If you don’t have a Hulu account, you need to find a way to watch the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s that good. I haven’t witnessed a show this compelling since the first season of Taboo ended several months ago.
The show stars Elisabeth Moss and a host of other somewhat familiar actors who you’ll recognize but won’t be able to recall their real names, like Alexis Bledel (Rory from Gilmore Girls). Most people will remember Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, one of the stars on the hit series Mad Men. Moss truly shines in her role as Offred, the main handmaid in the story, showing off a diverse range of emotion as her character is pulled from a happy existence into a world of torture and servitude.
I didn’t think Elisabeth Moss was a particularly good choice for the lead role in The Handmaid’s Tale at first. I find her resting face very difficult to interpret, as if she is constantly smelling something unappealing. It makes her current mood difficult to interpret, until she suddenly breaks out in tears or laughter. I haven’t noticed the expressionless stare as much in this series, although she remains difficult to interpret at times, especially when dealing with her fellow handmaids. Regardless, it seems to work well in this show since deciphering how Offred feels about everyone else is a big part of the show.
The series takes place in the dystopian future, in a country called Gilead, which is what the christian extremists rename the continental 48 states after they overthrow the U.S. government and force them into exile — now residing in Alaska and Hawaii. The ultra-religious Americans believe that God is punishing mankind with infertility after years of contraception use, promiscuity, and blasphemy. Since very few women remain who are able to successfully give birth, the fundamentalists begin viewing them as a resource that should be controlled and utilized.
At some point before the show begins, the Christian fundamentalists take over society, starting with the mass firing of all women and the halting of their bank accounts. Frozen by confusion and unable to fight back, the majority of society is swiftly subjugated by the heavily armed and militarized fundamentalists and the fertile women are rounded up and forced into reproductive slavery as handmaids for the bureaucracy.
Why It Doesn’t Suck
It’s a shockingly good show compared to the general milk toast crap the networks usually put on Hulu. The show is also quite critical of Christianity, which makes it an even stranger choice for a streaming service partially owned by Fox. If this is any indication of Hulu Original series to come, it may be worth picking up a Hulu subscription to go with your Netflix subscription.
It’s based on a novel of the same name, so the plot is incredibly deep and engaging, very Jonathan Nolan-esque. The Handmaid’s Tale immerses you in this dystopian future where everyone is driving blacked out Mercedes SUVs and living in our suburbs, which leaves you with this unsettling feeling that this could happen far too easily in our society.