Aldous Huxley has been dead a long time, but his best known book, the early distopian novel Brave New World, is still being read and maybe even enjoyed. Now comes word that Stephen Spielberg’s production company Amblin Entertainment will be making a TV version of that book for the Sy-Fy Channel.
Now comes the question of how much will actually get onscreen.
Despite an original publication date of 1932, Brave New World has some scenes that probably can’t be shown on television, aside from a premium channel that can ignore the FCC. Scenes that, if it were a movie, would be NC-17 rated. And a couple scenes that would maybe cause audiences to be…concerned about things.
See, the setting is an unspecified amount of time in the future. Society decided at some point to sacrifice things like family and art for happiness. Everyone is happy, but they’re also hedonistic idiots. They pop drugs if a bad feeling even attempts to hit them, and since babies are produced in factories and then custom-made to do various tasks depending on their class, well, the novel presents a society that just wants to do things that feel good all the time in a consumerist frenzy. It’s like the opposite of 1984.
This is a book where the climax, no pun intended, features a large group of people having an impromptu orgy.
It is also a book where small children are encouraged to play games that children shouldn’t play. That occurs in the first chapter.
It’s not a blueprint for a society, obviously, but suggests the horrors that could occur if people don’t, you know, accept that sometimes pain happens.
Major themes and such could appear, but I am mildly curious how much Sy-Fy would stay true to the source material, especially since the rampant sleaze is part of the point when an outsider to the society, a “savage” shows up and tries to denounce it as wrong, wishing for a world where Shakespeare could make a come back.
For more information, see below where my new favorite literary critic explains the book.