'The Handmaid's Tale' Scores Major Viewership Milestone for Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale may be just four episodes into its current season, and only a week out from its premiere, but Season 4 is already pulling in some massive numbers for Hulu. Following the Episode 4, "Milk," premiere on Wednesday, the streaming company revealed that The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 premiere now ranks as Hulu's most-watched original title.

According to Deadline, which was first to report news of the achievement, the Season 4 premiere, "Pigs," is the most-watched original debut during the course of a week for either a film or TV series season debut. The episode, which followed the aftermath of the Season 3 finale, also serves as the series' most-watched episode, and Deadline reports the series now ranks as the No. 1 SVOD series overall on Hulu. At this time, exact viewership numbers are not known, though the outlet notes that the Kristen Stewart-Mackenzie Davis holiday romantic comedy Happiest Season, which Hulu announced last year tanked as their most-watched film ever in a given weekend, reached more than 416,000 households during first weekend viewership.

The achievement is a massive feat for the Hulu series. Although the dystopian drama has taken home more than a dozen Emmys, Season 4 was largely met with mixed reviews from critics ahead of its premiere. Currently, the season has a 67% fresh Tomatometer rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and a 72% rating from viewers. The new batch of episodes dropped on April 28, when "Pigs," "Nightshade," and "The Crossing" were all made available for streaming after a nearly two-year wait for new episodes, as production had been halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Season 4 picks up after the events of Season 3, which found June leading a massive operation that ultimately resulted in 86 children safely making it out of Gilead and to Canada.

"In the upcoming fourth season of The Handmaid's Tale, June (Elisabeth Moss) strikes back against Gilead as a fierce rebel leader, but the risks she takes bring unexpected and dangerous new challenges," Hulu's official synopsis for the season reads. "Her quest for justice and revenge threatens to consume her and destroy her most cherished relationships."

Season 4 is set to consist of 10 episodes, with the streamer having aired Episode 4 on Wednesday. New episodes drop each Wednesday, and you can view them by signing up for a Hulu subscription here. While the season is set to conclude on June 16, Hulu has already given the green light for Season 5.

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