Brave New World (2020 TV series)
|Brave New World|
|Based on||Brave New World|
by Aldous Huxley
|Developed by||David Wiener|
|Composer||Jordan Gagne & Jeff Russo|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Running time||41–56 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original release||July 15, 2020|
Brave New World is an American science fiction drama series loosely based on the classic novel of the same name by Aldous Huxley. It premiered on the NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock on July 15, 2020. In October 2020, the series was cancelled after one season.
The series "imagines a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself." In an update of the original novel, an artificial intelligence system named Indra also connects citizens via a wireless network.
The series unfolds around a man (John) flawed in his relationships, transitioning from The Savage Lands whose citizens survive by entertaining New London, to New London, whose citizens live or serve an anti-monogamous, anti-solipsistic hedonistic existence. His mother facilitates their escape but dies in the process. She wishes a better life for her son, but John's flippant influence infects and ultimately destroys New London society. He does this by disrupting its morally questionable caste system, although he never recognises his responsibility for this or any previous consequence. In the aftermath, the New London AI (Indra) now embodied in John's now ex-bestfriend (Bernard) is free to perhaps make the citizens of The Savage Lands a little less "savage", and John's now ex-girlfriend (Lenina) is promoted to perhaps make New London a little more "savage".
Cast and characters
- Alden Ehrenreich as John the Savage
- Jessica Brown Findlay as Lenina Crowne, a technician who works at the Hatchery. She is a B+ who is a patient of Bernard.
- Harry Lloyd as Bernard Marx, an A+ who works as a counselor
- Kylie Bunbury as Frannie Crowne, a close friend to Lenina
- Nina Sosanya as Mustafa Mond
- Joseph Morgan as CJack60/Elliott 
- Sen Mitsuji as Henry Foster
- Nicholle Hembra as Alpha Female
- Hannah John-Kamen as Wilhelmina "Helm" Watson
- Demi Moore as Linda, John's mother who lives in The Savage Lands in a house with her son
- Jimmy Winch as Young John the Savage
- Ed Stoppard as the Director of Stability
This section's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (May 2021)
|No.||Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original release date |
|1||"Pilot"||Owen Harris||Grant Morrison & Brian Taylor and David Wiener||July 15, 2020|
|In a world without privacy where people are ranked, Lenina Crowne (a B+) is told by Bernard Marx (an A+) that her sexual relationship with Henry Foster (an A+) is beginning to appear anti-social for its seeming exclusivity. Later, Bernard Marx visits a group of Epsilons (E's) and finds out that one of them has committed suicide. He begins to think that the "soma" pills people take to feel happy might not work on every feeling of pain. About halfway into the episode, we are shown behind the scenes of The Savage Lands, an amusement park in an unattractive part of America. John the Savage receives a single bullet from a woman named Madysun, and is told that he's "being given a chance."|
|2||"Want and Consequence"||Owen Harris||David Wiener||July 15, 2020|
|After confrontation with his boss, Bernard is sent away to The Savage Lands on a futuristic rocket. Lenina joins him in this trip which is her first ever outside New London. Together, they tour the amusement park on a bus and discover life, family structure and the four houses of The Savage Lands. Meanwhile, Lenina and Bernard's relationship starts to develop in an unconventional way; they admit they want each other exclusively. John’s encounter with Madysun raises anxiety and confusion, and he tells his mother Linda they should leave in fear of being killed. At the House of Monogamy where a marriage ceremony show takes place, Lenina spots John cleaning the door glass. In the middle of the show, rebellions break out and shoot the visitors killing many and injuring others, including Bernard, who is shot in the shoulder. Lenina carries Bernard and runs away looking for a place to hide.|
|3||"Everybody Happy Now!"||Craig Zisk||Molly Nussbaum||July 15, 2020|
|In The Savage Lands. John takes Bernard, who's shot in the massacre, and Lenina to his house. His mother Linda, a former New London resident, decides to help them and convinces her son to leave with them to New London. The four of them are pursued by the revolution killers, and reach an energy barrier protecting the spaceport. Right before crossing the barrier, Linda spots a laser dot on John's back and quickly moves herself to shield him. She dies on the way back “home”. Once at New London, Bernard resumes taking somas and seems unable to recall much of the trip. In contrast, Lenina hesitates taking somas and wants to discuss the shocking experience outside New London. Following his mother’s death, John, enraged and in emotional pain, is locked in a holding room for observation, to get “fixed”.|
