As the great Nina Simone once said, “It is an artist’s duty to reflect the times.” Current times aren’t what many would call inspirational. With access to maternity care, contraception, and a number of women’s health needs in danger of being rolled back or made more expensive, the fight for women’s rights has suddenly become defensive instead of progressive. A new original series from Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale, investigates the kind of a world that fight is defending against.
Based on the ’80s Margaret Atwood novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is a different sort of post-apocalyptic tale — one in which the apocalypse only happens to half the population. Women have been stripped of their rights and are used as little more than breeders for men and, presumably, the wealthier women of the world. If you’ve ever had to sit through the tired argument that the economy is in dire straits because the job market was never supposed to support both men and women, it’s a vision that will resonate. It’s also a reminder that before about 100 years ago, it really sucked to be a woman — and an interrogation of what would happen if those traditional roles were reimposed in the present.
With the sudden de-emphasis on human rights in favor of authoritarian-lite governments and political movements, The Handmaid’s Tale could hit pretty close to home, depending on your outlook. You’ll be able to see for yourself soon — the show will come to Hulu on April 26.
On the business side, it’s possibly Hulu’s most significant move yet toward turning itself into a production power among streaming video companies. No official word on it yet, but we’ve been hearing that Hulu will soon launch their own streaming TV service — with a ton of competitors beating them to market, a good stable of original series could help set them apart at launch.