The 10-episode dramatic series, starring Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel, is adapted from the acclaimed dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood. According to Hulu, its April 26 premiere had the highest viewership of any show’s debut on the network.
Set in the fictional republic of Gilead, the TV version depicts a totalitarian state plagued by high infertility rates, in which the remaining fertile women are deployed to work as handmaids — essentially imprisoned concubines — to bear the children of an official known as a Commander. Although the book was originally published in 1985, its themes, including the loss of women’s rights, are eerily relevant today — making it hard to watch, but more essential than ever.
While we’re pleased to hear there will be more “Handmaid’s Tale” to watch beyond this season’s ten episodes, we’re wondering, how will creator Bruce Miller (“The 100”) and producer Warren Littlefield (“Fargo”) handle the second season of a show that’s based on a book? Its first, of course, was written without confirmation of further seasons, and while we’ve only seen the first three episodes so far, the series will likely end as the book did. How will the second season expand beyond Atwood’s world? It’s hard to speculate without seeing how this first season turns out — and without revealing spoilers for viewers who haven’t read the original novel. (Will Atwood, who serves as a consulting producer on the show, move into a writing role to pen a sequel of sorts?)
A similar question is posed by the rumors that “Big Little Lies” might be getting a second season. HBO’s incredibly popular limited series, starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman, is based on the novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty, and while it took some liberties from the text, its seven episodes’ conclusion shared that of the book’s.
If you’re not watching the “Handmaid’s Tale” yet, you should get on it. Episode 4 is out tonight on Hulu. Here are two of the creepiest scenes so far — obviously, spoilers ahead, so don’t watch if you haven’t seen yet: