Brave New World is the flagship series of the new Peacock streaming network, the big expensive project NBC/Universal is hoping will entice millions of new subscribers. It is not that show, which is not to say that it’s bad. However, despite the talent and money behind it, it’s not going to be the kind of drama that attracts a ton of buzz. It’s not going to be the Peacock’s Westworld, although it shares some of the same DNA with the HBO drama (Brave New World is clearly influenced by Westworld, which is clearly influenced by Adlous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World). I actually like it better than Westworld, because there are fewer characters and it is easier to follow, which doesn’t make Brave New World the dumb person’s Westworld so much as it makes Brave New World the coherent person’s Westworld.
The show is set in a future dystopia called New London, where everyone is chemically treated to feel nothing. Ironically, it’s how the series makes most viewers feel: Nothing. It’s not bad. It’s not great. It’s fine. It’s not quite as good as The Morning Show, the series that Apple+ launched with (that improved over the course of its first season), but it is very watchable. That is due in part because of its attractive cast, including Alden Ehrenreich — who played Han Solo in Solo, but also always looks like he just walked off the set of West Side Story — and Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey, Harlots), as well as Harry Lloyd and Sen Mitsuji, who are attractive and interesting looking. Also, Kylie Bunbury from Pitch, who I can almost guarantee will make our Pajiba 10 in the next decade. Bunks will be renamed in her honor.
There are also a lot of orgies, which I may have mentioned in the headline. It’s because there are so many orgies, that’s why! It’s a show about a dystopian future, of course, and if you are wondering how they ended up in this dystopia, maybe it was all the orgies, which is as good a way as any to spread disease. These orgies are constant. About a month ago, I bought a year-long ad-free subscription of The Peacock upfront, and it’s good thing, because instead of commercials, Brave New World has orgies, and I don’t think I could handle both commercials and orgies, because that’s just too much time in which the plot is not advancing.
Granted, the orgies are crucial to the story. Brave New World is set in a future where monogamy, childbirth, and parenting are not allowed, which is to say: Anything that might make you feel joy or anger or frustration of happiness or sadness has been outlawed, although everyone is also on a steady diet of pills that ensures that no one ever feels anything anyway. The pills come in clickers. The only thing we hear more often than the orgies is the sound of the clickers dispensing pills. Click click. The point of the orgies, of course, is to illustrate how little anyone feels. Orgies are treated like getting a cup of coffee with 12 friends. Every night. Hey! Wanna have an orgy to go, or stay in and haven orgy tonight? They’re also useful to highlight the appeal of monogamy, because when Jessica Brown Findlay’s character gets caught in a love triangle between Harry Lloyd and Alden Ehrenreich’s character that’s trouble, because she’s not allowed to choose one or the other on account of the prohibitions against monogamy or falling in love.
The nightly orgies are also designed to show how tedious life in New London is, because nothing says tedious like nightly orgies so perfectly choreographed that they all look like mid-90s Madonna music videos. Express yourself! With an orgy! Also, all the orgies look stylish and sexy, but they never seem to take logistical considerations into account. I can’t tell you how many times it looks like someone is making love to a belly button. The orgies also look sort of like naked version of those zombie piles in World War Z: Just a mass of bodies and skin, and occasionally, Jessica Brown Findlay flashing f**k-me eyes from beneath a pile of naked bodies.
There’s a lot of sex in Brave New World, but it is rarely sexual, which is kind of the point. The monogamous sex looks a lot more appealing by contrast, which suggests that this new streaming service has a clear anti-orgy agenda. Such prudes!
Anyway, that’s my review of Brave New World. It’s fine! The cast is good. The writing is mediocre. It hews closely to Aldous Huxley’s novel, except when it departs from it. There are a surprisingly large amount of orgies, and yet, they are in no way the reason to watch or not to watch Brave New World. Watch it if you are bored! Don’t watch it if you have something better to do! Personally, I much preferred Peacock’s other new show, Capture.
Header Image Source: Peacock