'The Handmaid's Tale' Renewed For Fourth Season At Hulu

At the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Hulu announced that the streaming service has officially renewed its Emmy-winning drama The Handmaid's Tale for a fourth season.

Variety has the news about The Handmaid's Tale season 4 announcement. Star Elisabeth Moss will presumably be back as June, but with three episodes still left in season 3, I suppose the show could technically take a drastic turn and kill off its central protagonist. That seems incredibly unlikely, given the way this show operates and how the third season has been about June coming to the realization that she has a specific purpose she wants to fulfill while she's trapped in the oppressive society of Gilead.

The first season featured ten episodes, but seasons two and three have thirteen each; while an episode count for season four has not been announced yet, I'm really hoping the show drops its episode count considerably. That would allow it to tighten up its storytelling, something it desperately needs to do if it wants to remain a must-watch in the peak TV era. Season three started out strong but hit a huge snag during its middle stretch, and while I can appreciate the idea of showrunner Bruce Miller pumping the plot brakes in order to create compelling character moments, that's not what's happened here. Season three feels like the show is spinning its wheels – so much so that I found myself hoping that the entire series would wrap up for good in the next three episodes.

This announcement insures that we'll return to Gilead again, but considering Miller has mentioned in the past that he's envisioned the show lasting for ten seasons, I'm still a bit concerned about the overall narrative arc of The Handmaid's Tale. Miller and his writers already adapted the entirety of Margaret Atwood's novel in season one – how much longer can the show realistically last?