‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is an American dystopian drama web television series that airs on Hulu. The series first premiered on April 26, 2017. The show has been created for television by Bruce Miller and is based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, which came out in 1985.
The series focuses on a dystopian future which comes into being after the Second American Civil War, where we see women being reduced to servitude in a pure childbearing capacity. The series has gone down well with the critics, and its first season won eight Primetime Emmy Awards from thirteen nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series.
The Handmaid’s Tale Cast: Who is in it?
The cast ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is led by Elisabeth Moss in the role of June Osborne or Offred, who is captured while attempting to flee to Canada, and sent to servitude. Joseph Fiennes plays the role of Commander Fred Waterford, Offred’s master. His wife, Serena Joy Waterford, is played by Yvonne Strahovski. Aunt Lydia, played by Ann Dowd, is in charge of overseeing the duties and sexual reeducation of the Handmaids. Alexis Bledel stars as Dr. Emily Malek, June’s shopping partner. Madeline Brewer plays Janine Lindo, a Handmaid who’s June’s friend. O. T. Fagbenle plays Lucas “Luke” Bankole, June’s husband from before Gilead. Max Minghella is cast as Commander Nick Blaine, Commander Waterford’s driver.
Christopher Meloni of ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit‘ fame and Elizabeth Reaser of ‘The Haunting of Hill House‘ fame joined the cast in season 3. They play Commander Winslow and Olivia Winslow respectively.
All the major cast members are expected to return for the fourth season.
The Handmaid’s Tale Plot: What is it about?
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ revolves around a woman, June Osborne, who is forced to live the life of a childbearing agent, in a dystopian society ruled by a theocratic and fundamental dictatorship. The story is set in the near future when environmental pollution and sexually transmitted diseases have caused infertility in most women. Before society crumbles, a new order is established, and after a civil war, a governmental structure called Gilead comes to power.
In this new system, women are completely oppressed, and all their rights are taken away. Society is also structured in a certain manner where the elites have access to Handmaids, that is, fertile women who will bear their babies. These women are made to wear red. Cooks wear green, while the wives are dressed in blue or turquoise. Female prisoners are treated as less than human beings and are called Unwomen. They are worked to death, made to clear out toxic waste. In such an oppressive regime, there is a secret police body that keeps an eye out for revolts and possible uprisings, because no one wants to be completely dominated. Nonetheless, this society, too, has an added power dynamic in the form of Jezebels, who are prostitutes that the elite often visits. It is in this backdrop that Offred is made to serve the Waterford family. While they were instrumental in the formation of the Gilead, they now show conflicting views about where the power has been posited in this dystopian society.
Season 3 ends with June going ahead with the plan to get the children out of Gilead, while Serena Joy and Commander Waterford think about a new way forward. It’s clear that despite some viewers pointing out that the show has become repetitive, showrunners have already charted out season 4’s path. There are still several loose ends to tie and therefore, season 4 becomes not just interesting but also important in how people perceive the whole series.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Release: When will it premiere?
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3 premiered on June 5, 2019. Hulu wasted no time capitalizing on the popularity of the show, and on July 26, 2019, the series was greenlit for another season. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the network chose to renew its highest rated show. The show might carry on for a few more seasons before it comes to an end. Based on the release patterns of previous seasons, it is safe to assume that ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 release date might fall sometime in June, 2020. Keep checking this section for the latest updates on the fourth season.
Should You Watch The Handmaid’s Tale?
Absolutely! What stands out in the show is the all too timely portrayal of how religious zealousness and despotic powers can seek to subjugate agencies of individuals and end up oppressing them. Perhaps the viewers like it because the show seems to be all the more relevant in a post-Donald Trump America, where the anti-abortion movement is on the rise again. Pro-lifers are conservatives, and naturally, do not believe in giving women the choice of bringing a child into the world, and they quote religion to prove their point. Atwood’s dystopia is strikingly similar to this, but the author, and the show itself, smartly move to portray the situation at its most extreme, so that it becomes all the more striking to us.
In this tale of the perverse loss of humanity, violence, and the danger of hope, Moss stands out with her performance as a woman who will simply not take things silently. She is surrounded by peers who deliver deceptively simple, but extremely effective performances, that helps the narrative to be as gripping as it is. The direction too is just as excellent, and the choice of shots in certain sequences makes no excuses about portraying how the power structure actually is, in the society inhabited by Offred.
Although faithful to the book, as far as adaptations go, some of the later episodes of the show were critiqued for being too gratuitous and a bit too graphic in portraying the violence inflicted on women, to the extent of running the risk of being called ‘torture porn’. But, the series overall serves as a wake-up call and is a must-see.
The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer:
While we wait for an update on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4, check out the season 3 trailer below. If you have not seen the show yet, you are definitely missing out on one of the most relevant and well-made series of our times, and I would strongly recommend you to head over to Hulu and watch all the previous episodes.
Read More: Best Hulu Original Shows