First released in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood, detailing a time in the near future, when a totalitarian regime has overthrown the government. Women are now forced to live under oppression from their male counterparts, with many of childbearing age having to become handmaids to men in positions of power in order to repopulate the species. The Handmaid’s Tale particularly focuses of Offred, who is ripped from her husband and child, and their comfortable New-England lifestyle, and sent into handmaid service for a man simply known as The Commander.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a hugely popular novel, studied widely in schools, and has never gone out of print since its first publication. The critically acclaimed novel was adapted for the screen in 1990, with Harold Pinter writing the screenplay, and has also made its way to the stage in the U.K., but has never been adapted for television, until now.
Streaming service Hulu are set to premiere The Handmaid’s Tale on the channel from April 26th, starring Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) as Offred, and Joseph Fiennes (Hercules) as The Commander. Following on from a trailer release, the channel have now previewed their Super Bowl LI trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale, which can be viewed, above.
The Handmaid’s Tale also stars Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), and Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter). The series is written by Bruce Miller (The 100) who will also executive produce, with Atwood acting as a consulting producer. Atwood’s involvement alone is enough to show real promise for The Handmaid’s Tale. For Hulu, this show could become a standout hit, following on from the success they’ve enjoyed with other original shows such as 11.22.63 and The Path.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dark, intriguing, and compelling story, and all the more worrying when it is realized that it’s something that could potentially happen. As The Commander says in the trailer; “Better never means better for everyone.” For Offred and the other handmaiden’s, The Commander’s idea of better means women being forced into servitude and being used as nothing more than breeding machines. It is perhaps not the ‘better’ that many wanted or wished for. It seems particularly poignant and relevant that The Handmaid’s Tale is being released in today’s politically volatile climate.
Examining class, gender equality, power and oppression, The Handmaid’s Tale hasn’t had all that much in the way of promotion thus far, though that might well change after this Super Bowl trailer has aired. Certainly the two trailers we’ve had so far showcase a series that is well worth getting excited about. With Moss looking to be a perfect fit for the role, The Handmaid’s Tale will be one to watch.
The Handmaid’s Tale debuts on Hulu on April 26th, 2017.