Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale has dominated cultural headlines this week. Whether it’s discussions of the feminism of the work, discussions of the cast’s denial of the feminism of the work, analysis of the feminist implications of the clothing, or, yes MORE discussion of the feminism of the work, it’s hard to read a newspaper or magazine without reading about this show. And that extends to British media, too, with articles and reviews appearing in UK sites the Week, Den of Geek, the Daily Mail, the Independent, the Telegraph and the Guardian.
And yet, as Katie Khan pointed out, there is no legal way for UK residents to watch it.
US residents are able to legally watch The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu’s video service, by either signing up for a free trial or paying $7.99 a month for the subscription. But it’s currently impossible to sign up from the UK (wihout illegally using a VPN to bypass geographic restrictions on licensing).
Responding to unhappy Brits on Twitter, Hulu explained: “Sorry! We don’t have int’l streaming rights for our content, so our service is not available outside the U.S. currently,” adding, “Expanding across the pond is part of our long-term goals. We’ll share your interest in this”.
The sheer popularity of the series could see a UK option rushed through, but in the mean time it raises questions of how or whether international media should cover cultural stories of huge US interest.
For those who can’t wait to get involved in the debate, there is, of course, another option – read the book.
Now listen to a discussion of The Handmaid’s Tale on the NS pop culture podcast: