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Set in a dystopian future, a woman is forced to live as a concubine under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship.

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Top Rated TV #136 | Won 8 Primetime Emmys. Another 11 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

A religion-based autocracy has taken over most of the United States, renaming the country Gilead. In this country women are second-class citizens. Anyone trying to escape is punished. One such person is June, who is captured while trying to escape with her husband and child and is sentenced to be a handmaid, bearing children for childless government officials. As a handmaid, June is renamed Offred. This is her story. Written by grantss

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Drama | Sci-Fi

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26 April 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A szolgálólány meséje  »

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Trivia

There were no black characters in the original source novel, because Gilead (the repressive theocratic regime that had taken over the U.S. government by the time the book starts) had classified all black people as Children of Ham. This is a reference to the belief held by some fundamentalist Christian denominations that black people are descended from Noah's son Ham and are therefore subject to a "curse" leveled at Ham by Noah. In the novel, black people are forcibly resettled in the upper Midwest (Chapter 14). The producers of this show made a conscious choice to deviate from that aspect of the book so that there would be a chance to include black characters (and actors) in the show, including the casting of Samira Wiley as Offred's friend and fellow handmaid Moira. In a January 2017 interview with TVLine, executive producer Bruce Miller explained that the producers engaged in a "huge discussion with Margaret Atwood, and in some ways it is 'TV vs. book' thing," arguing that in a TV show it would be harder than in a book to explain the persistent absence of black characters. He continued, "What's the difference between making a TV show about racists and making a racist TV show? Why would we be covering [the story of handmaid Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss], rather than telling the story of the people of color who got sent off to Nebraska?" He also justified it by reporting that the "evangelical movement has gotten a lot more integrated [since the book's publication, and] I made the decision that fertility trumped everything." The source novel also included a brief explanation for the absence of Jewish characters in the story: the Gileadean government gave them the options of either converting to Christianity or emigrating to Israel--though the ones who chose emigration were really loaded onto ships that were then dumped into the ocean. See more »

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Referenced in This Is Us: Still There (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Two dimensional and long-winded
2 July 2017 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I watched the film version of The Handmaid's Tale several years ago so the storyline was pretty familiar and the film I might give six or seven stars. However, in this adaptation, I had expected a little more than mere filler to justify the extended length. I don't think there was a major plot point which was not in the film. Both film and television versions seemed very two-dimensional, it has to be said, the dystopian world in which it was set seemed to operate without any explanation of what those in this world who do not occupy one of the roles we see actually do. It was a bit like looking at the cardboard set of a cheap sci-fi movie with banks of unconvincing fake spinning tape reels and purposeless flashing lights. The dystopia may have only existed in the lives of the households of the commanders and the lives of the handmaids for all the viewer knew; everything else was hidden from view. In the film, perhaps this was acceptable but in ten hours we learned more about the characters' lives in our near present than we did about the world into which they were forced.

I don't really know why I watched it. Perhaps I hoped that the dimension missing from the film was going to be furnished but it wasn't.


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