Based loosely on the book of the same name, Brave New World is neither brave nor particularly new in a bloated sci-fi genre. What it is, however, is a very watchable series with some nice action set-pieces and a few good twists along the way. Of course, book lovers will almost certainly be turned away by this adaptation but if you can go in with an open mind and take to some of the big changes made to the novel, there’s enough here to enjoy.
Brave New World wastes little time welcoming you to the hedonistic world of New London in episode 1. The entire society revolve around 3 rules – no privacy, no family and no monogamy. Because of this, everyone is very happy…or are they?
Working in a science lab, a woman named Lenina is called into Bernard Marx’s office where they sit and discuss her recent sexual behaviour with a man named Henry. Of course, this is against the rules and after being reprimanded, she’s forced to head back to work again. While she leaves, Bernard is approached by the Director and informed they have a problem. That problem comes in the form of an accident involving a n Echilon worker named Jack standing next to the blood-stained remains of another, identical work who’s seemingly jumped from the roof.
Bernard heads back to his chambers and tries to make sense of what’s happened. As he mulls it over with Emotional Engineer Helm, he’s forced into attending Pleasure Gardens that night and encouraged to mingle and make love with multiple partners. However, he rejects the advances of a couple and walks away while Helm watches him from afar.
Away from the drug-induced euphoria of New London lies the Savage Lands. Various different workers eek out a living on the scraps they’re given and it’s a complete contrast to the fortunes of New London. Our main man here is John who works as a fixer-upper at the theme park. Back home, his strained relationship with his Mother Linda is made worse by intermittent power cuts.
That evening, John grabs a knife and heads outside where he’s quickly grabbed by men and shown the illuminated beauty of New London’s skyline. Showing him a whole tray of bullets, they tell John to open his eyes before sending him back. John acts coldly toward Madysun but it’s clear that he’s starting to see more now as he fingers a bullet in his hand while drinking a beer.
Back in New London, Bernard is called out for his behaviour in Pleasure Gardens. As a way of making sure this doesn’t happen again, Bernard is given a ticket to visit The Savage Lands before being berated by Helm who arrives and calls him out for his hypocrisy. Bernard however sees through the whole facade of this world and starts to question who and what this world is, which is where the episode ends.
The Review Write-Up
With plenty of nudity and lots of big thematic questions surrounding happiness and the perfect utopia, Brave New World sees the early signs of cracks appearing in this seemingly perfect world. With Lenina, Bernard and John all seemingly the main protagonists here, it’ll be interesting to see how they encounter one another and what the future holds for them. While some of the acting is a little hit or miss at times, it can be chalked up in part to the Soma pills everyone’s popping to hide their emotions.
Given I haven’t read the book I can’t comment on how well this has been adapted and I’d imagine there will almost certainly be a vocal group of people unhappy if this has changed the source material. As a newcomer though, Brave New World isn’t too bad although it remains to be seen if this can rise up and become more than another mediocre sci-fi offering. Time will tell!