Analysis: Hulu’s dystopia ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ gets bleaker in season 5


Gone are the days when you had to wait week by week for a hit show’s new episodes. Yes, streaming is king, but the success of shows like “Abbott Elementary” is proof there is still love for the networks.

Personally, I like having both options. Speaking of, let’s jump right into what’s available now.

Dystopian dramas might hit a little too close to home these days, but the new season of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been eagerly awaited by many.

After a tumultuous fourth season, the show picks up with June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) struggling to redefine her purpose — and still scrambling to find her daughter, Hannah — and Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) attempting to raise her profile outside Gilead.

The first two episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale” season five are streaming now on Hulu.

‘Atlanta’ Season 4

I both love and hate that the final season of “Atlanta” has arrived.

If you watched the show’s third season earlier this year, you either loved it or hated it. For me, the brilliance of creator and star Donald Glover shone through, despite the action primarily moving to Europe and being intercut by a number of seemingly unconnected vignette-style episodes.

Season four returns to both a more traditional narrative style as well as the city that gives the show its name. But don’t expect that Glover won’t throw some surprises our way, because that’s absolutely his style.

The first two episodes of “Atlanta” season four start streaming on FX at 10 p.m. ET/PT and will be available on Hulu Friday.

‘Love Is Blind: After the Altar’ Season 2

The main cast of season two of "Love Is Blind" is pictured during the show's reunion episode alongside hosts Nick and Vanessa Lachey (front row, center).

The Pod Squad is back!

Almost all of the season two cast of “Love Is Blind” are returning for an “After the Altar” miniseries to catch us up on life, love — and some interpersonal conflict, of course.

Based on the teaser trailer, things are tense for some and hopeful for others. (Not too many, though, considering recent reports that both couples who said “I do” in the main season’s finale have gone their separate ways.) What else would you expect from a series in which people decide at the altar if they will marry or not?

It starts streaming Friday on Netflix.

Two things to listen to

‘Born Pink’ by Blackpink

(From left) Lisa, Jisoo, Jennie and Rosé of BLACKPINK attend the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28 in Newark, New Jersey.
Despite the incredible success of groups like BTS in recent years, K-Pop has never been just a boys game.

A great example are the “K-Pop Queens” of Blackpink, who are widely viewed as the biggest girl group in the world right now, having broken records and boundaries across Asia and the United States.

Blackpink’s sophomore album, “Born Pink,” comes on the heels of a recent performance at the VMAs, a 2020 collaboration with Lady Gaga and the Netflix documentary “Blackpink: Light Up the Sky.” Clearly, the group is a force to be reckoned with.

“Born Pink” is out now.

‘The Hardest Part’ by Noah Cyrus

Noah Cyrus performs during the "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest" broadcast special on December 31, 2020.

It’s not always easy being the little sister of a star who has long excelled in the same industry as you.

But 22-year-old Noah Cyrus seems determined to make her own mark as a singer, separate from her elder sibling Miley’s success.

Not that her family doesn’t factor in, though.

In April, her mother, Tish Cyrus, filed for divorce from her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, after more than 28 years of marriage, and their split has served as an inspiration for her new music.
In a statement about the single, “Every Beginning Ends” from her new album, “The Hardest Part,” Cyrus said she and collaborator Ben Gibbard of indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie “talked about past relationships, failed relationships, our parents’ relationships, and relationships that have lasted forever.”

“The Hardest Part” is also out now.

One thing to talk about

Brian O'Halloran as Dante Hicks and Jeff Anderson as Randal Graves in a scene from "Clerks III."

Raise your hand if you are old enough to remember when “Clerks” came out.

The year was 1994, and Kevin Smith’s low-budget comedy about a day in the life of two small-town New Jersey store clerks quickly became a cult classic.

Nearly 30 years later, Smith is revisiting themes from both the original movie and its 2006 sequel. “Clerks III” presents a meta twist on its predecessors by focusing on its characters’ movie-making within the movie, and highlights life experiences that come along with both age and — in his case — surviving a major heart attack.

The filmmaker pays homage to that last part in particular by having a main character go through a similar near death experience. The wry mix of nostalgia and growth is really what adulthood is all about, and I, for one, am happy to see Smith returning to the story that launched his career.

Sometimes a quick glimpse back makes looking ahead all the sweeter.

Something to sip on

Queen Elizabeth II attends a state banquet at the Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava, Slovakia, on the first day of a tour of the country on October 23, 2008.
Count me among the many people who have been watching “The Crown” on Netflix since the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Actually, it’s a rewatch for me. I have been diving into anything and everything Queen Elizabeth-related since the news of her passing broke last week. I’ve long considered myself an anglophile and have to admit her death made me more emotional than I had expected.

Whatever your views on the royal family, there is no denying that Her Majesty was the embodiment of doing one’s duty. Her steadfast dedication to the crown seemed to hark back to a time many of us no longer even recognize.

The grace with which Queen Elizabeth reigned will probably never be seen again.

What did you like about today’s newsletter? What did we miss? Pop in to [email protected] and say hello!



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