The Handmaid's Tale could go on for 10 seasons - but can great TV stay great?
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The Handmaid’s Tale could go on for 10 seasons – but can great TV stay great?

Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is facing eight more gruelling years

The Handmaid’s Tale could last for 10 seasons, according to the boss of streaming service Hulu.

The first series of the dystopian drama was based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, but went beyond the book’s plot for the current second season.

A third has been commissioned and Hulu chief executive Randy Freer said the show could last well beyond that.

“I hope, as success goes, there’s 10 seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale,” he told Variety.

He revealed that writers had already started work on the scripts for the third series.

“The creative process will determine, is it a fourth season, is it five seasons?” he said.

“And I think that’s one of the benefits for creators in the streaming world – shows can take a natural progression, they can live for as long as they should live or they can end.”

The first series of the drama, which is shown in Channel 4 in the UK, won five Emmy Awards last year, including best drama series and best actress for Elisabeth Moss.

But it’s not necessarily a good thing for hit shows to be prolonged for as long as possible.

Nina Kiri and Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid's Tale
Image captionNina Kiri and Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale

Caroline Crampton, co-host of The New Statesman’s culture podcast Srsly, said she was “absolutely not” relishing the prospect of another eight seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale.

“I’m barely on board with the fact that they’ve made a second series, to be honest,” she said.

“I think they’ve lost the reason why people loved the first series and indeed loved the book – it had this very well-constructed narrative arc. When it got to the natural ending point of that person’s story, it stopped.

“There’s not always necessarily a reason to keep going just because people are watching it.”

For TV executives, however, it’s “a long-running temptation” to keep a show going for commercial reasons.

But she adds: “If you’re looking purely from the quality point of view and what the right thing to do by the story is, then I don’t think it does make sense.”

In Emmy Awards history, shows are most likely to be nominated for outstanding drama series for their second series, and the likelihood of being shortlisted – an indicator of quality – drops off after that.

Four shows that kept up the quality

Kit Harington in Game of Thrones
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