Neither Hulu nor audiences have had enough of The Handmaid’s Tale‘s increasingly plausible anti-feminist dystopia quite yet. The Hulu original series, which is based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, has been renewed for a fourth season, Hulu announced at the Television Critics Association 2019 summer tour.
The Handmaid’s Tale is currently Hulu’s flagship show, and its renewal doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Just a few weeks before Hulu announced the upcoming fourth season, The Handmaid’s Tale scored 10 Emmy nominations, including nods for guest stars Bradley Whitford and Cherry Jones, writing for a drama series, and directing. The Handmaid’s Tale previously won 11 Emmy awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actress, and Outstanding Guest Actress for its breakout first season.
The Handmaid‘s Tale tells the story of a world in which fertility rates plummeted, dropping the world into chaos. After a civil war consumes America, a totalitarian nation called Gilead takes its place, stripping women of their rights. The few remaining fertile women, known as Handmaids, are conscripted into servitude and forced to breed in order to keep the human race alive.
It’s grim stuff, but The Handmaid’s Tale has struck a chord with modern audiences anyway, some of whom find the show’s parallels to the current political climate cathartic rather than depressing. Critics and viewers alike also have nothing but praise for series star Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men, Us), supporting actresses Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter), Ann Dowd (The Leftovers), and Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls), and Joseph Fiennes.
Still, The Handmaid’s Tale has seen diminishing returns with each season. While the first season of the show was a breakout hit, critics complained that the show’s second season felt repetitive. While the acting continues to receive accolades, the more optimistic third season, which is still airing, has received similar criticism.
Hulu did not announce when The Handmaid Tale‘s fourth season will premiere, but if you really can’t wait to return to Gilead, Atwood is publishing a sequel, The Testaments, this September. Atwood promises that the novel, which is set 15 years after the original, will answer “everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings.” It is not expected to pick up any plot threads from later seasons of the show.