It's official: Hulu's original content is a serious contender in the streaming media space.
While The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's original drama series based on Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel of the same name, has been thought-provoking must-see television since its debut in March, the Emmy awards cemented its status.
The show seriously cleaned up at the Emmys, receiving awards in 8 of the 11 categories for which it was nominated. The biggest wins of the night, however, were when Elisabeth Moss won her first Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and when the show won overall for Outstanding Drama Series.
But what does this mean for the streaming landscape as a whole? Though Hulu's night was studded with wins, Netflix (widely considered a giant in the world of original content) actually claimed double the awards in the final count. And yet, while some meaningful wins went to shows like Master of None (wherein actress and screenwriter Lena Waithe became the first African American woman to win a comedy writing credit) and The Crown, Netflix lacked a runaway hit like Hulu.
Hulu also beat out Amazon Prime originals over the course of the night, and became the first streaming service to win an Emmy for an Outstanding Drama series, officially ushering in a new era for television and the awards show alike.
While Hulu has certainly made a name for itself this awards season, it hasn't always been synonymous with prestige (far from it, in fact). When the streaming service launched in 2007, it was seen mainly as a way to watch network tv online, as well as a dumping-ground for less popular series that may have missed the mark the first time around.
To say Hulu was slow to create a niche for itself would be an understatement. And as Netflix and Amazon rolled out prestigious content like House of Cards and Transparent, respectively, Hulu's original content early on fell flat, with a Steven King adaptation that didn't land. With The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu shows that it has not only course-corrected, but done so far beyond its competitors.
Of course, the impact of the current political climate on The Handmaid's Tale may be partially responsible for its reception, too. When the project was first taking shape, prior to the 2016 election, showrunners expected to launch the show into a very different present. The fact that the show resonated so deeply with the reality that viewers found themselves in is, in some ways, a happy accident for Hulu and one that will be near impossible to repeat with future programming.
Nonetheless, it seems that this prestigious position within the streaming world is Hulu's to lose at this point. With Amazon swiftly cancelling shows a season or two in, and Netflix pulling the plug on an increasing number of series this year, it'll be interesting to see what Hulu does with this newfound dominance of the streaming space.
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