Brave New Sharknado? Syfy To Adapt Aldous Huxley’s Classic, Brave New World

Skeptical literary nerd is skeptical.

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I’m more of a George Orwell/1984 girl myself, but there’s no denying that Aldous Huxley’s dystopian view of the future in Brave New World has given generations tons to think about with regard to consumerism, hedonism, and an “on demand” culture way before On Demand was even a thing. And now, it’s going to be adapted into a TV show. By Syfy. The network that brought us Sharknado and started prioritizing wrestling even though the network isn’t called WrestFy.

Here’s how Syfy’s press release sums up the show, which will be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television:

Brave New World is set in a world without poverty, war or disease. In this world, humans are given mind-altering drugs, free sex and rampant consumerism are the order of the day, and people no longer reproduce but are genetically engineered in “hatcheries.” Those who won’t conform are forced onto “reservations” – until one of these “savages” challenges the system, threatening the entire social order.

There are valid reasons to be skeptical:

1) The aforementioned Sharknado, pointing to low-budget production value that wouldn’t exactly be able to capture the decadence of the world of the show. To quote Luke Thompson over at Topless Robot: “I mean, even my very favorite thing on the network, Defiance, is one of their biggest-budgeted things ever and still looks a little dodgy in spots.” Not to mention pointing to a penchant for the…how do I say this delicately? The dumb.

However, it’s being produced by Amblin, which might have a bit more money to throw at this production. I doubt Spielberg is gonna be involved in something and then skimp.

2) The aforementioned wrestling on Syfy. It’s like, look, I respect WWE as a thing, and know that tons of people love it. Hell, I used to get into Smackdown back in the day. But I used to come to Syfy back when it was SciFi looking for quality (in storytelling if not in production value) science-fiction/genre content. Sometimes, it seems like they’ve strayed from that being a priority, and are trying too hard to be like every other network.

However, perhaps choosing this is an example of the opposite? After all, this is also still the network that brought us Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Lost Girl, and Being Human. And right now, there’s a cadre of current and upcoming shows that are actually presenting nuanced women in genre; shows like Olympus, Dark Matter, and Killjoys. And of course, there’s 12 Monkeys, which I don’t watch, but Jill demands that you do!

I’m also fascinated by the idea of doing Brave New World as a television show. We’ve had movie adaptations in the past, but a TV show would allow the characters to progress and grow and change in new ways, and would allow the writers and actors the opportunity to really delve into the inner lives of these people. What makes a person who’s satisfied with drugging themselves to oblivion tick? A show like this could try to work that out.

I guess I’m less skeptical than I thought. More…cautiously optimistic. After all, I can’t complain that a network “doesn’t do quality sci-fi anymore” while ignoring all of their attempts to do just that, huh? This is what happens when one relies on hype and marketing rather than on checking things out for themselves. Noted.

What do you all think about a Brave New World television adaptation?

(via Topless Robot)

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Image of Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.