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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1 Blu-ray Review

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“The Handmaid’s Tale” is relevant but far from subtle.

In the 10 episode first season of the Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale,” viewers are transported to a grim future in which a Christian Government known as the Gilead reigns supreme. The inhabitants of this society are divided into classes, a select few wealthy individuals rule the land, and fertile women are forced to become Handmaidens/slaves for married couples unable to have a child of their own. The main character of this story is Handmaiden to the powerful Waterfords named Offred formerly known as June in the time before Gilead. Offred is hoping to reunite with her family someday assuming they are still alive somewhere outside of Gilead. Throughout the season, there are flashbacks to characters pre-Gilead as well as stories involving the Gilead societal structure, a resistance group known as Mayday, the classes of women, the Waterford family, June’s friend Moira, Nick (a spy of the secret police known as the Eye), and Canada.

There’s little doubt that “The Handmaid’s Tale” (which is based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name) is a poignant piece of sci-fi television about sexism, oppression, politics, intolerance, and religion. It’s also undoubtedly a timely cautionary tale that focuses on a bleak dystopian world that could resemble our own in the future. On top of that, the show is well made (the production values are top notch), well written, and well acted (particularly by Ann Dowd (Aunt Lydia), Alexis Bledel (Ofglen) and star Elisabeth Moss (June/Offred)). Despite all of that, however, the series is often tough to watch.

Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age, but the show is not exactly subtle when it comes to its violence. Yes, the brutality has a clear purpose here, but sometimes less is more. There’s enough misery in this world. Do we really need to see more in such an excessive fashion?

In fact, the show is frequently excessive and exhausting as a whole. Perhaps I’m just burnt on dystopian sci-fi, but it feels like ‘Tale’ would have been better suited as a mini-series here as the show drags out the plot for much too long. The fact that there will be even more seasons seems odd as it’s clear this could have been wrapped up after one season.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The show’s specific color scheme shines in hi-def.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the score to the dialogue, this is a sharp 5.1 track.

Extras: *”Script To Screen: The Salvaging”- A featurette about adapting “The Salvaging” sequence from the book to the TV screen. * “Hope In Gilead”- A featurette about the story of the series. Interviews and episode clips are included.

Overall Thoughts: While not exactly “1984,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” has certainly struck a chord in these troubled times. It’s a solid and meaningful show, but not without its flaws.

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March 26, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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