The Handmaid’s Tale Review

Ha Nguyen, Senior Staff Writer

Based on a number one worldwide bestseller book, this TV series brings the audience new perspectives on the modern world’s problems, and it is a must-watch. The Handmaid’s Tale TV series on Hulu has published three seasons and is still going on. 

This dystopian TV drama portrays the story of a new type of theocracy in New England, United States that takes over the country after the collapse of the former government. In this world, fertility rates have collapsed as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution. In the new totalitarian, theonomic government, Gilead, captured and brainwashed women become concubines and bear children for rich men or Commanders. Names were taken away from these women, and they are called by their owner’s names. 

The show is mainly focused on Offred (her real name was June), a handmaid belonging to the Gileadan Commander Fred Waterford. Before the Gilead era, Offred and her husband had committed adultery. She was captured when she tried to escape from Gilead with her husband and daughter. Therefore, she was forced to become a handmaid, and her daughter was taken away. Much of the plot revolves around Offred’s desire to be reunited with her husband and daughter.

Different from the original novel, I think the series’ plot is more logical, has better arrangement of events, and is more interesting. Additionally, it takes place in the modern world, so it was adjusted to fit with the current events. Instead of focusing on only the main character’s thoughts like in the book, the TV series explores other characters’ stories as well. That is why I believe it gives the audience a broader view of the whole situation, which is amazing. Also, there is more diversity in the characters.

On the other hand, if you are a fan of the original book, you might not find this TV series interesting because it is too different. Still, I like what the writer has done to the plot and the characters more than the original book. Changing the end of the story is definitely a smart, creative move. If the show is identical to the book, viewers may find it too boring. 

Even though the casting of the series might not be people you see a lot of time on television, the chemistry between the characters and their acting is outstanding. The cast portray and immerse themselves in their roles so well. The scriptwriter did a great job in creating the dept of the characters. In both the book and the series, the injustice and separation between social classes is illustrated through the use of color and juxtaposition.

In the society of Gilead, people are divided into different groups of colors. Men, regardless of status or position, often wear black. However, women wear different colors for each position such as brown, gray, blue, turquoise, green, and red. For example, the Handmaids wear long red dresses, heavy brown boots and white coifs. In addition, the cinematography, the setting, and the sound are wonderfully set up. It makes you feel like you are engaging with the character.

On the other hand, a few viewers say that the show left the audience with unanswered questions, the plot sometimes can be predictable, too dramatic or too long. Viewers should also consider that there are unpleasant images in the series. However, the show was nominated more than 20 times for the Emmys. Besides, compared to the same series with the same dystopian theme, like the Walking Dead, the Walking Dead is longer, with much more pain and misery than the Handmaid’s Tale. 

In conclusion, the Handmaid’s Tale is a great show to watch. Moreover, if you are looking for a TV series to kill the time or you want to give your mind something to “work out”, this show is a must-watch. For people who have read the book, I believe that the show will be helpful for providing a deeper understanding and to give you more scenarios to what happens to the characters. Furthermore, while the book left the audience with an open ending, the show gave us 3 seasons! Still, people should pay attention to the targeted audience of this show. I recommend adults over 16 years old can watch the Handmaid’s Tale TV series.