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The Handmaid’s Tale gets new life after book sequel

The upcoming fourth season of the dystopian drama-thriller will be based on the sequel of the novel, The Testaments, which should breathe new life into the series, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Handmaid’s Tale has won widespread acclaim in the online streaming world, primarily because its creator, Hulu, distributes the first look at the show on its digital platform only. While this isn’t too uncommon, with the likes of Netflix and Showmax creating digital-only content, the story behind the show is quite phenomenal.

It all starts off with Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author who published a novel that gave a dystopian look into the near-future, where a faith-based totalitarian state overthrows the United States government.

The story takes place in Gilead, in a part of what used to be the United States, which faces extreme environmental disasters and a plunging birth rate. As a result, it treats women as property of the state. The story follows a handmaid called Offred (played in the series by Elisabeth Moss) who serves in the household of the Commander (played by Joseph Fiennes in the show). She is one of many women who are forced into sexual servitude in attempts to repopulate the world.

Offred lives in a world where one wrong word could end her life, so she must navigate between commanders, their infertile (and subsequently cruel) wives, and her fellow handmaids. She has one ultimate goal: to find her daughter who was taken from her.

The story eerily mirrors the reality of women’s reproductive rights in many parts of the world, especially when considering the patriarchal and religious aspects women encounter with pregnancy, abortion, and forced adoption.

Many fans are saying Season 3 is a must-watch before the highly anticipated Season 4.

The novel was published in 1985 and was far ahead of its time, in the leagues of George Orwell’s 1984. It was adapted for opera, ballet, graphic novel and a film, with a screenplay by legendary playwright Harold Pinter. The story was then adapted by Hulu into a series, which received favourable ratings in its first season.

Thanks to the high ratings, Hulu renewed the show for a second season. According to Hulu, the premiere of the second season attracted twice as many viewers as they were expecting, which naturally gave rise to the third season.

But there was a problem: the events of the book ended with the second season. That meant writing a new storyline, and it’s safe to assume the writers and Atwood kept it reigned in for the second book, all while keeping the audience happy with the story progression.

This proved to be a tricky job. While I thought the third season was good, this sentiment was not shared by other commentators. A fair criticism was made by Beth Elderkin from Gizmodo’s io9: “It’s changed from a dystopian nightmare to a revenge fantasy”.

Thankfully, Margaret Atwood released a sequel to her novel last year, over 30 years later, to allow the saga to continue as intended. As a result, many fans are saying Season 3 is a must-watch before the highly anticipated Season 4, based on the new sequel. (Season 4 comes to Showmax later in 2020.)

Overall, the show is highly entertaining for those who are fans of dystopian future-like shows like Westworld. Seasons 1 to 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale are available to stream on Showmax.

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Stream of the Day

Spirit of the North comes to Switch and PC

A Nordic-inspired adventure game, Spirit of the North, will be released on PC and Nintendo Switch later this year.

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Merge Games have announced a partnership with Infuse Studio to bring the emotional exploration-puzzle adventure, Spirit of the North, to Nintendo Switch and PC later this year.

Spirit of the North is a single-player, 3rd-person adventure game inspired by the breath-taking and mysterious landscapes of Iceland. The story takes root from various pieces of Nordic folklore.

Breathe in the surroundings to solve various puzzles and speculate the meaning of a lost ancient civilisation. With the help of a companion, shed light on the ruins of the past and overcome obstacles.

Play as an ordinary red fox whose story becomes entwined with the guardian of the Northern Lights, a female spirit fox. As players journey over the mountains and under red-stained skies, they will discover more about their companion and a land left in ruin. Traverse tundra, glaciers, and mountainsides as they follow a foreboding scarlet trail that paints the sky.

Key Features:

  • Make your way across stunning landscapes, on an emotionally stirring journey.
  • Solve environmental puzzles to change the world around you, using ancient powers bestowed upon you by the guardian of the Northern Lights.
  • Follow the mysterious Spirit Fox across a land left in ruin as you discover more about a lost civilization.
  • Moving orchestral soundtrack featuring 14 original compositions.

To find out more about the game, visit here: mergegames.com/spirit-of-the-north

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Crash Team Racing gets Grand Prix season

The Crash Bandicoot-themed racing game, Crash Team Racing, gets a downloadable content pack with 50 more kart bodies and 51 new characters.

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The villainous Nitros Oxide has decided earth is no longer of interest, and has challenged Crash and team to one last epic battle on his home planet in the Gasmoxia Grand Prix.

During this toxic race to the finish, players will challenge each other on an epic new track high up in Gasmoxia’s atmosphere, where two rival fast-food conglomerates are battling it out for planet domination (and a CTR TV sponsorship). New skins, karts, an imperious new character to unlock and a new track to conquer, touted as the most technical track ever assembled in Crash Team Racing – players will have a wild ride in this Grand Prix season.

New characters: As if Oxide’s presence wasn’t enough, he’s enlisted help from the Galaxy’s self-proclaimed ruler, Emperor Velo. Unlock this devious new character in the Nitro Gauge.

New time trials: Velo isn’t just making an appearance this season, he’s providing a new challenge in Time Trials.

New karts: Your intergalactic ride awaits. Unlock three hovering new karts this season: the Void Manta, the Velo Chopper, and the retro-vibing Galactic Cruiser.

Pit stop items: When in Gasmoxia, do as the Gasmoxians do. Look like a local with a wide array of new Pit Stop items to swag out your racer and kart in the space-adventuring theme of the planet.  

The Gasmoxia Grand Prix season is set to go live this today, 20 February, at 5 PM SAST. With the launch of the Gasmoxia Grand Prix this week, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled boasts a total of eight Grand Prix seasons, 40 racetracks, 12 Battle Arenas and more than 50 characters.

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