You've probably heard of The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's dystopian 1985 novel. It was required reading in plenty of high schools, and has long been considered a staple in the canon of feminist literature. Now being adapted into an original series by Hulu, the freshly released Handmaid's Tale trailer plays like a modern nightmare.
The two-minute teaser introduces viewers to the world of Gilead, a post-America totalitarian nation meant to be set in the near future. Much of its population has been rendered barren, largely due to its contaminated environment. In a patriarchal effort to restore humanity, fertile women like Offred (Elisabeth Moss) are claimed like commodities, their bodies used as property to bear children for married couples.
The video follows Offred's descent from lawful citizenship to sexual servitude. She and her peers — played by the likes of Gilmore Girls' Alexis Bledel and Orange Is The New Black's Samira Wiley — are under the ownership of the Commanders, whose wives are sterile. As footage flashes of Offred being unceremoniously fired, then ripped away from her husband and child, she explains that she had a different name and life before everything changed. Now, Offred uses the memory of her daughter to stay alive.
It's an extremist take, but its undertones bear a chilling resemblance to fears that are very much at the core of present-day discussion: societal breakdown, political upheaval, women stripped of their most basic rights and freedoms.
There seems to be a reason The Handmaid's Tale still holds up three decades later. It's a haunting, incisive look at the sort of class and gender disparities that still lurk, infuriatingly, beneath our culture — not only in America, but across the world.
Much like the bestseller that it's based on, the show already looks like mandatory viewing. Tune in to Hulu on April 26 to watch it all unfold.