The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1 (2017)


Season 1
The Handmaid's Tale

Critics Consensus

Haunting and vivid, The Handmaid's Tale is an endlessly engrossing adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel that's anchored by a terrific central performance from Elisabeth Moss.



Critic Ratings: 125


Audience Score

User Ratings: 3746

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Air date: Apr 26, 2017

Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife.

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Air date: Apr 26, 2017

Offred and her fellow Handmaids assist with the delivery of Janine's baby, prompting Offred to recall her own daughter's birth. Offred draws closer to Ofglen while dreading a secret meeting with the Commander.

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Air date: Apr 26, 2017

Offred visits Janine's baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge.

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Air date: May 3, 2017

Punished by Serena Joy, Offred begins to unravel and reflects on her time with Moira at the Red Center. A complication during the Ceremony threatens Offred's survival with the Commander and Serena Joy.

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Air date: May 10, 2017

Serena Joy makes Offred a surprising proposition. Offred remembers the unconventional beginnings of her relationship with her husband.

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Air date: May 17, 2017

Mexican Ambassador visiting Gilead questions Offred about her life as a Handmaid. Serena Joy reflects on her marriage and the role she once played in Gilead's inception.

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Air date: May 24, 2017

Remembering her family's treacherous escape attempt, a shocking revelation from life before Gilead provides a new perspective on Offred's life.

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Air date: May 31, 2017

The Commander surprises Offred with a secret adventure in Gilead. Nick's troubled past leads to his recruitment by the Sons of Jacob.

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Air date: Jun 7, 2017

Offred embarks on a dangerous mission for the resistance. Janine moves to a new posting. Serena Joy suspects the Commander's infidelity.

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Air date: Jun 14, 2017

Serena Joy confronts Offred and the Commander. Offred struggles with a complicated, life-changing revelation. The Handmaids face a brutal decision.

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The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1 Videos

The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Set in the dystopian future, this series follows a fertile woman who is forced into sexual servitude due to the world's plunging birthrate. Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood.

Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Handmaid's Tale Season 1

All Critics (125) | Top Critics (53)

The Handmaid's Tale is a haunting confluence of tenses. It's also one of the best shows of the year so far, at times hard to watch but impossible to ignore.

Apr 13, 2017 | Rating: A | Full Review…

The Handmaid's Tale raises Hulu's standing as a source of original drama content. And it raises the bar for what TV can accomplish, even in the middle of the medium's current golden era.

Apr 24, 2017 | Full Review…

Viewers and readers may understandably see The Handmaid's Tale as cautionary.

Apr 21, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

For all the horror of the show, I did not find watching it to be an entirely hopeless experience.

Apr 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Moss' character is at the center of it all, whether in flashbacks or at the mercy of her captors. Her performance is both touching and fierce, with basic sanity at stake in a world where one false move can close the door on everything.

Apr 26, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Hulu's excellent adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale, is a horror show unveiled in slow motion.

Apr 26, 2017 | Full Review…

A true television jewel. [Full review in Spanish]

Dec 28, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A well-crafted dystopia, women are multi-faceted and far from helpless despite an oppressive regime. Unfortunately, the show does not grasp the language of racial inclusion.

Sep 19, 2020 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

'The Handmaid's Tale' has understood the tone and message of the original novel, perfectly replacing pure reflection for emotion. [Full review in Spanish]

Aug 14, 2019 | Full Review…

This television show could not be more timely. And luckily, it's also brilliant and terrifying.

Dec 28, 2017 | Full Review…

The show's refusal to engage with race renders it incapable of tackling the racialized ways an authoritative regime would interact with the bodies of black and brown women.

Mar 9, 2019 | Full Review…

Don't get me wrong, what you watch is horrifying and grotesque at times. Yet the way in which Watkinson and White shoot the brutality, you can't help but be amazed.

Oct 10, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Handmaid's Tale: Season 1

