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The Handmaids Tale

Sci-Fi & Fantasy . Sci-Fi . Drama

The Handmaid's Tale is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalism in its militarized ‘return to traditional values'. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred is a Handmaid in the Commander's household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate the world. In this terrifying society, Offred must navigate between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.

Status: Running
TV Channel: Hulu
  • Alan Sepinwall

    It’s a stunning performance by Moss. ... The more we get to know Ofglen, the harder Bledel’s performance hits, until a pair of scenes late in the third episode will leave you a puddle on the floor from what she does in them. The cast is excellent overall, particularly Dowd and Strahovski. ... Riveting new drama.

    UPROXX Full Review
  • Scott D. Pierce

    At least in the first three episodes, which were screened for critics, everything comes together for A Handmaid's Tale--Miller's script, direction by Reed Morano (who's best known as a cinematographer) and the performances. Moss' performance is arresting.

    The Salt Lake Tribune Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    Each episode brings a sense of foreboding, making viewing sometimes uncomfortable. And Moss, well, she captivates as the heroine with the odds stacked against her. This one is must-see television.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • Sophie Gilbert

    It’s an astounding work of television, with a distinct visual palette that makes it seem as instantly authoritative as the book. ... Strahovski’s performance is as sharp and as unpredictable as Moss’s, and together the two actors expertly mine the gender dynamics of Atwood’s book.

    The Atlantic Full Review
  • Ken Tucker

    Moss’s performance is perfect: at once contained and open, withdrawn and bristlingly aware. ... The Handmaid’s Tale can stand on its own as a gripping drama; you don’t need to apply overlays about Trump-era conservatism or, say, parallels to the Duggar family to find its portrait of a women under duress moving.

    Yahoo TV Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    Atwood's spare narrative is haunting in the horrors it only hints at. The Hulu adaptation is 10 episodes (and judging from the gripping first three, hopefully there will be many more). The narrative is more fully fleshed out, and obviously more visceral, but it still leaves a lot to the imagination.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Tom Long

    [It] sounds pretty dark, and it is, but the wonder of both Atwood’s novel and the series is that it actually manages to be playful and witty at times.

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    It is unflinching, vital and scary as hell.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    The Handmaid’s Tale has a lot to say in 10 episodes. Clear your schedule for one of the best series of 2017.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    The performances are chilling and brilliant at every level. Moss has never done better work, but what’s especially impressive here is that she manages to do the seemingly impossible: create Offred and her previous identity as June as different women at first.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Kristi Turnquist

    Painfully timely. It's also absolutely enraging, and completely riveting. ... The Handmaid's Tale isn't just the best original show Hulu has ever done. It's one of the most impressive series of the year.

    The Oregonian Full Review
  • Allison Keene

    The series is gorgeously directed, which in its own way acts as another juxtaposition to the horrors witnessed (rape, group murder, police brutality, genital mutilation, public hangings), allowing Handmaid to show the visual disconnect between the artificial world of peace that Gilead has created versus its sick reality. ... But all eyes should be trained on Moss, who again knocks it out of the park as a woman who must be meek in order to survive, but whose inner self is screaming to be released.

    Collider Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    [A] magnificent and effectively haunting 10-episode series.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Sonia Saraiya

    Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a worthy, heartbreaking adaptation of the text, anchored by strong performances and profound visual grammar.

    Variety Full Review
  • Leah Greenblatt

    The [actors] performances--and the show’s resonant, shrewdly paced writing-- anchor the drama in something beyond speculative bogey-man sci-fi, making the story feel less like a quasi-fictional fable than an entirely possible preview of what’s to come.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Jen Chaney

    A faithful adaptation of the book that also brings new layers to Atwood’s totalitarian, sexist world of forced surrogate motherhood, 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.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Dan Fienberg

    This is probably the spring's best new show and certainly its most important.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Daniel D'Addario

    As a show, The Handmaid's Tale is as crisply and elegantly made as anything I've seen on TV this year. It manages to bring a dystopian story to life in a way that works as episodic TV, sapping none of the book's power. This is a show that could work anytime and one that will likely be watched and discussed for years to come.

    Time Full Review
  • Liz Shannon Miller

    One of the best shows of the year so far, at times hard to watch but impossible to ignore. ... [Elisabeth Moss] fully commands each and every moment, every swallowed emotion and thought.

    Indiewire Full Review
  • Todd VanDerWerff

    None of this would work without a great performance at its center, and as Offred, Moss is astonishing. ... At every corner, The Handmaid’s Tale brims with invention. Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    Beautiful, immersive and joyless, Tale can be tough to watch, but “rewarding” trumps “tough.”

    Newsday Full Review
  • Terry Terrones

    The Handmaid's Tale is a disturbing yet thought-provoking series that is sure to lure you in. Its content can be troubling, but a brilliant performance by Moss, a strong supporting cast and a fascinating storyline make for a series worth diving into.