|4||"Swallow"||Craig Zisk||Allison Miller||July 15, 2020|
|Bernard introduces John to life in New London. The results of John’s measurements show his profile already exists in New London’s system as an A. Assigned to supervise John’s transition from a savage to a member of the social body, Bernard grows more curious. He then discovers that John’s data on the optic lens have similar characteristics with the director’s. Lenina struggles with reintegrating after her visit to The Savage Lands and feels the urge to rebel against the values of New London. John runs away in confusion and finds himself in the company of the Epsilons; he meets CJack60. The director locates John, goes offline, and promises to give him a ride back to The Savage Lands on an exclusive rocket trip. Suddenly, John discovers that the director is his father and confronts him. As they argue, John accidentally pushes his father off the cliff. Lonely and depressed, Lenina returns to Henry and begs for their forbidden relations to return. Bernard receives the news about the director’s death and is told it’s the beginning of a new era.|
|5||"Firefall"||Aoife McArdle||Nina Braddock||July 15, 2020|
|CJack60 emerges as a distinctive Epsilon drawing a sad face on the window. In a meeting, the World Controller Mustafa Mond asks Bernard about John’s progress integrating in the social body, and warns him that Indra will interfere and make a “correction” if he fails his task. Despite Bernard’s attempts, John refuses to wear the optic lens and shows no interest in New London. Lenina shows up for a short time and exchanges a brief look with John. Frannie confronts Lenina about her solipsistic behavior which leads to tension boiling between the two in a tennis game. Helm Watson, the director of Pleasure Bomb, fears her creative ideas for parties are running out. After meeting John, she realizes he could be the next creative element. John introduces her to story telling, an element so alien to New London.|
|6||"In the Dirt"||Aoife McArdle||Elaina Perpelitt||July 15, 2020|
|John’s stardom grows as a story teller. To New Londoners, stories of violence and lost love are as efficient as somas, and in return, John rejoices in the rewards of sex and fame - he’s the biggest trend now. Despite living in glory, John grows tired of telling the same stories and feels the need to disconnect. He takes off at night and stumbles into Lenina. He asks her to join him on a trip to other parts of New London where she’s never set foot. He then invites her to take off her lens and pretend they have a quiet life, fishing and farming, and that they're both happy. Their adventure ends up in a passionate lovemaking. Growing more concerned about Indra’s behavior, Mustafa visits “Elliott”, a man living in an underground world and the one many Epsilon clones are based on. Elliott tells “Jane” (that's how he calls Mustafa) not to worry and join him in his sleep. On her way back to New London, Indra chases Mustafa and attempts to kill her by flooding the underground tunnel.|
|7||"Monogamy and Futility, Part 1"||Andrij Parekh||Coleman Herbert||July 15, 2020|
|John and Lenina continue to rejoice in their imaginary life together away from New London. When Lenina returns the walkman to John, he declares his love for her. But Lenina must perform her duties, including taking part in a hide and seek game where the Alphas chase the Betas then have sex. John asks her to stop having sex with other men, but if she does, Indra will recondition or banish her. Curious about the dating concept, Bernard asks Lenina out and she accepts. Sitting together in a flying vehicle, Lenina rejects Bernard’s romantic advances and starts mumbling the melody of Perfect Day, which led Bernard to suspect a possible relationship between her and the savage. At the bar, John vents his frustration at the Epsilons for being garbage men and throws a glass on the floor. CJack60 mimics John’s first, then the Epsilons follow. In an attempt to stop Indra from destroying the world, Mustafa visits a decayed building searching for answers. Indra makes a hologramic appearance and tells “her mother” Mustafa that the answer to keeping humans happy forever is...suicide.|
|8||"Monogamy and Futility, Part 2"||Andrij Parekh||Vivian Huang & Jean Pesce||July 15, 2020|
|John visits Helm’s workshop wearing the optic lens and allows her to access his memories. By watching them playing in front of her eyes, Helm discovers what it’s like to feel for the first time. To validate his suspicions about the savage and Lenina, Bernard forces Gary (a Gamma) to reveal their secretive relationship. Meanwhile, Frannie worries that Lenina is becoming more destabilizing and that everyone can sense she’s troubled. After his disturbing dialog with Mustafa, Henry tells Bernard that John is needed more than ever as distraction. Confrontation between Indra and Mustafa continues as the World Controller argues she didn’t design Indra to be suicidal. Indra counters she’s made selfless, and that she plans to use John as a fatal event. Mustafa realizes John is beyond Indra’s influence and the system can’t account for him. Bernard forcefully takes Helm’s lens, accesses John’s memories and exposes them publicly. The Epsilons disobey Bernard and Henry’s orders and begin their revolution.|
