5 Reasons Brave New World Has High Potential for TV

Brave New World
Brave New World

This week, Syfy announced plans to develop Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World into a series with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. There’s a lot that can go wrong in adapting such a beloved book. But after re-skimming our torn-up copies from high school, we’re feeling optimistic about its television potential. Here, five reasons why Brave New World might make a great TV show.

1. Despite its crazy-futuristic society, the main character (John, a.k.a. the “Savage”) is still relatable.

The seemingly utopian universe of Brave New World is unplagued by nasty wars and disease, but the easy living is dependent on consumerism, conformity, and lots of mind-softening drugs. If Syfy follows the basic plot of the story (which they should), John will be born on the Savage Reservation–where non-conformers are banished to live with the complications of emotions, marriage, religion, addiciton, etc.–and travel to the World State to see the dystopian wonders of the place from which his parents came. Having an emotionally cognizant lead character who is seeing the futuristic society with fresh eyes, as the audience will, is key to keeping the sci-fi grounded. And the fact that he doesn’t truly belong in either the Reservation or the World State makes for a compelling television outsider.

2. It’s sexy… Or, well, there’s a ton of sex.

In this universe, love and families are seen as horrible, unnatural things, and babies are made by science, not the old-fashioned way. Recreational sex (including orgies) is a social activity as common as getting coffee with someone, which leads to a lot of random rendezvous throughout the story. Though this sounds more fitting for an HBO or Starz series, as we all know, sex sells.

3. It can’t get bogged down with love stories.

Though love does crop up eventually with the emotionally capable characters in BNW, most characters shouldn’t have a romantic story, or even the desire to love, which is kind of a relief. One or two love-related storylines can be great, but genre shows often rely too heavily on romantic moments to carry the story. Sometimes, we just don’t need that.

4. Huxley’s world is loaded with details.

Syfy, so help us Ford if you don’t take every opportunity possible to name drop Brave New World‘s “God,” Henry Ford. We’re also looking forward to seeing T-shaped crosses, air-lighthouses, and maybe even a nice game of elevator squash. If the series skips these details, not only will it lose the Huxley-obsessors, but it’ll bore the rest of the network’s sci-fi fan base who will be looking for something to differentiate this world from the rest.

5. Syfy can’t possibly ruin something so good.

The book was named fifth on Modern Library’s 1999 list of 100 Best English-language Novels of the 20th Century. Syfy wouldn’t lay a finger on adapting an American classic as elevated as this one unless they knew they could knock it out of the park. Right? Right?