Brave New World launched in July as an ambitious new adaptation of Aldous Huxley's classic novel of the same name, and the Peacock original expanded on the events of the book to craft a series that could easily run for several more seasons. While Huxley's 1932 novel was prescient in many ways, some elements of the book were outdated and even problematic by 2020 standards. Brave New World executive producer Grant Morrison (who also created Syfy's Happy) spoke with CinemaBlend about the Peacock series, and he shared the modern approach to a 1930s novel.
When I asked how he approached some of the more problematic and dated elements from the book and decided what could and couldn't stay the same for the show, Grant Morrison said:
In the book, Lenina is very much a product of her society in how she embraced promiscuity, communal living, and an overall lack of inhibition, and the result was John violently rejecting her despite his attraction to her. In the Brave New World show, Jessica Brown Findlay's Lenina is a product of her society who nevertheless sees the value in doing things differently, even before meeting John. Grant Morrison went the extra mile to make sure that Peacock's Lenina wouldn't meet the same fate as Aldous Huxley's Lenina.
Lenina of course did meet John, but the Savage Lands of the show were very different from those in the book. In Aldous Huxley's novel, the Savage Reservation is where the last remnants of Native Americans live in New Mexico, and a select few outsiders are allowed to go visit. In Brave New World on Peacock, the Savage Lands are more of a living museum and tourist attraction than anything else. Grant Morrison elaborated on how the Savage Lands impact Lenina's expanded show journey:
Lenina certainly experienced a culture shock once violence erupted in the Savage Lands and people started dying. She kept her head quite well considering her conditioning, whereas Bernard was quick to default back to who he was in New London as soon as they were out of danger. What she experienced with John in the Savage Lands combined with what she was open to learning from him really fueled a lot of the first season, even if the Epsilon uprising is more or less what took New London past the point of no return.
Grant Morrison explained why changing the Savage Reservation to the Savage Lands was important to the show and to the history of the world by that point in Brave New World:
Instead of presenting a Savage Reservation that would have put John and Linda in the middle of a Native American culture that had endured for centuries with little change like in the book, Brave New World the show established that American society such as it more or less is nowadays became the Savage Lands after the world changed but what remained of the United States remained separate.
As a result, John was familiar with death, violence, family, and monogamy without the show fully exploring a Savage Reservation like the one in Aldous Huxley's book. Grant Morrison explained the vision of the dystopian world and America that led to the utopia of New London vs. the Savage Lands:
So, elements of the book such as the treatment of Lenina and the portrayal of life in the Savage Reservation (as well as John as the "Savage") were updated for a modern ongoing series that fortunately didn't end with anybody hanging themselves or the cycle of soma and everybody belonging to everybody else destined to continue. In fact, with so many major characters surviving and some original characters, such as Joseph Morgan's Epsilon known as CJack60, still in the mix, the stage is seemingly set for Season 2.
For now, the full first season of Brave New World is available for watching and rewatching on Peacock Premium (opens in new tab). If you're in the market for more TV options now and in the not-too-distant future, check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule and our 2020 fall TV premiere guide.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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