5 Things to Do Between Episodes of 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu's highly anticipated adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale premiered Wednesday, and it seems like it's all anyone is talking about. With the first three episodes dropping simultaneously, there's certainly enough to keep fans of Margaret Atwood's novel occupied in the dystopian world of Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and her fellow Handmaids.
But once you've binged through those first few hours, what can you do until the next episodes arrive? (Other than, you know, rise up in revolt, donate to Planned Parenthood, support female legislative candidates, etc.)
Matt Roush reviews the much-awaited series adaptation of Margaret Atwood's classic novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'.
We've got a few recommendations for Handmaid fanatics to get their fix between episodes.
Read the Book
Just read it. It’s so good, obviously. You really probably should have already anyway, in high school maybe—unless you went to a school where it was banned. In the wake of the 2016 election, the 1985 novel shot to the top of bestseller lists along with other dystopian literature like George Orwell’s 1984. Copies of the paperback have been flying off bookstore shelves, but a new hardcover edition has just been published, and there’s also a gorgeous illustrated edition from Folio Society if you’re into books-as-objects-of-art. Whether you binge it in a weekend or try to follow along with the Hulu series, just read this book.
Listen to the Audiobook
If you’re not going to read the novel, or if you’ve already read it and just want to revisit on your commute, there’s always the audiobook. Read by Claire Danes, it’s like having Angela Chase’s voiceover in your head—and if you want to get extra meta, it’s tempting to imagine the My So-Called Life character experiencing the book for the first time as a freshman English major with a minor in Women’s Studies at, like, Oberlin or Smith, probably.
Audible.com also recently released a deluxe special edition of the audiobook. The full cast recording again features Danes as Offred, an essay by novelist Valerie Martin, and an extended epilogue by Atwood that suggests there may be more stories from Gilead in the works.
Listen to the Red All Over Podcast
Feminist comedians and TV podcasters “Aunt” Kelly Anneken (Up Yours, Downstairs!) and Molly “Offmitchell” Sanchez (Failure to Launch) take on the new Hulu series. Each week on Red All Over, they recap the new episode, discussing every terrifying detail that suddenly doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore as we all try to laugh through the panic. They’ve also been recapping the novel ahead of the show’s premiere, so if you’re reading the book or listening to the audiobook, they’re here for that too.
Listen to the Audio Drama
Back in January, in the weeks leading up to Trump’s inauguration, audio drama podcast Secrets, Crimes & Audiotape released a six-part adaptation of the novel. It’s a different take on the audio format compared to Audible’s full cast recording. This version is more like an old-fashioned radio play, with sound effects added to bring texture to the story, minus the narration.
Watch the 1990 Film
Sure, the art makes it look like something that aired late at night on Cinemax in the '90s, but the 1990 film features some top-notch talent. The late Natasha Richardson stars as Offred, Robert Duvall is the Commander, and Our Lady of the Envelope Faye-effing-Dunaway herself plays Serena Joy. Aidan Quinn (a.k.a. the human embodiment of '90s studliness) and Lady Elizabeth McGovern show up as Nick and Moira, respectively. The downside: For a story that feels more prescient than ever, the film version hasn’t aged all that well. There’s a cheesy, Lifetime movie datedness that clashes with the seriousness and prestige of the material.