|9||"Soma Red"||Ellen Kuras||Grant Morrison||July 15, 2020|
|Bernard is appointed the new Director as Henry is found dead. CJack60 tells John he killed Henry and wants to start a revolution under John’s leadership. The rebellious Epsilons destroy the distillery that supplies New London with somas, then go out stabbing New Londoners. In the midst of this chaos, Mustafa warns Indra that once everything is wiped out, Indra will face loneliness which isn’t what it’s built for. As Mustafa begins to shut the system down, Bernard finds himself in a red void with Indra’s hologramic presence (The Jewel Net of Indra), then the world around him starts to dissipate. He wakes up on a cliff-edge next to a mysterious gold box with Helm telling him she had a vision; he's the leader of a place that feels everything. Together, they travel to The Savage Lands looking for the rebellions’ leader and give her the box. The finale ends with John living his dream life in a simulation, and Lenina, the new Director of Stability, overlooking the remnants of New London from her office window. Indra is now free into the world, and for the first time, will experience every feeling...just like a child.|
In 2015, Syfy announced their intention to develop the series, with Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey producing. In 2016, writers Les Bohem, Grant Morrison, and Brian Taylor were attached to the project. On February 13, 2019, the series was moved to the USA Network, with David Wiener replacing Bohem as a writer and Owen Harris directing the pilot.
In April 2019, Ehrenreich was cast as John the Savage. In the same month, it was announced that Lloyd would be cast in the series regular role as Bernard Marx. In May 2019, it was announced that Jessica Brown Findlay would be cast in the role of Lenina Crowne. In June 2019, Kylie Bunbury, Hannah John-Kamen, Sen Mitsuji, Joseph Morgan, and Nina Sosanya were added to the main cast in various supporting roles, with Demi Moore set to appear in a recurring role. On September 17, 2019, NBCUniversal announced that the series would be moved to Peacock. The series premiered on July 15, 2020.
On October 28, 2020, Peacock canceled the series after one season. It marked the first major TV series cancellation for the streaming service.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 46% based on 56 reviews, with an average rating of 5.70/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Brave New World is sleek and seductive, but not very daring, only skimming the surface of Aldous Huxley's dystopian epic without plumbing its philosophical depths." On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 55 out of 100 based on 26 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Sonia Saraiya of Vanity Fair gave it a positive review and wrote: "The new series is a clever modern adaptation, engaging deeply with the source material while dispensing with Huxley's glaringly racist themes and some of the misogyny, too."
Judy Berman of Time suggests the show owed more to Westworld than Huxley, but said the series looked gorgeous and the performances were solid. Berman found the show lacking. "Television thrives on rich characters, but, in large part because it's set in a realm devoid of eccentricity, I struggled to get invested in this bunch. ... Brave New World feels [inert] as serialized TV."
Daniel D'Addario of Variety gave it a mixed review and wrote:
So many of the characters we meet in this series are not merely loathsome but have so completely had the character trained out of them through a lifetime of sloth that we grab onto what little signs of life are there elsewhere. ... Both Brown Findlay and Ehrenreich seem frustratingly tamped-down here. ... No wonder the actors seem exhausted; their project, deep into its first season, doesn't know what kind of show it wants to be.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||April 6, 2021||Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project||Guy Williams, Justin Gros-Désir, Markus Sterner, Ryan Clarke (for New London)||Nominated|||
Brave New World premiered on July 15, 2020, on Peacock in the United States, and Sky One in the UK on October 2, 2020. Internationally, the series was originally scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in Oceania and New Zealand on August 21, but the series was instead released on September 18, 2020. In Canada, the series was released on Showcase on September 13, 2020. In Russia, the series was released on July 16, 2020, on the streaming service KinoPoisk HD. In Germany, the series was released on the streaming service TVNOW at the end of September 2020. In Australia, the series was released on the streaming service Stan on October 16, 2020. In Spain and Europe, the series was released on the streaming service Starzplay on October 4, 2020.
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