A frustrating Handmaid's Tale gets a bunch of things almost right—and one thing exactly right

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Aunt Lydia, grieving for the loss of women she thinks are children, women she tortures but thinks she nurtures, calls out words that she believes to be names. She weeps, because she believes. She makes it a ritual, the calling of those false names, because she knows rituals have power—to comfort, to manipulate, to…

The Handmaid's Tale pits Offred against June in an unsurprisingly upsetting hour

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“My darling,” said he, “I beg of you, for my sake and for our child’s sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when

On The Late Show, Ann Dowd is the anti-Aunt Lydia in her delightful first-ever late-night appearance

Ann Dowd may not yet be as meme-worthy as “character actress Margo Martindale,” but she and Martindale undoubtedly get sent a lot of the “deceptively terrifying lady who looks like your third grade teacher” scripts. On The Leftovers and The Handmaid’s Tale, Dowd has at least nosed into a tie with The Americans and

The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 remains as difficult to watch as it is to resist

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The first season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s adaptation of the eponymous Margaret Atwood novel, made for some of the best TV in 2017. Every bit as harrowing as its source material—in which the few fertile women left in the world are reduced to incubators by an oppressive, theocratic regime—Bruce Miller’s series was…

In an otherworldly The Leftovers, Kevin fulfills his purpose but loses his heart

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The final season of The Leftovers wouldn’t have been complete without another visit to the other side, the terrifying, exhilarating alternate reality first introduced in season two’s “International Assassin.” Kevin Garvey’s adventures in the beyond lead the show to some of its most arresting visuals and storytelling…

Scene-stealers and familiar faces: A field guide to 19 of today’s best character actors

Who: An actor who holds the rare distinction of not only emerging unscathed from the maudlin slog-fest Crash, but actually looking better for his involvement in it. Peña’s breakout performance as a working-class father trying to protect his daughter let him showcase what he does best: Bring personality and…