I believe it's in very good hands.

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I"m spoiler tagging this part because it's from the book, nothing terribly spoilerish about it though.

Spoiler

Yes the epilogue would be a great thing to incorporate in season 2, as would the colonies, and the rest of the world's reaction to current Gilead.

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I really want them to expend on what is left of the United States, how they are fairing in Alaska and their one other stronghold, and what actions they are taking against Gilead. I could easily see a covert ops storyline happening in season 2, with the Resistance in Gilead teaming up with outside forces to bring down Gilead from within.

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I'm very happy that there's a second season, especially if Margaret Atwood continues to be involved. Reading the book left me wanting to know a lot more about many things that were mentioned in passing, so I'm glad the show will have the opportunity to expand and enrich those storylines.

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I would love to see the second season explore flashbacks of the others. Serena Joy's journey from normal American to what she is now would be interesting. She clearly had some sort of education and job and is now just stuck at home waiting for someone else to have a baby for her. That could be interesting. 

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They are really rushing through the first season it seems to me.  I wonder if they would have done that if they knew they would have a second season?

I don't know what they will do in the second season unless it's showing the colonies, the rest of the world horrified by Gilead, or

Spoiler

bump to the future as in the book epilogue as what was Gilead is discussed and discovered, probably with flashbacks that show us more of the underground female railroad, and  Offred and others true fates?

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Since it's dystopian I feel like eventually we are going to have to be introduced to a sassy teenaged girl who is able to lead the war against the leaders. The fate of our world always rests in the hands of a teenaged girl. 

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Here’s an interview with Margaret Atwood that aired on CBC this morning. She always seems bemused.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/q/friday-may-5-2017-margaret-atwood-diana-krall-and-more-1.4097017/these-are-old-human-themes-margaret-atwood-on-the-enduring-power-of-the-handmaid-s-tale-1.4097042

I don’t have Hulu, but in Canada the show is airing on Bravo, praised be. They aired the first two episodes Sunday and are now doling them out at one ep per week. Which is agonizing but prevents me from binge watching.

I am weirdly reminded of a Simpson’s episode where Lisa tell Marge that the school has banned  hats.

Marge: even bonnets?

Lisa: especially bonnets.

Edited by marinw
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They aired the first two episodes Sunday and are now doling them out at the agonizing one ep few week. Which is agonizing but prevents me from binge watching

 

May the lord open, don't worry they're doing the same here in the states as well. They purposefully decided not to allow binge watching for this particular show. We got the first three episodes released last week, and now we're also on the schedule of one episode a week every Wednesday.

I actually think it's better that way because this show is so heavy and fraught with so many emotions it would be too much to take in all at once, it's better to be given pieces rather than the whole thing to devour. And you get the chance to really pick each episode apart, which I am really enjoying.

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51 minutes ago, AnswersWanted said:

it's better to be given pieces rather than the whole thing to devour. And you get the chance to really pick each episode apart, which I am really enjoying.

And I receive each episode with joy. Which is weird considering how fraught this show is. I am STILL thinking about the first two episodes, so you are probably right about experiencing them one at a time.

Edited by marinw
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On 5/4/2017 at 4:42 PM, EdnasEdibles said:

Since it's dystopian I feel like eventually we are going to have to be introduced to a sassy teenaged girl who is able to lead the war against the leaders. The fate of our world always rests in the hands of a teenaged girl. 

You bring up an interesting point. So far none of the handmaids have looked like teenagers, even though it'd make sense to use girls in the 16-19 range. There would have to be handmaids in that range, right?

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52 minutes ago, methodwriter85 said:

You bring up an interesting point. So far none of the handmaids have looked like teenagers, even though it'd make sense to use girls in the 16-19 range. There would have to be handmaids in that range, right?

Spoiler

The handmaids are criminals by Gilead laws, because they've had children out of wedlock (Janine), were lesbians (Moira and Emily/Ofglen), or were divorced or married to a man who had been divorced (June/Offred; in 1x04, after June is caught and brought back to the Red Center, Aunt Lydia calls her "adulterer"), etc. Other "criminals" like them were banished to the Colonies, but because they were fertile, they were given "redemption" as handmaids. There probably weren't many fertile teenagers with that kind of "criminal history". 

Edited by chocolatine · Reason: Could be spoiler-ish for those who haven't seen 1x04
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For any of you who used to watch Hannibal, you may be familiar with Janice Poon, who was the food stylist for the show. She posted amazing pictures of the very beautifully thought out food, complete with recipes. She is now working on American Gods, but in between her two Bryan Fuller shows, she also worked on A Handmaid's Tale. She posted a picture of the gorgeously intricate finger sandwiches shown in S1.E2 (when Ofred visits Ofwarren after giving birth). You can also see the macaron tower. Check them out here!

