The Handmaid's Tale, the award-winning TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel, has been renewed for a third season by the US streaming service Hulu.
The news doesn't exactly come as a surprise, given that the Elisabeth Moss-starring drama has won more than 30 awards to date, including the Emmy for best drama.
While Hulu is not available in the UK, Channel 4 secured the rights to the show from production company MGM Television, and season one was a ratings hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Season two of the dystopian drama, which centres on the totalitarian society of Gilead where women are treated as property of the state, has already begun in the States, and the early reaction has been positive.
Margaret Atwood at the premiere of The Handmaid's Tale in 2017 (Photo: Getty)
Hulu does not release audience figures, but has revealed that last week's premiere doubled its audience compared to the opening episode of the first season last year.
In a positive review, Vox's Caroline Framke writes: "In season two, The Handmaid’s Tale continues to be an angry, searing piece of work. When it forces you to hold its infuriated gaze, it makes it clear that your inability to do so for long is exactly the point."
'Intense, shocking and indescribably good'
Fans of the show have been equally impressed, struggling to contain their excitement on Twitter:
You guys I’m trying to be calm now but OMGOODNESS HANDMAIDS TALE SEASON TWO!! Ok ok ok ok calm down calm down! AND THEY GOT EPISODE TWO UP!! (grabs iPad and tea jumps in bed) @HandmaidsOnHulu
— Leslie Jones 🦋 (@Lesdoggg) April 30, 2018
I’ve just finished watching the first two episodes of season 2 of the Handmaids Tale. Without a doubt it is the most disturbing and frightening thing I have ever seen on TV. The acting of Elizabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel is intense, shocking and indescribably good.
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) April 28, 2018
Just a reminder that Episode 3 of #HandmaidsTale will torture and murder your soul. Also it's a must see.
— 🌊Barbara🌊 (@ThisBarbara) May 2, 2018
The obvious challenge of spinning more storylines out of Atwood's acclaimed 1985 novel is that the source material has already run dry. But showrunner Bruce Miller has been trusted with writing a further season with the backing of the Canadian author, who is an executive producer.
The trailer for season two has already suggested that the scope and scale of Offred’s story is being expanded in new and thought-provoking ways.
In an interview with i last year, one of the show's writers, Dorothy Fortenberry, suggested that its power lies in its relevance and relatability: “Offred’s not a superhero and that’s part of what makes us think ‘that could be me, I could be caught up in a system that I never really anticipated while I was busy going to work and looking at my phone’.
“I think as much as possible, we need to be able to look at what’s happening around us. Try to be thoughtful about how quickly change can happen. Because actually, it’s happening all the time.”
When is The Handmaid's Tale season two released in the UK?
There is not a confirmed UK release date for Channel 4 just yet, but we can expect a return to Gilead in the next few weeks, going by last year's broadcast scheduling.
In the meantime, here are the burning questions from season one that need answered, if you're looking to catch up.
Originally published on our sister title, iNews