Hulu Original Harlots Tells the Story of 18th Century Sex Work, All with Women Writers, Directors & Producers

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I’ve been interested in Hulu’s upcoming original series Harlots ever since I heard about it last October, and now we’ve finally got our first teaser-trailer of the series.

Why am I already on board? Well, the studio behind the project–Monumental Pictures–is also putting together an Ada Lovelace biopic, as well as an adaptation of Caitlin Moran’s bestselling book How to Build a Girl. What’s more, Harlots has gone out of its way to hire women writers, directors, and producers, such as Coky Giedroyc (Penny Dreadful) and China Moo-Young (Thirteen, Humans).

According to THR, the 8-part series promises to show just as much male nudity as female nudity–and, specifically, to focus on the perspective of the show’s heroines. Executive producer Alison Owen put it this way: “It was very important to us from the beginning to make it about the female gaze. We were determined to make something different. Our hope from the beginning was, ‘Everything from the whore’s eye view.'”

Executive producer Debra Hayward added, “We really set out to get all female directors. We got the best of the best in the U.K., and it has influenced the show exactly the way we wanted it to.”

The creative team also insists that the show will attempt to be historically accurate, although the trailer above includes an intentionally anachronistic piece of music to illustrate the show: “Kids” by Sleigh Bells. The juxtaposition reminds me a bit of Sofia Coppola’s 2006 Marie Antoinette movie, which also made use of modern music and stylistic choices, but to a much larger extent than I expect Harlots to do.

At this point, based on this very short teaser, I have no idea what to expect of Harlots yet from a narrative standpoint, but I’m intrigued by the concept. I like the idea of a show about sex work that isn’t being presented as “for” men to watch and enjoy (so, the opposite of the “sexposition” of Game of Thrones‘ brothel scenes). It also stars Jessica Brown Findlay, A.K.A. Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey, which is pretty awesome. In any case, I went ahead and added it to my Hulu subscription queue, which you can do yourself by clicking on this link. The show premieres on March 29, 2017.

(via Women and Hollywood, image via screencap)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (