This article contains spoilers about the Hulu show National Treasure.
On October 5, The New York Times published a remarkable investigation by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey into acts of sexual harassment and sexual assault reportedly committed by the film producer Harvey Weinstein over several decades. That story was published a little over two months ago, which feels baffling now, given the chain of events it set off, and the number of giants who’ve been accused of misconduct and subsequently toppled in that short space of time. Roy Price. Mark Halperin. Kevin Spacey. Louis C.K. Russell Simmons. Matt Lauer. Garrison Keillor. The revelations show no sign of abating; the Weinstein effect seems fated to continue in 2018, in one of the most significant public reckonings with systemic male abuse of power in history.
At the beginning of the year, no one could have anticipated what was coming. But television, in some ways, did. 2017 on the small screen was defined by a wealth of stories that thoughtfully and powerfully considered sexual assault. There were dramas that focused on the personal ramifications of abuse, like HBO’s Big Little Lies and SundanceTV’s Liar. But more common were shows that interpreted it as a wider, institutionalized phenomenon, and sought to engage with how deeply entrenched assault and harassment can be in systems of power. Top of the Lake: China Girl investigated workplace misogyny, male online culture, and the sex industry. The Handmaid’s Tale brought Margaret Atwood’s narrative of a theocratic reproductive dystopia to life onscreen for the first time since 1990. The Deuce explored the dynamic between 1970s sex workers and the men who control them with both physical and sexual cruelty.