The Handmaid's Tale (TV series)
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The Handmaid's Tale is an American television series created by Bruce Miller based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. It was ordered by streaming service Hulu with a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, with the production beginning in late 2016.
The first three episodes of the series premiered April 26, 2017, with subsequent episodes added on a weekly basis. In Canada, the series is broadcast by Bravo, beginning with the first two episodes premiering on April 30.
In a dystopian near-future, the totalitarian and Christian fundamentalist government of Gilead rules the former United States amidst an ongoing civil war and subjugates women, who are not allowed to work, control money, or even read. Widespread infertility due to environmental contamination has resulted in the conscription of young fertile women—called Handmaids, according to Biblical precedent—who are assigned to the homes of the ruling elite, where they must have ritualized sex with their male masters in order to become pregnant and bear children for those men and their wives.
The main character, Offred, is the Handmaid assigned to an elite Gileadean Commander and his wife, and as such is subject to the strictest rules and constant scrutiny; an improper word or deed on her part can lead to her execution. Referred to as "Offred" because her master is named Fred, she can remember the "time before", when she was married with a daughter and had her own name, but all she can safely do now is follow the rules of Gilead in hope that she can someday live free.
A straight-to-series order by Hulu of The Handmaid's Tale was announced in April 2016, with Elisabeth Moss set to star. Based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, the series was created by Bruce Miller, who is also an executive producer with Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, and Warren Littlefield.Atwood served as consulting producer, and had a small cameo role. In June 2016, Reed Morano was announced as director of the series. Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, and Ann Dowd joined the cast in July 2016. Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer and Yvonne Strahovski were cast in August 2016,followed by O.T. Fagbenle and Amanda Brugel in September 2016. In October 2016, Ever Carradine joined the cast, and Alexis Bledel was added in January 2017.
Filming on the series took place in Toronto and Hamilton from September 2016 to February 2017. The first full trailer of the TV series was released by Hulu on YouTube on March 23, 2017. The series premiered on April 26, 2017.
The Handmaid's Tale has received acclaim from television critics. On Metacritic, it has a score of 92 out of 100 based on 39 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". The series has a 98% approval rating Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 9.06 out of 10 based on 63 reviews. The site's critical consensus is, "Haunting and vivid, The Handmaid's Tale is an endlessly engrossing adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel that's anchored by a terrific central performance from Elisabeth Moss." Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter called it "probably the spring's best new show and certainly its most important." Jen Chaney of Vulture gave it a highly positive review, and wrote that it is "A faithful adaptation of the book that also brings new layers to Atwood's totalitarian, sexist world of forced surrogate motherhood" and that "this series is meticulously paced, brutal, visually stunning, and so suspenseful from moment to moment that only at the end of each hour will you feel fully at liberty to exhale."