Whether you've seen your Facebook news feed flooded with ecstatic praise for The Handmaid's Tale, or spotted the red-cloaked women wandering the streets of Sydney, it's hard to ignore the TV series of the moment.
The 10-part dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood's iconic 1985 novel, is unmissable viewing. The series follows the tribulations of Offred (Elisabeth Moss), who is forced to live as a concubine—called a Handmaid—under the fundamentalist Christian government. It's a lot more fun than it sounds—we promise.
Following the show's release in Australia, here are five reasons why The Handmaid's Tale will be your next TV series obsession.
1. It features an incredible cast
Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss gives a dynamite performance as Offred, a young woman enslaved for her reproductive abilities. Critics are already pegging Moss for an Emmy award for both the strength and vulnerability she brings to the character. Gilmore Girls fans will appreciate the presence of Alexis Bedel (who, coincidently, also starred on Mad Men), while the cast is rounded out by Joseph Fiennes, Australian Yvonne Strahovski, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd and Max Minghella.
2 Its themes are timelier than ever
In a world where a presidential candidate can casually talk about 'pussy grabbing'—and still be elected—we need The Handmaid's Tale now more than ever.
The show covers everything from motherhood, reproductive rights, sexual politics, the patriarchy, life and death. The Handmaids are valued only for their ability to produce offspring. When they venture outside, their heads bowed and they are forced to exchange biblical greetings like "blessed be the fruit".
Despite Moss’ reluctance to use the word feminist to describe The Handmaid's Tale in early press, she later clarified her position in an interview in The Guardian.
“Men and women are both humans, so, for me, that makes my characters and the work that I do human stories,” she said. “I play a fucking sexual slave, I play a breeder, a host, a woman for whom all of her rights, and all of her family and friends, have been taken away. She has nothing. So, yes, it is a feminist story.”
3. It’s visually stunning
From the impeccable costuming to inventive camera shots, director Reed Morano and cinematographer Colin Watkinson have crafted a show that is as interesting to the eye as it is to the brain.
Every shot will surprise you—whether it is the symmetrical tableaus of red-cloaked women lined up in the lawns, or uncomfortable close-ups of Moss's face.
See what we mean by watching the trailer:
4. Season 2 might feature some amazing cameos
Canadian author Margaret Atwood admitted she’d love for another Canadian national treasure, Drake, to make an appearance in the second season next year.
“Wouldn’t it be fun for him to have a cameo in season two of The Handmaid’s Tale?” she told the Boston Review.
“I’ll drop that notion into the ear of Bruce Miller, the showrunner, and see what he can do with that, because of course the show is filmed in Toronto. Maybe Drake could help smuggle someone?”
Throw in Celine Dion and Justin Trudeau and we're really talking.
5. It’s free to watch on SBS
As of July 6, you can watch (let’s face it: binge-watch) the whole thing on SBS On Demand for free. Praise be!