The Handmaid's Story and Alias Grace Make Margaret Atwood the Most Sudden TV Star of 2017

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There are a whole lot of methods to explain 2017, particularly in terms of TV.

The yr of the Army Drama. The yr Archie Comics received horny. The yr of a thousand reboots. However you possibly can additionally name it the yr of Margaret Atwood.  

The Handmaid’s Story, Hulu’s adaptation of Atwood’s 1985 novel starring Elisabeth Moss, gained the Emmy for excellent drama sequence, and this weekend, Netflix (in partnership with Canadian community CBC) launched Alias Grace, a miniseries starring Sarah Gadon and Anna Paquin, primarily based on Atwood’s 1996 novel. One is ready in a dystopic modern-day and the opposite is the true story from the 1800s, however each are timelier than they need to be in 2017. Each are additionally extraordinarily good.

Everyone knows the premise of The Handmaid’s Story by this level. The e-book was already arguably Atwood’s most well-known, and the story’s major picture of a lady in a brilliant crimson gown and white bonnet is so placing that it is exhausting to overlook/ignore. It is a dystopic imaginative and prescient of the U.S. the place all ladies have been stripped of cash, jobs, and property, and the few remaining fertile ladies are diminished to breeding machines for the all-important males. The present (and the e-book) inform the story of ladies each surviving and combating again towards their bodily and emotional abuse.

Atwood primarily based every little thing that occurs to the ladies in her story on issues that had really occurred, which was one in every of her guidelines for writing the e-book (a rule the TV present stored). “The entire particulars have precedents in actual life,” she instructed Emma Watson in an interview for EW. “Folks knew I wasn’t simply making up horrors to be entertaining.”

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Alias Grace can be primarily based in fact, however the particulars are the place the fiction is available in. The miniseries is predicated on the true story of a teen named Grace Marks who immigrated to Canada from Eire within the 1800s with no choice for work aside from as a servant. She was finally and controversially convicted of murdering her grasp and his mistress/housekeeper, then pardoned 30 years later.

The present and Atwood’s e-book observe a physician who has come to interview a a lot older Grace to get her facet of the story, a facet that entails countless hardships, together with the lack of her solely pal to a botched abortion, in a world the place she by no means even had an opportunity to do something however wrestle. It is a fictionalized guess at what Grace might need been considering and feeling, however the essential elements of Grace’s story are primarily based in actuality, and that is type of the magic of each of those Atwood tales.

The Handmaid’s Story may occur and, in smaller methods or different locations, has occurred. Alias Grace did occur. It is all primarily based in actuality, about ladies surviving these unfathomable however equally fathomable realities, which is what Alias Grace star Sarah Gadon hopes individuals take away from the sequence.

“Grace Marks was an actual particular person,” she reminded us. “She’s anyone that got here to Canada and was subjected to all of those hardships, however they by no means actually broke her and she or he survived by way of them, and she or he shouldered them. I discover that intuition to outlive is so robust in ladies, and I discover that actually inspiring.”

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After all, it isn’t as if feminism, reproductive rights, and immigration have not been points since Atwood first began writing, and it isn’t as in the event that they weren’t points final yr, when each Hulu and Netflix greenlit their sequence. However each reveals arrived at a time when these points had been much more on the forefront. Politics had been altering quickly in the course of the first few months of the brand new presidency as The Handmaid’s Story premiered, and now, as Alias Grace arrives, large numbers of ladies (and males) are lastly getting to inform their survival tales and combating to believed.

It is that blend of timeliness, timelessness, and actuality that makes these Atwood tales so compelling, and it is exhausting to think about we cannot be seeing extra of her work on display within the subsequent few years. 

The Handmaid’s Story will return to Hulu in 2018, and Alias Grace is now streaming on Netflix.

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