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https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2017/05/08/superb-supporting-cast-gives-handmaid-tale-its-depth/tA2ilNy4742flhE2My4ByK/story.html

Praise for the actresses.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/television/2017/05/04/don-resist-handmaid-tale-one-best/W7bJdxGSa1QCtyzeutC1wM/story.html
 

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Since the premiere of the profound, chilling, and riveting new series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” however, I’ve detected a front of resistance to the Hulu drama, despite — and, to an extent, because of — all the praise. Turns out it’s just too close to home for some people. They don’t want to watch a story about an oppressive, misogynistic, scripture-driven government that demands fertile women be enslaved, raped, and forced to breed — especially if that story is extremely effectively told and driven home with devastating performances by Elisabeth Moss, Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, and Yvonne Strahovski.

Some of the Twitter comments I’ve seen about avoiding the series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel include, “Nah, I’m full up on current events,” “Not really in the emotional space to be able to watch,” and “I can’t watch The Handmaid’s Tale — too close to believable near future.” I’ve also heard, in conversation, that the show isn’t worth watching because it represents an unappealing kind of liberal fear-mongering in the Trump era, despite the fact that the show was in production long before Trump won.

 

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19 hours ago, Umbelina said:

That SNL skit is almost scarier than the show, because if feels pretty damn real!

 

19 hours ago, nodorothyparker said:

I liked it in the sense that it felt pretty dead on in some conversations I've had, but I don't know that I would say it was actually funny.

Remember when people used to say, "It's funny because it's true!"? I thought the SNL skit was the opposite - it's not funny because it's true. I'm still glad they did it though.

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http://www.vulture.com/2017/05/the-handmaids-tale-recap-season-1-episode-5.html

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There are few things as terrifying as taking off your armor and your excuses and your lies and your numbness and whatever Renaissance parade of domino masks you’ve created for yourself and for the world, and sitting alone in a room with whatever is left until you aren’t scared anymore. Toxic masculinity says that vulnerability is death, that emotional truth is a Trojan horse that will allow a kind of weakness behind your walls until it destroys you, emasculates you. There’s a reason the Commander has to have secret rendezvous with a woman he controls completely — and could kill instantly — in order to feel any sort of connection: It’s safe because he can make it disappear at any moment. It’s not real, but it’s just real enough.

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http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/05/handmaids-tale-episode-5-faithful-alexis-bledel-death-scene

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But what a difference a decade makes. The Handmaid’s Tale knows exactly how to leverage Bledel’s gentler on-screen persona to devastating effect. When we first meet Ofglen, she’s stern and uptight—her mouth a hard line of suspicion. And director Reed Morano (who is rightly getting a lot of positive attention for helping to design the look of the series) knows exactly how to shoot the photogenic Bledel to the most devastating effect. In the recent Netflix reboot of Gilmore Girls, the 35-year-old actress looked as if she hadn’t aged a day since Rory ran off to campaign for Barack Obama. But under Morano’s camera’s gaze, every weary line and pore on Offglen’s face comes into focus. (These are lines I didn’t see on Bledel’s face myself when I sat across from her at the TCAs.) But as Moss likes to joke, Morano practically strapped her camera to the front of her actors' faces in order to get Handmaid’s unsettling close-ups. “Once you’re in the Bonnet, you’re kind of putting the audience in there with her in an uncomfortable way. But I think it’s effective,” Morano told me.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/may-web-only/handmaids-tale-wants-us-to-heed-threat-of-fundamentalism.html

Interesting source for an article, thought I should include this one.  I can't tell if the author is trying debate techniques learned in 10th grade, or seriously obtuse, but still, an interesting read, though perhaps not for the reason intended.

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The fact that the story doesn’t make sense wouldn’t matter if we weren’t being asked to make sense of it, of course—to find meaning in its depiction of this clear and present danger. It is undeniably true that women have been, and continue to be in many places, systematically dehumanized and brutalized by their fellow human beings. But are we really moving toward this sort of subjugation in our own society? It’s a question worth asking—one that watching The Handmaid’s Tale demands, with its insistence on grounding the story in the very real phenomenon of American fundamentalist Christianity. Instead of making the story more plausible, however, this framework only serves to undermine it.

