The Radio Times logo

Where to watch and stream The Handmaid's Tale - is the dystopian series on Netflix?

Find out where to watch and stream The Handmaid's Tale, if The Handmaid's Tale is on Netflix as well as your guide to the cast, seasons and what it's about

Published: Friday, 6th September 2019 at 9:45 am

The series was created by Bruce Miller, and was based on the bestselling dystopian novel by celebrated Canadian author Margaret Atwood. This hard-hitting, thought-provoking drama is as as haunting as it is compelling.


Critically acclaimed for its terrifying depiction of a possible future in which women become child-bearing slaves, the series has won eight Emmy Awards.

Where to watch The Handmaid's Tale?

Unfortunately, The Handmaid's Tale isn't currently on Netflix, but you can watch it on Amazon Prime Video or Sky, or you could buy episodes on iTunes. Alternatively, you could buy the DVD box set.

What is The Handmaid's Tale about?

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu trailer screenshot, EH)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu trailer screenshot, EH)

The dystopian series imagines a future where so few women are fertile (due to a combination of pollution and disease) that the few remaining are subjected to government-sanction childbearing slavery in order to propagate the human race.

Women in general are treated terribly, and are divided into limited social categories labelled by the different colours of their dresses. Although the story is fictional, every terrible thing that happens to a woman in the series is based on a true story of a woman somewhere in the world today.

The series stays close to the book, which Atwood described to the New York Times as "a study of power, and how it operates and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime." A sequel to the 1985 novel is due to be released in 2019, which will follow the characters in the future. Depending on its success, this new story may also be brought to the TV series.

What channel does The Handmaid's Tale air on in the UK?

The Handmaid's Tale airs on Sundays at 9pm in the UK, on Channel 4.

Who's in the cast of The Handmaid's Tale?

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Channel 4

Elizabeth Moss of Mad Men plays Offred, Yvonnne Stahovski of The Predator plays Serena Joy Waterford, and Alexis Bledel of Gilmore Girls plays Ofglen. You can find out more about the cast here.

How many seasons of The Handmaid's Tale are there?

There are three seasons of The Handmaid's Tale.

How many episodes of The Handmaid's Tale are there?

There are 34 episodes of The Handmaid's Tale.

Who wrote The Handmaid's Tale?

Handmaid's Tale season 3 trailer screenshot
Handmaid's Tale season 3 trailer screenshot

The TV series was created by Bruce Miller, and was based on the 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, by world-renowned author Margaret Atwood.

How does the book compare to the TV series?

The television series follows the book quite closely, preserving key features including the limited fertility of humanity in the future, and the terrifying torture that the women are subjected to.

However, since 1985 our visions of the future have changed, as has what's expected of television. The diversity of the characters in terms of ethnicity and sexuality has broadened, and smartphones have been introduced. Also, Offred's real name (Of-fred is just a label that she belongs to a man named Fred) is revealed to be June in the series, whilst in the book she was never given a real name. This was for the practical reason that it's difficult to film flashbacks before June became Offered without using her name.

Where is The Handmaid's Tale set?

Most of the story takes place in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near where the author of the original novel Margaret Atwood went to university. Time-wise, the original novel was thought to be set around 2005, but the new series is set at an unspecified year in the near future.

Where is The Handmaid's Tale filmed?

The Handmaid's Tale (trailer screenshot, EH)

The Handmaid's tale was filmed in and around Toronto, Canada.


Has The Handmaid's Tale been renewed?

In July 2019, The Handmaid's Tale was renewed for its forth season, which is expected to be released in 2020.


Sponsored content