Return to Gilead: 10 shows to check out if you miss The Handmaid’s Tale

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The Good Place

What it’s about: A not-so-great woman mistakenly ends up in heaven, or The Good Place, only to find out that it’s really The Bad Place. She and three fellow Bad Place residents try to figure out a way to make up for the mistakes they made in life, and prove they deserve to be in the real Good Place.

The Gilead connection: Morality is at the center of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Good Place. For the former, the people who designed Gilead have deluded themselves into believing that they’re doing God’s work; the only way to save the world is by following a very literal reading of the Bible. (Which is a very hard task, since half the population isn’t even allowed to read.)

As for The Good Place, it’s interested in the myriad variations of morality, as well as ethics. Folks should live by the Golden Rule, it argues, but otherwise, there is no set blueprint for being a “good” person.

And yet the black-and-white layout of The Good and Bad Places is pretty broken, just like it is in Gilead. There’s a harmful lack of nuance in their bureaucracies. June isn’t necessarily a “bad” person because she started seeing Luke while he was married. Similarly, neither Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani nor Jason are exemplary human beings, but they aren’t evil, either.

Basically, it would be overly simplistic and inaccurate to deem anyone in The Handmaid’s Tale or The Good Place as only “good” or “bad.” Humans are just too complex and self-contradictory for that binary a system. For June’s sake, let’s hope that dawns on the architects of Gilead, as it has the masterminds behind The Good and Bad Places.

Where to watch: Season 1 is streaming on Netflix, and a few episodes from season 2 are available on Hulu. The Good Place will return for season 3 on NBC this fall.