Not So Brave New World

Invent a better storyline just to get stuck on the old one.


You wanna know what I think of the Brave New World show on Peacock? I think it tells the wrong story.

Brave New World (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb

The show is about these three attractive and awkward people, who are in a not-love triangle, who accidentally start a revolution of the underclass Epsilons and then magically survive to hate each other by the end of it.

Look, I didn’t get through the whole book, nor have I seen any other adaptations. But there’s enough genderbending characters and blind racial casting that staying loyal to the original text is a nonissue, so they should have done away with the uprising idea and gone for the other end instead.

If I’m not mistaken, the 2020 show brings a whole new subplot: the other World Controllers.

Along with the leader we know, Mustafa Mond (Nina Sosanya), the World Controllers are the scientists who invented both the emotion-suppressing Soma pills, as well as the omniscient computer presence, Indra. Of the ten, we know Mond and not the other Controllers because their bodies are in stasis. (Why, we may ask? Something something humanity is disappointing. Why does Mond have scars all over her? NO CLUE. Totally missed it.)

We see Mond visit another Controller, Elliot (Joseph Morgan), in a simulation. Elliot tries to convince her to stay, but she refuses.

There’s some question of whether all of it is, in fact, a computer simulation, THAT NEVER GETS SATISFIED.

We also see Mond playing a game –

(it’s called Go – and it’s been showing up more often, also seen in Knives Out, and I know this because my husband loves it and yes it’s hell to play if you don’t know what you’re doing AKA me)

– with a young woman, who we later discover is sentient computer presence Indra (Sophie McIntosh), who we LATER discover is modeled after young Mond. There’s a bit about how Indra thinks of Mond as her mother.

It’s all kind of complicated and makes sense if you stretch your imagination, a fact that I am very salty about.

The writers should have thrown out the boring attractive people – or, I don’t know, sidelined them, made another season, who cares – and focused on the brilliant and doomed scientists!

Ten of them, ripe with chemistry, with possibility. Is Mond betraying them by staying up top? Whose decision was it to fashion Indra after her? Why did she need to kill Elliot when everything was going down??

Not to mention, it would strengthen the bond between our world and theirs. By starting in a time that much less distant from ours, it would lessen the cutesiness and surrealness of the Savage Lands scenes, make it more likely that some of theirs could come from some of ours.

I’ll be honest, a big part of this is because the catalyst Epsilon is a clone of Elliot. I’m a sucker for jarring character changes, like Ewan McGregor in The Island – weaponized fool to aloof ass in six seconds flat. AND WE ONLY SPEND TIME WITH THE FOOL. Like, why???

I get why. The fool is learning, evolving. The fool is changing. He’s the catalyst. But he’s also really boring.

Indra takes full responsibility for the uprising, though we’re left unsure of how much she actually knew – she definitely orchestrated the Epsilon who killed himself way in the beginning, but she only claims to have known that John the Savage (Alden Ehrenreich) was coming to upend everything else. We don’t know if she ACTUALLY planned for him. There’s a really big difference there and while it’s kind of cool to not know how much was her doing, I STILL WANNA KNOW.

Another in a long list of complaints I have about streaming platforms and the shows that will come define our generation: *clears throat*

I hate that there’s money being thrown at the cinematography, the acting, the production design, just to have everything be dragged down by mediocre writing. I hate that the stories are being stretched like a rubber band to accommodate more episodes than necessary or enjoyable. And I HATE when there weren’t enough beta readers to identify the real anchor of the story. (See also: Angelica in Hamilton but THAT’S FOR ANOTHER DAY.)

But hey … it’s a pretty show. It’s got cool futuristic sports, like Starship Troopers. Maybe that’s your jam. It’s certainly my jam. But it isn’t enough.

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