How to End ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ — TV Podcast

The video above was produced by IndieWire’s Creative Producer Leonardo Adrian Garcia.

I’m starting to worry about Hulu’s classic “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The series returned with its fourth season on April 28, seeing June Osborne (an always impeccable Elisabeth Moss) embrace her role as a revolutionary and become even more of a thorn in Gilead’s side — so much so that it raises the eternal question: How is June still alive? Are you kidding me? How?!

Now, in all fairness, I don’t remember people asking this question about Jack Bauer during the 200-some episodes of “24” that he survived with aplomb. But the difference is that one of those characters was a hyper-trained, militaristic, counter-terrorist agent working with unlimited weaponry and the finest technology money can buy, and the other is an unarmed individual not allowed buttons, much less a cell phone.

The best answer that producers of the series have come up has nothing to do with the show’s narrative. It’s because June is the lead character. Which, fair, but you’ll forgive me if that answer leaves a little to be desired among those who find June’s continued existence a threat to the suspension of disbelief required to watch the series.

I’d like to believe that “The Handmaid’s Tale” has no intent to soldier on as long as “24” did, but the series appears to be as strong as it’s ever been, with rumbles suggesting that Season 3 was the most-viewed of the series to date and no sign of slowing in Season 4.

Still, the series finds itself in a unique position, in that Hulu already has its replacement plans locked and loaded. In 2019, Margaret Atwood published a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” titled “The Testaments,” much of which takes place 15 years after the events in the original novel. Hulu immediately optioned the rights, with executive producers of the original series — specifically Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, and Moss — examining how to utilize the new material.

In theory, this means that “The Testaments” will arrive as a series of its own making, likely to air when “The Handmaid’s Tale” ends its run and leaving as little disruption of the Gilead Cinematic Universe as possible.

But how? Do you run the adventures of June and friends into the ground, pushing on for as long as you have an audience, or do you move toward an exit strategy, allowing this chapter of the “Handmaid’s” tale to close and transition into a new and different world?

The latter seems like the obvious choice for those of us anxious to return to the material directly designed by Atwood and who are wary of “The Handmaid’s Tale” wearing out its welcome. At the same time, what do you do with an audience deeply invested in the fate of June Osborne, once June Osborne is no longer around? (Osborne does not appear in “The Testaments.”)

We have some ideas.

For more on our brilliant plans to end “The Handmaid’s Tale”, check out this week’s episode of IndieWire’s TV podcast “Millions of Screens” as Deputy TV Editor Ben Travers, Creative Producer Leo Garcia, and I, TV Awards Editor Libby Hill, put our heads together and to figure out a plan that no one asked us for. Plus, the crew is back on its “Mare of Easttown” bullshit with this week’s edition of Leo’s Murder Suspect Power Rankings, in which he attempts to untangle the twisty murder-mystery while Ben and Libby try not to give away the game (through Episode 5, at least). 

And as if that wasn’t enough, this week’s podcast digs into new and exciting casting news including some of our favorite shows (“Succession”), some of our favorite stars (Elizabeth Olsen), and also David E. Kelley.

“Millions of Screens” is available on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with the crew on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Review the show on iTunes and be sure to let us know if you’d like to hear the gang address specific issues in upcoming editions of “Millions of Screens.” Check out the rest of IndieWire’s podcasts on iTunes right here.

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