People tend to think in terms of what they want but don’t have, as opposed to what they have and don’t need. This is poignantly clear in the world of video streaming services. Outright cutting the cord hasn’t trended as quickly as pundits predicted; instead, Netflix, Hulu, HBONow, Amazon Prime and the rest seem to be something that many buyers view as supplementary. But which one(s) should get their hard earned cash?

That comes down to the content — who has the stuff everyone says they “just have to watch”?

For Hulu, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is the streaming service’s big moment. And instead of treating this like a race, Hulu is treating the competitive landscape like a chess board.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is based on a novel written by Margaret Atwood written in 1985, which has spent the last six weeks on the NYT Best Seller’s list. It’s the story of a very near-future dystopia in which the religious right runs a military state after infertility rates dropped to a terrifying low. Women who are fertile, like main character Offred/June, are forced to bear children (through rape) for the elite and their wives.

Hulu’s original programming up to this point hasn’t been bad, per se — shows like “Difficult People” and “Casual” have caught the attention of critics, and “The Mindy Project” is a crowd-pleaser that left Fox for Hulu recently. But nothing in Hulu’s original programming portfolio rivals series like Netflix’s “House of Cards” and “Orange Is The New Black” or HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” gives these shows a real run for their money, and finally makes a Hulu subscription an actual must-have, instead of a convenience.

For a long time, Hulu has been the streaming service that lets you catch up on recent television — you can watch last night’s episode of “Scandal” or “South Park” without having a proper cable subscription, or more importantly, without having to watch 20 minutes of live TV commercials.

Netflix, on the other hand, has focused on offering full series that are no longer on television (like all ten seasons of “Friends”) and worthwhile films, all complimented by high-quality original programming like “House of Cards” and “Making a Murderer.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is the first Hulu original program that would entice me to purchase a Hulu subscription, if I didn’t already have one. And if you love TV, you should consider it, too.

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