During televisions long history there have been several shows that have been so timely it’s scary. All in the Family discussed politics in the 1970s, Homeland deals with our greatest fears with terrorism, but there is something eerily timely about The Handmaid’s Tale and the conversation it’s exploring. Set in a near dystopian future, a woman becomes a slave forced to make babies in a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. Based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 bestselling novel of the same name, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale gives us a gripping portrait of a not-so-distant future and becomes arguably one of the greatest series of 2017.
The first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale allows audiences to dive head first into the Republic of Gilead, a dystopian dictatorship set in the United States. This is where we meet Offred (Elisabeth Moss), one of the few fertile women known as Handmaids. Taken forcibly from her family and given a new name, Offred becomes a reproductive surrogate to The Commander (Joseph Fiennes) and his resentful wife, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski). In this oppressive society, women are objects and seen only for their bodies. Even the Handmaid’s names make them objects of their masters: Offred being “of Fred” until another Handmaid takes her place one day. It’s a horrific reality, that is only made more horrific by the current state of our very own government.
The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t let up off the gas in episode one. It pushes its characters and the audiences as far as it can. Showing Offred being stripped of her individuality and showing fans “The Ceremony,” a sadistic ritual where Offred is forced to have sex with The Commander while Serena Joy watches. The world is horrific with no light at the end of the tunnel. Straying slightly from Atwood’s original source material, The Handmaid’s Tale makes present day even more gruesome by showing Offred’s life before Gilead. When she was just June.
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I grew up in a world of magic. A world where female characters are strong and brave, true love exists and the possibilities are endless. Most children grow up wanting to play a sport or play an instrument or a write book, I grew up wanting to be on TV. Well, not necessarily on TV more like behind TV. I want to write the stories like the one’s that inspired me, I want to create someone’s favorite character, heartbreaking moments and happy moments that will have people using a box of tissues.
TV shows taught me life lessons, they helped me grow and change and I will forever be indebted to them. TV has become my home away from home. Some characters are my best friends, some my worst enemies. I have travelled to the highlands of Scotland, nervously cheered on the Dillon Panthers and even killed some walkers in Atlanta. I’ve done it all.
So, where did this obsession begin? How has sitting on my couch for hours watching TV changed me?
One of the first TV shows I remember watching week after week was Lizzie McGuire. You could call it my first “obsession.” I would sit inches from the TV set and watch as Lizzie, Gordo and Miranda navigated the terrifying world of middle school. I was six when the show first began airing, but by the time it ended in 2004, Lizzie and the gang had taught me all I needed to know about middle school. I knew that there were some girls, like Kate, that would try to drag you down, but ultimately you can find the good in anyone. Never fall for a paper boy named Ronnie, he will break your heart, but your best friends will be there to pick up the pieces. And I even learned that taking a bucket of green paint for your best friend will ultimately lead to you wearing a red unicorn sweater for your school picture. Lizzie McGuire helped me see that being kind and generous is much better than knocking someone down and middle school can be hard for anyone, even Lizzie McGuire.
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The Walking Dead is my favorite show to say the very least. Anyone who holds a conversation with me longer than five minutes will learn this very quickly. My love for this show defies anyone’s expectations. A Terminus map hangs right over my bed along with photos of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). Oh and did I mention I sleep with a Glenn Rhee pillow? My love for The Walking Dead goes beyond my love for any other TV show I’ve ever watched. It’s all consuming. It kicks me when I’m down and helps me up. Even as I’m penning this letter, I’m crying.
I first joined The Walking Dead family at the end of season three. The first episode I watched live was in fact the season three finale where Andrea (Laurie Holden) dies tragically at the hands of The Governor (David Morrissey). Up until this point, I lived in my own little bubble. I watched these episodes alone and went through the motions alone. This was the first episode where I felt I had a family behind me. Everyone was experiencing this iconic The Walking Dead moment together. It was rough, but we could get through it together.
The Walking Dead, I love you but I also hate you. I hate that you make me fall in love with characters just to rip them away. I love you, but I hate you. If you couldn’t tell from the above statement my absolute favorite TV character is (I refuse speak in past tense) Glenn Rhee. Since he was first heard on the radio talking to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in the pilot, I fell in love. By episode 2, Glenn became my whole world. Of course falling in love withinThe Walking Dead is a dangerous task. The very fabric of this show says I shouldn’t get attached. It’s about the zombie apocalypse. Things are going to go wrong or else the show wouldn’t exist. No one and I mean no one is safe.
Despite the voice in my head telling me to keep a safe distance from these characters, I did the farthest thing from that. I gripped tighter to my adorable Pizza Delivery Boy and the beautiful and strong “chick that rode out of nowhere like Zorro.” Glenn and Maggie quickly consumed my life. Any of my friends can tell you, the way I love Glenn Rhee is unlike anything else.
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It’s that time of year again! The great summer binge-watch is upon us! This time of year is when TV shows have ended their seasons, weekly episodes slow down and fans have entered the most feared time of year: Hiatus.
“Hellatus” has begun and it’s going to be a long three months before TV shows return with brand-new episodes. Yes, there are summer shows you can be watching (I suggestUnREAL), but these three months can also be spent catching up on shows you may have missed this year or old shows you really should see.
I’ve decided to compile a list of the ten best TV shows to binge-watch this summer whether it’s an old show or a new one.
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From watching a TV show live to binge-watching, fans consume television in so many different ways. Binge-watching seems to be a lot of people’s go to choice. Not having to wait week after week for an episode is a dream for most. Sitting in front of the couch for hours at a time with a bowl of popcorn is an amazing thing, but there is something that can be said about weekly episodes. Nothing can beat the communal experience of being part of a TV phenomenon as it’s being aired for the first time. So, binge watching or weekly episodes? Which is truly the better way to enjoy a TV show?
The binge watching era has consumed every TV viewer in recent years. It’s rare to meet someone who is not binging a show or just finished one. With Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services showcasing more and more content than ever before, TV shows are all consuming. Anyone can go back and watch a show that has ended, something most of us take for granted now.
With this is mind, fans are constantly entering fandoms for the first time. This allows TV shows to have a constant growing fan base that ultimately helps them. Most of the reboots occurring on TV and Netflix today are because of binge watching. One prime example of this is Gilmore Girls. The hit WB show joined Netflix in 2014 and introduced a whole new generation to Lorelai, Rory and Stars Hollow. The introduction to the show on Netflix ultimately paved the way for the revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life that will launch sometime this winter. Binge watching has aided shows like Gilmore Girls, X-Files, Twin Peaks and Prison Break that have ended their original run, but still have more stories to tell.