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A Handmaid's Tale (2017 Series)

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I'm a sucker for apocalyptic stories, and this one delivers, in both seasons so far. I've heard "liberals" compare it to present-day US, but that's crazy - and I don't get that viewpoint from the show, either. However, I think the show's representation of the US transitioned into a violent Christian dictatorship is convincing.

Opinions, thoughts, analysis?

 

 

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Setting stories in some dystopian future is way more prevalent than setting them in some utopia. Quite often the ones that look like they're set in a utopia, are trying to show the negatives of that set-up. I'm willing to bet there's a good reason writers favor dystopias.

Why do you like these stories?  

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As a general rule, stories need conflict; there must be something that the protagonist wants to do and something that keeps him from doing it.  Dystopias provide a more fertile ground for conflict than utopias.  It's just that simple.

Also, when the theme of a story involves society, it's almost always necessary to show a malfunctioning society in which to express thematic conflict.  E.g., it would have been hard for Rand to have done what she did in Atlas had she set her story in something like Galt's Gulch.  Similarly, Atwood's story (I haven't seen the dramatizations) needs its dystopia in order to most effectively make her points.

I note that Atwood was hardly the first to see the possibility of a Christian dictatorships in America.  E.g., Heinlein did it in 1940, in "If This Goes On".

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I like these dystopian/alternate reality shows too (Man in the High Castle, SS-GB, all the way back to Amerika...1987 show with Kris Kristofferson and Sam Neill...I don't know if it still holds up now), but, for some reason, The Handmaid's Tale turned me off after 4-5 episodes.

One interesting thing about it was that, as far as I remember, they stuck to the "first person narration" from the book...we only see what the main character sees. I just wish she saw something else from time to time, besides just creative, over the top, unrealistic ways in which women are abused by society.

And sure, there was some kind of vague, mysterious plot, but it was moving along very, very slowly, because all the show-makers' focus seemed to be on laying the "message" on as thick as possible. Maybe that changes later, and I just wasn't patient enough for it. But it didn't seem like it would, from the episodes I saw.

 

Edited by Nicky

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My favorite dystopian-future was Ideocracy. This, 1984, the above mentioned, Amerika, even Mad Max, these are morality tales warning us of the dire consequences of our present-day trends. In fact, I am about to watch the final episode of The Handmaiden's Tale Season One on DVD, and  my opinion so far is that the depiction of America under a brutal Christian theocracy is refreshing. There are too few warnings about the influence of religion in government. Otherwise, it seems a bit slow-paced, and many of the scenes are too dark. By dark, I mean not too well lit. It wouldn't be a dystopian future unless it was dark as in: noir. I like Elizabeth Mose from Mad Men.

Edited by Repairman
minor error

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