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

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Mad Men

What it’s about: Set in the America Trump and his supporters reference in their MAGA chants — where homophobia, sexism, racism and pretty much every other toxic “ism” abounds, but the economy is good — Mad Men centers on the employees of a high-end ad firm and their not-so satisfying personal lives.

The Gilead connection (besides Elisabeth Moss): If Betty had stayed married to Don and switched her A-line dresses out for teal capes, she’d be Serena Joy Waterford. Except, as I’ve previously pointed out, Betty didn’t help design her oppressive society.

If our leader does, indeed, succeed in his vow to make America “great” again, I fear that, while striving for a Mad Men situation, he’ll overshoot to The Handmaid’s Tale. (Or, who knows? Maybe he sincerely thinks Gilead is swell.)

Stylistically, ‘60s America and Gilead might be eons apart, but socially, they’re two points on the same scale. Women are reduced to types, men make all the decisions, class divisions are extreme and unyielding and anyone outside the norm is severely punished. At least in Mad Men’s world, the punishment is social instead of physical or sexual, I guess. Plus, its culture is moving in the overall right direction.

Obviously, I can’t say the same of Gilead. If Mad Men makes me thankful for how far we’ve come, The Handmaid’s Tale reminds me that all we’ve gained is now under siege.

Where to watch: All seven seasons are streaming on Netflix.