    Colorado Springs Gazette Full Review
  • Erik Adams

    [Elisabeth Moss'] take-and the show’s take--on the character is a distinct blend of what Atwood once identified as the main thrust of Canadian literature (survival) and a gumption most closely associated with the country Offred once called America. This can cause some tonal clash in the voice-over--the mission statement that closes episode one feels like it belongs in a different show--but it also gives The Handmaid’s Tale the necessary verve for an ongoing series.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Kimberly Roots

    Moss’ barely-restrained fury over her new lot in life is gorgeous to behold--the other characters are equally compelling. And when we see moments that Offred simply cannot (one book diversion pertaining to Bledel’s handmaid character, Ofglen, comes to mind), that story amplification pays off.

    TVLine Full Review
  • Melanie McFarland

    Through careful direction and precise writing shaped by showrunner Bruce Miller, this is a drama that is remarkable in its ability to horrify while maintaining a delicate air. As threatening and oppressive as the world of Gilead is, the series has an energetic stamina about it that prevents the story from sinking under the weight of despondency.

    Salon Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    It is ambitious, rich, complex, beautifully made television. It may take a couple episodes to really show you what it has to offer, but then you won’t be able to turn away. Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Filled with striking imagery and a nagging sense of dread, the series also exhibits a disarming darkly comic streak, as Offred's looks and asides underscore the absurdity of her situation.

    CNN Full Review
  • Glenn Garvin

    Strahovski, so strikingly desexualized that she's scarcely recognizable, fascinatingly embodies all the seemingly contradictory impulses of The Handmaid's Tale toward feminism. Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    Three episodes in, it looks like Hulu's best original yet. ... Offred's will to survive, and to somehow reclaim her stolen daughter, drives a narrative that might otherwise feel hopeless and that makes The Handmaid's Tale what every serialized show should be: a page-turner.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    There's a solemn fascination in the details of soulless ritual depicted in the Handmaid's Tale ... A deadlier game of rebellion seems to be brewing, promising thrilling twists to come in this already terrific Tale. [17-30 Apr 2017, p.18]

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Kelly Lawler

    The Handmaid’s Tale is something unique, with an adult take on the dystopian genre and a somber and relevant story about the lives and fears of women. The show serves as a wake-up call, and you won’t easily fall back asleep after viewing.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Life (and death) in Gilead is depicted in painstaking detail by executive producer Reed Morano (“Meadowland”) and director of photography Colin Watkinson (“Emerald City”) and feels eerily real, if sometimes almost excruciatingly slow.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Zach Hollwedel

    Moss is stellar in the role, perfectly able to convey simultaneous resistance and forced acceptance of the bleak social structure. It's in the show's writing, though, that the true genius lies. There's not a single dull moment the whole series. Even when it starts to feel a little too close to home, it's impossible to look away.

    Under The Radar Full Review
  • Ed Bark

    It can be heavy-handed at times while also being overly tethered to somber narration from the renamed Offred (series star Elisabeth Moss), who used to be June.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    A studiously handsome, generally impressive 10-part series.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Yet for all the horror of the show, I did not find watching it to be an entirely hopeless experience. The miniseries does not come with the novel’s stress-relieving framing device but Offred, with her sardonic asides, her sense of humor, the disobedience in her soul, if not her manner, is bracing company: She’s in this to survive.

    Slate Full Review
  • Emily Nussbaum

    The icky, idiosyncratic force of Morano’s early episodes dims slightly, as the show hints at a more conventional path: “Escape from Gilead.” Maybe this move is inevitable; it might succeed. But there’s something lost along the way--the special beauty of a bleak ending.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Josh Bell

    Tale is paced maddeningly slowly (the result of taking 10 hourlong episodes to adapt a novel that was made into a single feature film in 1990) and too often belabors its most dramatic and intense moments. Even so, those moments are frequently powerful, thanks to Moss’ mesmerizing performance and a concept that is both timely and frighteningly timeless.

    Las Vegas Weekly Full Review
  • Michael Haigis

    The series tries with middling success to balance the story of [Offred's] subjugation with a sprawling allegory of female persecution. The Handmaid's Tale is tonally, unrelentingly dread-inducing.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • John Anderson

    The problem with Hulu’s Handmaid is that nothing is dreadful enough. ... Ms. Moss’s Offred comments regularly on her condition with outraged, silent vulgarities, and seems appalled by rituals and outrages that had become routine in the book. ... But the original Offred was almost too terrorized to imagine defiance, much less exercise it. And such calibrated portraiture helped make the novel click.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review

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  • mother daughter relationship

  • lesbian

  • woman hater

  • scrabble

  • misogyny

  • loss of job

  • blood

  • slut shaming

  • rape

  • protest

  • riot

  • violence

  • kidnapping

  • homophobia

  • reproductive health

  • sexism

  • dystopia

  • based on novel

  • friend

  • woman

  • theocracy

  • tyranny

  • slavery

  • violence against women

  • woman on woman violence

  • torture

  • infertility

Episode Guide For Show: The Handmaids Tale