(Spoiler alert: Do not read ahead unless you’ve seen all of Season 1 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”)
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 1 couldn’t have come at a better — or worse? — time in America.
Bruce Miller’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel struck a chord with fans and critics alike when it debuted in 2017. Viewers couldn’t help but see the parallels between the totalitarian regime in Gilead (a fictional future version of the United States) and the actions and beliefs expressed by then newly-elected President Donald Trump and people associated with his administration.
Then the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements began and the Elisabeth Moss-led series became a part of discussions about sexual misconduct and women’s rights.
Now, with the sophomore installment of “The Handmaid’s Tale” dropping on the streaming service Wednesday, TheWrap asked executive producer Warren Littlefield if the constant talk of how “relevant” the Emmy-winning drama is in our political and social climate keeps it from being appreciated on its own.
“I think Margaret’s book could have been adapted and been a good adaptation any time,” Littlefield said. “Any time in the last 30 years it could have been powerful television. It wouldn’t play on network. But it’s such a powerful conceptualization. And a brilliant one. And of course particularly with #MeToo and #TimesUp, the struggle for human rights and feminist rights is so much a part of the fabric of what Margaret created and what we’re doing and that’s a part of our every day existence — only magnified in a Trumpian world. So we get it! We wish that we weren’t so relevant, because the world would maybe be a better place. But we are.”
“We find ourselves a part of the conversation, we find ourselves part of the resistance,” Littlefield continued. “Women are dressing as handmaids and using that as a form of protest, all over the United States and now all over the world. So that’s pretty amazing to be a part of that, that our show is being talked about in such a powerful way. So first and foremost we better do a good dramatic television show. We’re not the news, we don’t want to mistake ourselves for the news. But I think if we’re good storytellers, we can’t escape the power of these themes.”
Littlefield says its possible the “relevancy” dissections will get in the way of fans just following Offred’s (Moss) story, but he has faith the two ways of watching can coexist.
“It may happen for some, I think that when our hours unfold I think we are pulled in by Offred/June. She is our rudder and I think that — I hope that — in some ways we’re just yanked into our world, our characters stories, their struggle and the drama that unfolds in each hour. And I’d like to think that the audience is completely enveloped by what we do. And yes, afterwards it can generate a very provocative and interesting and relevant discussion. But I like to think that what we’re offering the audience takes them on a journey.”
“The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 will be shaped by Offred/June’s pregnancy and her ongoing fight to free her future child from the dystopian horrors of Gilead. In the sophomore installment, Offred and others will fight against — or succumb to — the dark truth that “Gilead is within you.”
New episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale” drop Wednesdays on Hulu.