When the new Hulu series The Handmaid's Tale—based on the beloved 1985 Margaret Atwood novel of the same name—debuted in April 2017, it was quickly cast by the pop-media as a cautionary tale of great relevance to the Donald Trump era. The story centers on "handmaid" Offred (Elisabeth Moss), a baby-bearing slave in the new fascist and patriarchal Republic of Gilead.
In this society, women are forcibly cast as wives, housekeepers, or handmaids; homosexuality is outlawed; surveillance is standard; God is the justification; and once-powerful women like Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) are now barred from intellectual and practically all public life. Thankfully, the series, created by Bruce Miller, avoids heavy-handed attempts at contemporary political allegory and lets the artfully shot, star-studded, chillingly dystopian story speak for itself.
If only the commentators were as restrained.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "The Handmaid's Tale".