  • Jun 10, 2021
    Not for me. Nothing I haven't seen before. Good production value tough. It has my recommendation. It just isn't to my taste.
  • May 31, 2021
    As a female, walking into a room of men, you can't help but wonder why they are afraid of you. Yet you're terrified for your own life. This is how women around the world feel with regards to religions. I was always told "Men run this world" and they are right. How ? Through religion. Handmaid's Tale is one such show. It gives a very short story of what has been happening since the dawn of religion. "In the name of God" we kill and control. This TV show brings it all out. No holds barred. And it gets it right !
  • May 17, 2021
    This movie spells out what I think many are capable of unchecked. It's a plausible future if we do t stand up for our rights.
  • May 13, 2021
    I'll start off by saying, not kid friendly. Not for kids. So, I may have a spoiler in this review, a little further down. I finally started watching Season 1 of The Handmaid's Tale, now that I see it's on Hulu. It's set in an alternate reality where a cult of Christian fundamentalists (although not a real group or anything I've ever heard of) have recently taken over the former United States, in a coup. The new country is called Gilead, and it's messed up. The reason Gilead was able to rise is that human fertility has plummeted so low as to be a major problem. Of course, in reality, we have the opposite problem: too many people and too much human fertility, but this is a dystopic alternate reality. So anyway, the number one thing that has happened is that women no longer have rights. They can't go to work; they can't possess money or bank accounts; they can't read; they can't drive; they have strict dress codes, etc. Yuck. Sounds like a Taliban or Al Qaida paradise, right? The revolution reminds me of communist revolutions, bloody and with mass executions of the educated or anyone who openly disagrees or is caught breaking the rules. Communist revolutions led to the executions of large numbers of doctors and teachers, engineers, etc, and the same happens here. Also reminds me of any totalitarian revolution in which books are burned and only approved government books and propaganda are allowed. Gilead also reminds me of fundamentalist Islam, such as Taliban or Al Qaida or even just Saudi Arabia or any ultra fundamentalistic society that systematically subjugates women, making them property, forbidding them from independently owning property, not allowing them rights to choose their roles and or actualize themselves in any way not expressly approved by the husband (or other man who owns them). Just like in super strict fundamentalist Muslim societies, if a woman is raped, that's generally considered her fault. And also, as in super strict fundamentalist Muslim societies, the use of brutality and violence against women to train and/or punish them is deemed acceptable. The violence here gets pretty extreme, not just beatings but even eye gauging, finger and hand severing, and female genital mutilation, as punishment, as well as executions. I got to episode 8 of season 1 before I realized that there is another way to look at this. It's not just about a violent dystopian hell. There's the sex stuff as well. The sexual relationships between the Handmaids, or concubines, or sexual slaves, and their masters is domination/submission fantasy material, if you're into that. It's contrasted with flashbacks of more normal sexual interactions of June with her husband that was lost to her when she was captured by Gilead, and eventually with her involvement with another in the subordinate class. Now that I'm in episode 8, I can see that the main character, Offred, whose pre-revolution name was June (she was forcibly renamed Offred by the cult that has taken over the country), has now become sexually involved with not just her master, The Commander, but also with his driver/gardener/house helper, Nick. And now we see that her husband that we thought was dead is still alive, and she had thought he was dead, so it's getting a little messy. So, I'm starting to think a big part of the show is the dom/sub relationships, if you like that sort of crap. I'd stop watching, but it's slightly, annoyingly, addictive. Even though, the hanging bodies are a disgusting prop in about every episode, just to keep reminding you how evil the new regime is. Yeah, I grudgingly admit, it's entertaining, and I can't help but keep watching it, even though, it's kind of icky. At least, thankfully, the seasons will eventually come to an end.
  • May 10, 2021
    The only reason I give this a 4.5 is because of how incredibly difficult it is to sit through at times. Asides from that, everything is perfect. You'll be hard pressed to find another show that makes you go through such a range of emotions as The Handmaids Tale. You are consumed with anger, disbelief and discomfort throughout but there are occasional glimpses of hope that keep you fully invested in June's story. The prospect of June dragging herself out of the hell on earth that she finds herself in, makes the discomfort worth it. This also displays a stark reminder as to what women have been subjected to for centuries by religious/cult leaders. Not for the feint hearted but if you can desensitize yourself, you will not be disappointed. Some of the best displays of acting I've ever seen.
  • Apr 28, 2021
    A fantastic adaption from a really good book.
  • Apr 28, 2021
    Haunting, Intriguing, and Visually-Stunning. The Handmaid's Tale accomplished an almost impossible feat for a debut season, it's a complete masterpiece from start to finish. Elizabeth Moss's performance as June Osbourne/Offred is spectacular, just magnificent. It's definitely a show that will withstand the test of time, and it's also very scary, and jarring along with all its other descriptive adjectives.
  • Apr 12, 2021
    This series was extremely boring with too many prolonged close ups & monotonous dialogue. Kept fast forwarding as nothing was going on. No excitement or tension between with the actors, they were just reading the lines. Unconvincing & does not compare well with the book.
  • Apr 04, 2021
    RATING: A+ Creator: Bruce Miller The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 is just a straight up diamond in the vast TV landscape. Elisabeth Moss shines as she already did in Mad Men and she finally got her long overdue Emmy. From the rest of the Ensemble ( everyone is great ) Ann Dowd stands out especially, she plays Aunt Lydia and she's so good at it. But I really consider the Cinematography as the standout cause it's really something else. The Writing is impeccable as is the Direction.
  • Feb 07, 2021
    There is a reason why the audience and the original author wanted this series to continue - it's just...that....good...

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