Hulu’s hit drama series, Handmaid’s Tale, premiered four years ago today, April 26, 2017. The dystopian tragedy television series created by Bruce Miller is based upon the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood. Since the premiere, Handmaid’s Tale has brought up many conversations around misogyny, women’s rights and female empowerment. Ahead of its’ season four premiere, let’s take a closer look inside the show and how it has impacted the way we view women today.
The fictional series is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society in what used to be part of the United States. This place is ruled by a fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state and it is faced with environmental disasters and a declining birth rate. In a wretched effort to repopulate their hopeless world, the last few remaining fertile women are forced into sexual servitude. One of these fertile women, Offred, portrayed by Emmy-award winning Elisabeth Singleton Moss, is determined to survive the terrifying world she’s forced to live in and find the daughter that was taken from her in the first place.
Moss speaks with CBS News when the series premiered discussing how apprehensive she was to portray the themes in the series, because the book was so well-written. She also talks about the challenges of joining the show as a producer even with 28 years in the entertainment business. The show’s influence even gained the attention of former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2017 when she referenced the impactful show during Planned Parenthood’s 100th anniversary celebration.
“What a time it is to be holding this centennial. Just ask those who’ve been watching ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ a book I read and was captivated by years ago,” Clinton said in her address.
Clinton used the fictional show and book she once read, to illustrate the impending threat to women’s rights in real life.
“I am not suggesting this dystopian future is around the corner, but this show has prompted important conversations about women’s rights and autonomy,” Clinton continued. “In ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ women’s rights are gradually, slowly stripped away. As one character says, ‘We didn’t look up from our phones until it was too late.’ It is not too late for us, but we have to encourage the millions of women and men who support Planned Parenthood’s mission to keep fighting.”
Moss shares how honored she was to hear Clinton acknowledge the show. “In this country it’s a relevance now that is striking everybody,” Moss shared with CBS News, “For us when Hillary brought up the show it was sort of a huge honor that we could have that impact.”
The show’s cultural relevance has been acknowledged by political figures, notable talent and award show’s since the series inception. The network received its’ first Emmy for Handmaid’s Tale with multiple wins in various categories. The cast and crew used the opportunity to discuss the controversial political themes within the show encouraging fans and audience members to “go home and get to work.”
Handmaid’s Tale continues to touch the masses with its’ significant subject matter. The show encourages the exploration of these current conversations around women’s rights and the need to amplify women’s voices. Moss teases what to expect in the next season of the show on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon saying that the show will fulfill a lot of what the show has been promising in the first three seasons. She also reveals how she made her first directorial debut on three episodes in Season four during a pandemic.
Season four of Handmaid’s Tale premieres April 28, 2021 exclusively on Hulu. Watch the official trailer below.