Programming Review: ‘Brave New World’
Brave New World, the drama from NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock, spins a tale from a classic book into a new version of humanity’s future.
The series is based on Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel and explores a dystopian future in which everything and everyone is seemingly perfect. The recipe for this new utopia is outlined in the very first scene, which describes the fictional New London as a place where only three rules are in effect: No privacy, no monogamy and no family. With nothing to restrict their free lifestyles — and with plentiful and TV-MA-rated orgies to attend — the citizens of New London are seemingly in a state of harmony at all times.
Anyone in New London experiencing the slightest bit of angst is quickly given Soma pills, created to satiate their mood and return to a state of tranquility.
But not everyone is satisfied. Scientist Lenina Crowne (Jessica Brown Findlay) wants a monogamous relationship, but her secret is discovered by Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd), part of the Alpha Plus elites who are in charge of New London. Bernard, though, also questions his identity and fate within the system and eventually befriends Lenina in a search for something more.
Their quest takes them to the outskirts of town, to a theme park dubbed the Savage Lands, which represents what life was like when monogamy, greed and other “sins” dominated society. The lands are populated by “savages” — outsiders unwilling to give up their freedoms. The savages eventually stage an uprising against the park owners and visitors, forcing Bernard and Lenina to flee or be killed. The two are saved by John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich), and the group eventually returns. But soon John’s unwillingness to conform to the New World, and Bernard and Lenina’s continued questioning of the status quo, threaten to destroy New London’s way of life.
Peacock hopes the fun, entertaining nine-episode series will anchor its lineup of original and acquired content and draw subscribers into its tent.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.