Hulu has released the first three episodes of their eagerly-anticipated new series The Handmaid’s Tale, possibly marking the beginning of a new era for the streaming service. The series is based on the Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name which tells of a dystopian theocratic future society in which women are subjugated into subservience. In 1987, the novel won the coveted Arthur C. Clarke Award given to the best science-fiction novel published in the United Kingdom. Thus, when Hulu announced the series based on the beloved novel, expectations were understandably high.
To add to the expectations, the series boasts an impressive list of names in its credits including executive producer Warren Littlefield, who helped to bring such classic series to television as Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Law and Order, and Friends. The cast of Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale includes Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss, Orange Is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley, and award-winning actor Joseph Fiennes.
Already, the series – and Moss’ portrayal of protagonist Offred in particular – has garnered critical praise. NPR writes that watching The Handmaid’s Tale is “like seeing a monster movie but one where the monsters are the men seizing power. And the future world of The Handmaid’s Tale is even more haunting because it’s all paranoia and bleakness. WIRED writes that successfully juxtaposes our reality with the frightening world of the story to “create a dystopia that feels frighteningly adjacent to the viewer’s world.” Many reviewers comment that the series is especially relevant in today’s political climate in which women’s rights and the role of religion in society are constant topics of debate.
Some outlets are already predicting that The Handmaid’s Tale could be the series that firmly puts Hulu on even competitive footing with Amazon and Netflix, whose original content has been widely praised and continues to reel in subscribers. With The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu could be showing that it’s ready to throw serious budgets and name recognition at its original series and establish itself as a contender in the highly competitive streaming video market. The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale are available to stream on Hulu as of April 26, with more episodes soon to come.