Series Review: 'The Handmaid's Tale' lives up to the hype

The brilliance of 'The Handmaid's Tale' goes far beyond its topicality in the age of Trump

01 October 2017 - 00:00

Since its debut on streaming channel Hulu in May, the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale has had much praise heaped on it.
A lot of this praise has focused on the timely nature of the story in an age when the world's superpower is run by a man who has less respect for women than a Jersey Shore jock and whose vice-president is more puritanical in his attitudes towards them than a character in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
While it's certainly true that Atwood's book has maintained its relevance since its original publication in 1985 - a relevance highlighted by a sign held up at a women's rights march in the US in November that read "Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again" - the success of the series has relied on a combination of the vision of its creator Bruce Miller, cinematographer and director Reed Marano and Atwood's original decision to create her dystopian vision using only things that had historically actually happened to women through the ages.
The dark vision of a plausible outcome for the rise of fundamentalism and the far right pro-life, bible-bashing women's movements espoused by Reagan-era conservatives seems even closer now than it did when Atwood sat down to write her book in 1984 in Berlin in the shadow of the Wall and a stone's throw from East Germany.

All of which has made The Handmaid's Tale a huge success for Hulu, winning eight Emmys and becoming the first streaming show to win the coveted Best Drama Series award, ahead of any shows produced by streaming giant Netflix...

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