Offred’s future is more uncertain than ever
The Handmaid’s Tale feels unstoppable at every award show, and Season 2 appears to have no intention of slowing down — or letting us off the hook.
Over the weekend at the TV Critics Association press tour, Elisabeth Moss warned reporters: “It’s a dark season. I would say arguably it’s darker than Season 1 — if that’s possible.”
At the forefront of that darkness is the conflicting, traumatizing experience of being an expecting mother in Gilead. “[Show creator Bruce Miller] and I always talked about this impending birth of this child growing inside her like a ticking time bomb.”
This season’s telling tagline of “Gilead is within you” takes on endless layers of dark implications for June, who the show’s finale left in the most dire and uncertain of situations.
Another added layer of the season’s darkness comes from the expansion of the world created by Margaret Atwood, author of the book on which the series is based. In the trailer, for example, we see June in the desolate colonies that the book only hinted at.
According to executive producer Warren Littlefield, we’ll be able to see: “How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?… We get to follow the historical creation of this world.”
Maybe — just maybe — we’ll take that history to heart and avoid those mistakes in our current dystopia.
Moss said that it’s not all hopelessness. Part of what makes The Handmaid’s Tale so compelling is the ways in which it finds humanity within the strictest confines of Gilead’s dehumanizing regime.
According to Moss, one of her character’s biggest arcs is realizing that “there’s more than one way to resist,” because while “there’s the resistance in the outside world in May Day, there’s also resistance within her.”
Aside from announcing that actress Marisa Tomei (who won an Oscar for her role in My Cousin Vinny) will guest star in Episode 2, Miller also revealed that he had plotted out a 10-season arc while first conceiving the show.
Of course, a lot can happen between now and the seasons to come — both in our world, and Atwood’s dystopia.
Miller assured the crowd that, while “there’s a lot of dread, there’s also a lot of absurdity… I always feel like June is always about to turn to the camera and say “Really? What the fuck?”
You can say that again.
HBO drops new ‘Westworld’ Season 2 photos for you to analyze and obsess over
Evan Rachel Wood is not your Season 1 Dolores anymore
We are so very close to returning to Westworld, which premieres on April 22. HBO just released the very first new images and they are as tantalizing as they are gorgeous.
Some include interesting new developments that hint at where Season 2’s plot will go:
Here we see Maeve with her human capture, as we’ve seen bits of in the trailer.
But something we haven’t seen much of yet is evidence that Maeve goes back to Westworld. Presuming this isn’t a flashback, we’ll see her in the new host-ruled park again.
Talulah Riley had a pretty minimal role in Season 1 as the cheerful host who greeted guests during the flashback scenes. But Deadline reported that she would be taking on a bigger, lead role in Season 2: “She will prove to be one of the last faces many guests will ever see.”
Bernard and corporate shill Charlotte teaming up together? Say it ain’t so, Bernard!
The relationship between Dolores and Teddy is definitely about to take an interesting turn.
And here’s a look at the rest, which include new and returning cast members (who are confirmed not dead):
Welp, now we know why ‘Good Girls Revolt’ was canceled
Jeff Bezos’ Hollywood dreams aren’t just coming true they’re paying off.
Reuters has acquired Amazon financial information that for the first time provides insight into just how profitable and widely watched Amazon’s Prime Originals and streaming service are. Significantly, the documents shed light on the financial strategy of Prime Originals — specifically, how Amazon’s entertainment venture contributes to the growth of its Prime subscriber base, and overall subscription business profitability.
Amazon has never released statistics on its total Prime subscriber numbers. But according to the documents, Amazon Prime has a total U.S. audience of about 26 million viewers, which includes its originals as well as shows it licenses from other companies.
Prime Originals’ top television shows drove 5 million new Prime subscriptions by early 2017, according to the leaked documents. Reuters notes that using entertainment programming to draw customers to a Prime subscription is a key proponent of Amazon’s business strategy, a strategy that Jeff Bezos spoke to at a 2016 technology conference. Bezos said at the same conference that users who come to Prime through entertainment are more likely to convert to full-fledged subscriptions through free trials, renew subscriptions annually at higher rates, and even buy more products. So a Prime subscriber drawn in through Originals programming is a valuable one.
And Amazon knows it.
The documents show that Amazon calculates a direct return on investment for each show, based on what it costs to produce versus how many Prime subscriptions it drives. For example, The Man in the High Castle cost $72 million to produce and market, but drove 1.15 million new Prime subscribers. That comes out to a cost of $63 per new Prime subscriber — which is far less than the annual Prime fee of $99. Cha-ching!
The show Good Girls Revolt didn’t achieve similar success in converting viewers to subscribers. It cost $81 million to produce, but only drove 52,000 “first streams” (i.e. new viewers) on Amazon. That made its cost per new customer $1,560 — more than ten times the cost of a one year prime subscription.
Guess which show is still on the air.
(It’s ‘High Castle‘ — Good Girls Revolt was canceled after its first season despite a massive outcry from fans. Now, we know a bit more about why).
Reuters provides a handy graph to illustrate the direct comparison between a show’s overall cost, and its cost per new subscriber.
Critics have questioned Amazon’s programming decisions, saying at times that they were driven by sexism, at times that it was the experiment of a Hollywood outsider. But these financials show that there is indeed a method to Amazon’s madness.
However, is there a downside to evaluating shows based on the new viewers they bring in, as opposed to how well they’re satisfying existing customers? The documents don’t reveal whether this is part of the cancel vs. renew equation. But for loyal Amazon subscribers and viewers, it’s not a good look.
Whether you approve of Amazon’s apparent new viewer-to-subscriber business strategy, one thing’s for sure: Amazon’s entertainment venture is paying off, big time.
We’re already invested in the ‘Rise’ companion web series
NBC’s Rise — a new show about a group of high school students putting on a musical and their trials and tribulations — is about the kids who are stars. The companion web series, however, focuses on an entirely different part of high school theater: The understudies.
The Understudies‘ digital videos will follow students not at the forefront of Stanton High School’s production of Spring Awakening. Though we find out about the group through Michael (Ellie Desautels), we’ve already got a core cast of stage-starved misfits ready to charm.
The first installment of Understudies isn’t super subtle, focusing mainly on one girl who thinks she deserves a lead in the musical because she put in time with the teacher and did tech for a whole year (tech ≠ acting, so not sure where that experience was going). Instead of plotting any ill will against the main leads, the understudies hang out, bond, and play a game of Never Have I Ever.
The Understudies will total nine episodes throughout Rise‘s first season. Who knows, if the show gets renewed, some of them may get a shot at a lead.
Rise airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC.