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One of the most important and influential novels of the last 100 years, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is a prescient and somewhat frightening tale of a future gone "perfect." TV viewers' futures are looking pretty good right now, as Syfy's in-development small screen version of the book has landed the foundation of its creative team with a modern icon of comic books in Grant Morrison, who will team up with Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage writer/director Brian Taylor. What the hell is happening here?
In what is definitely one of the crazier TV decisions made in recent history, the dystopian drama Brave New World will be brought to small screen live-action for the first time by one of the greatest comic storytellers working today and a filmmaker that embraces balls-out action at every step. Grant Morrison and Brian Taylor will not only be penning the adaptation as a team, but they'll also serve as executive producers on the project, along with Darryl Frank and Justin Valvey, co-presidents of Amblin Television. And if Amblin is involved, there's a little hint of Steven Spielberg in this, somewhere in the shadowy halls.
Since these guys presumably haven't yet put their brains to work on transferring this densely layered story to an episodic format, it's unclear just what parts of the book (and how much of those) we could expect to see from this project. Centuries into our future, people in Brave New World live under the World State, a dictatorship with a set of leaders at the head. This life is geared to happiness in the lowest common denominator sort of way, in that individuality doesn't exist and any form of higher art that inspires critical thought is basically banned. But there's hallucinogens and group sex, if that's up anyone's alley.
This version of Huxley's vision is the first one to make it to television, but it's definitely not the only adaptation. Since the novel's 1932 publication, there have been several radio plays, a theatrical stage performance, and a pair of made for TV movies - Burt Brinckerhoff's 1980 version and Leslie Libman and Larry Williams' 1998 version, featuring Leonard Nimoy as Mustapha. There was going to be a feature film version with Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio, but those plans were left to the savage areas outside the World State.
It's extremely exciting that Grant Morrison is finally getting into the world of TV writing, as other comic scribes like Robert Kirkman and Brian K. Vaughan have done some interesting stuff in recent years. Morrison has written for just about every DC superhero known to man (including most of the Justice League members) as well as the X-Men and Fantastic Four, plus a ton of other famed characters like Judge Dredd, Spawn and Swamp Thing, among many more. Taylor's last directorial effort was the disappointing Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and his last screenplay was for the also disappointing Jonah Hex, but here's hoping he can knock it out of the park when it's a novel and not a comic book.
Hopefully it won't be over 600 years in the future when Brave New World makes its way to Syfy, but it will likely still take Morrison and Taylor a while to break this story down before the casting process begins. Until then, check out everything coming to the small screen later this year with our fall TV preview.