Hulu‘s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s iconic novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, premiered on April 26 and Elisabeth Moss, who plays Offred, is nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series category. Alexis Bledel (known for her role on Gilmore Girls) won her first Emmy in an early award’s presentation for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.
You may remember Atwood’s book from your high school English class, or simply because it’s still one of the best books ever written. While some of our standard required reading tomes feel dated, The Handmaid’s Tale is a fresh and relevant story that cautions against a horrifying totalitarian future. Despite being written over 30 years ago, it still feels distressingly modern, and it will probably always be one of our favorite books of all time.
The Hulu adaptation is so creepy and cool and everything we could have hoped for:
Elisabeth Moss is Offred, a handmaid in the new religiously run military dictatorship that was once the United States (now called the Republic of Gilead). In Gilead, human rights have been severely compromised, and women, with virtually no rights, are forcibly placed in strict class systems. Thanks to environmental factors and disease, most people can’t reproduce, and women who can – like Offred – are forced to serve as “handmaids.” Or, essentially, breeders. Offred had a daughter before the US collapsed, and she’s desperately trying to find out what happened to her. In the meantime, she enters into a complicated relationship with the Commander she’s “assigned” to, begins to fall for a different man, and lives with the constant fear and humiliation that comes with being a woman in this dystopian world.
From politics to gender issues to class constructs and even uniforms, there are so many elements in Atwood’s tale that we can’t wait to see come to life on-screen.
Here are the top five reasons we’re binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale for Emmy Week:
The Story is Awesome
For those of you who haven’t read this book yet, now is the time. Atwood creates a dystopian world that feels plausible, relevant, and oh-so-scary. Women aren’t just second-class citizens, they have almost no rights in anyway – not over their bodies, or their positions in life, or their education (for example, the market only has pictures, as women are no longer allowed to read). Even Offred’s name isn’t hers, meaning literally Of Fred, the Commander she’s assigned to. But hope isn’t lost, and Offred learns about an underground group called the Mayday resistance who’s fighting to overthrow the current government. The story has it all: action, adventure, a little bit of romance and enough realistic horror to make even Game of Thrones fans flinch. With all these epic themes and a dystopian plot that will appeal to any scifi fan, we know this will be an instant hit.
That Stellar Cast
After Mad Men and Top of the Lake, we’re pretty much ready to follow Elisabeth Moss anywhere. She definitely seems like the perfect fit to play Offred, and with her acting skills we know she’ll make the character come to life. On top of that, the entire cast looks stellar – including Samira Wiley (of Orange is the New Black) as Offred’s friend and fellow handmaid Moira, and Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred. We’re predicting lots of Emmys and Golden Globes during the next awards season.
It’s about Time
The Handmaid’s Tale was made into a middling movie in 1990 starring Faye Dunaway and Natasha Richardson. Since then, it’s been adapted into an opera, a play, and even a ballet. But with all the dystopian books and movies we’ve seen lately, it makes sense for an awesomely epic The Handmaid’s Tale adaptation to hit our screens. We’re positive that fans of The Hunger Games, The Man in the High Castle, and Divergent will be instantly drawn to Atwood’s classic tale. And since some of the best entertainment is happening on TV these days, this is the perfect time for The Handmaid’s Tale to get the adaptation it deserves.
Hulu Hasn’t Let Us Down Yet
It’s the Golden Age of television, with some of the most interesting shows happening on streaming networks. Netflix has turned into a powerhouse of amazing dramas, and Hulu isn’t far behind. With hits like The Path, Casual and Difficult People, Hulu has proven that they’re willing to take chances and produce high quality shows that push the limits. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of those stories that’s begging for an epic-scale production, with strong visuals and powerhouse performances that will finally do Atwood’s story justice. We trust that Hulu is just the network we need to deliver this tale in the way it deserves.
Atwood’s Book is More Relevant Than Ever
We’ve always been able to look to literature to help steer us politically, and The Handmaid’s Tale is the perfect example of why it’s so important for all citizens to retain equal rights. It’s hard to deny that there are certain similarities between Atwood’s Gilead and the world we currently live in, particularly with the environmental issues, women’s bodies being governed, and a call to return to “traditional values.” In our uneasy current political climate, this seems like the kind of show that will appeal to all viewers, while showing us the type of future we want to avoid no matter what.