The Handmaid’s Tale has long been a celebrated piece of fiction – it hasn’t been out of print since it was first published in 1985 – but it’s never been so frighteningly relatable until now.
Margaret Atwood’s sinister novel tells the story of a dystopian society set in the former borders of the United States of America where all women’s rights and legal automony have been stripped away.
Listen: Why The Handmaid’s Tale is the most important TV show of 2017.
The protagonist Offred, along with every other woman still able to bear children, is forced to become a Handmaid (a surrogate sex slave) for the wealthy families to bear them children.
Dressed in distinctive, conservative red capes and gloves and white vision obscurring bonnets, they have to lie between the husband and the wife while they have intercourse, all the while holding the wife’s hand.
Offred and all the women like her are stripped of everything. Her child and husband are taken away from her and even her name and personality becomes entwined with her status - Of-fred literally denotes her possession by her master Fred.
If a world where women have no say or rights over what they can do with their own bodies sounds eerily familiar, you're not imagining it.
— Whole Woman's Health (@WholeWomans) March 20, 2017
Just two weeks ago a bill was passed in the Texas state Senate effectively banning second-trimester abortions by banning the safest and most common method of performing an abortion in the second trimester. if it also successfully passes the state House, Texas doctors who violate the ban would face felony charges.
Women protested the ban by dressing up as Handmaid's, with many arguing the totalitarian world of Atwood's book looks more like reality than dystopia.
Listen: Here's all the exciting new TV shows you should be watching this week.
It's for this very reason that Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik think's this year's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale is the most important TV show of 2017.
She's clearly not alone, with all your favourite actresses coming together for the project, which has finally arrived in Australia after streaming on Hulu in the US earlier this year.
All 10 episodes are now available to stream on SBS On Demand.
"I feel like all my favourite actresses from my favourite TV shows have abandoned their projects and come together to star in this," Laura said on The Binge earlier this year.
The cast includes Elizabeth Moss, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Joseph Fiennes and Aussie actress Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter).
"Obviously Elizabeth Moss was amazing in Mad Men and Samira Willey broke our hearts in Orange Is The New Black but I kind of feel ok about this now because she plays Moira, a resistance person. She is the best high school college friend of Moss' character and when they go through Handmaid training together she helps leads the escape," says Laura.
"I'm very excited to see Alexis Bledel too. She was so sweet and plucky from Gilmore Girls but In this, she is a badass. She is one of the main resistance fighters.
"There's quite a few torture scenes she'll be involved in and after watching her grow up as Rory Gilmore, this is going to be kind of the making of her as an adult actress. It's kind of like the role she was born to play."
Aside from the cast, Laura says the show has come at such an important time.
"And I guess one of the reasons I'm so excited is about the cast but also people are saying in this political climate and this world, women having their rights taken away, what they can do with their own bodies has struck such a chord with people," she continued.
"I'm devouring it - every picture, trailer and interview. I think it's going to be so important just from a TV storytelling point of view to have this whole cast of amazing female actresses playing the heroes and the villains in a suppressed society.
"And after what happened in Texas it's just a very important message. I don't know whether it's a stretch to call it the most important TV show of the year but I'm going with it."