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/whats-forbidden-both-sweet-and-savage-handmaids-ta-255074

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It’s a treat (though that seems a deeply silly word for this show) to become enveloped in a series so willing to place layer upon layer of meaning in each of its scenes. As Offred climbs those stairs, it calls back to the first time she climbed them with Serena Joy, marching toward another ritual rape that’s still somehow different. It calls back to the end of the previous episode, in which she finds a way to use a previous Handmaid’s suicide to wrest some tiny piece of control from her life—if Nick is an Eye, then what does this interaction do to the balance of power? Similarly, when Emily gets behind the wheel of that car, it’s not just the scene itself we’re seeing. It’s also the moment Moira boards a train and June/Offred gives her blessing. It’s also the moment Emily screams. It’s also the moment the Handmaids watch as June, bloodied and beaten, sits up in her bed. It’s those, and others, and for such a brief moment, that’s a hell of an accomplishment.

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1 hour ago, kieyra said:

Hmm, somehow I didn't know Elisabeth Moss was a Scientologist, which is going to make the show a lot harder for me to watch. 

http://themuse.jezebel.com/isnt-it-relevant-that-the-star-of-the-handmaids-tale-be-1794667562

Agreed--I've struggled with it since wanting to enjoy Top of the Lake. Scientology is a hugely abusive, exploitive cult and so I want to not support its high-profile members in anything they do. OTOH, it's the Handmaid's Tale! My favorite book when I was a teenager! 

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2 hours ago, kieyra said:

Hmm, somehow I didn't know Elisabeth Moss was a Scientologist, which is going to make the show a lot harder for me to watch. 

http://themuse.jezebel.com/isnt-it-relevant-that-the-star-of-the-handmaids-tale-be-1794667562

That has been nagging at me since I heard this was going to be a series starring Moss...I really like it, wish I didn't but I do. 

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43 minutes ago, Baltimore Betty said:

That has been nagging at me since I heard this was going to be a series starring Moss...I really like it, wish I didn't but I do. 

I think this is going to be the thing that causes me to tag out. I mean, not in and of itself, just a tipping point. The show already leaves me in a brooding, paranoid mood for days after each episode, and that's not especially fun or productive. I'm already worried about the state of the world, I don't need to be worried sick. And the implications of the lead actress being in an erstwhile cult is just too much of an additional mindfuck.

Really, really outstanding show, though.

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To insist that the goddamn Handmaid’s Tale has no special relevance for women is, of course, intentionally obtuse in a way that suggests that the people shaping the show’s marketing campaign are worried. It seems like someone, somewhere, is concerned about the ratings implications of being accused of Committing Feminism, alienating the precious 18-34 male demographic and dooming the show to be shown only in a backroom at that feminist bookstore from Portlandia on a dreary loop forever. Showrunner Bruce Miller told the New York Times, “I don’t feel like it’s a male or female story; it’s a survival story.”

Truth.

Still watching.  Moss was brought up in Scientology, that's not going to make me stop watching anything she does professionally.

Still, the producers of this show are being pretty damn cowardly all things considered.  No!  It's NOT feminist!  No!  It's not about what's going on with Trump!  No!  It's not about race! 

Suck it up and do the damn novel justice.

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The concept of The Handmaid’s Tale is wildly disturbing, but hardly unfathomable as we enter an era of increasingly draconian abortion law and a far-right leaning federal government that—during the brief time that the Trump administration has been in office—has shown little regard for the constitution and human rights in general. In the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, and the world we live in, it takes very little time for a governing body to strip you of your freedom, especially when you already belong to a discriminated class like women, people of color, and non-Christians.

http://themuse.jezebel.com/the-misogynist-future-of-hulus-the-handmaids-tale-feels-1794188254

A few book mini spoilers in the article, but fairly well done.

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A well written review of S1.E6 by Vulture (this is just a snippet, but the whole thing is worth reading):

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It’s a threat, because everything Serena Joy says to Offred is a threat. That’s what abusers do. That’s how they protect themselves. They teach you to keep their secrets. There’s a forbidden sort of acknowledgment at the heart of the imposed silence — that what they are doing is wrong, that if exposed to air, it would combust. You are the evidence of the worst and most shameful parts of themselves, and so your job now is to conceal them, to be both the crime scene and the cover-up. Anything less would be a betrayal, of course.

There’s a strange sort of intimacy to abuse. It becomes a dark, terrible confidence shared between the person who gives it and the person who receives it. Often, they don’t even need to tell you to stay quiet, to wear long sleeves, to never tell. It’s instinctive, almost — you curl around the knife in order to protect it, sometimes because it feels like the only way to protect yourself. It fits into you, like a hook into an eye.

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