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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brave New World is a science fiction drama series based on Aldous Huxley's landmark novel published in 1932. Monogamy is forbidden in the show's dystopian society, so sexual intercourse -- including orgies -- is a regular occurrence. Profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "balls," and "d---khead," is also used frequently. A middle-finger gesture also appears in the first episode. Characters regularly take a drug, in pill form, to control their emotions. The show also features gun violence and suicide, both accompanied by blood and gore.
What's the story?
BRAVE NEW WORLD is a sci-fi series loosely based on Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel of the same name. It primarily takes place in New London, a futuristic utopian society governed by three rules: No family, no privacy, no monogamy. The city's inhabitants -- categorized into classes, including alphas, betas, and epsilons -- frequently indulge their wildest sexual desires and pop happy pills. The real world still exists, sort of, as a tourist destination dubbed "Savage Lands Adventure Park." The story centers on John (Alden Ehrenreich), a "savage" who unexpectedly winds up in New London. Needless to say, chaos and conflict follow his arrival.
Is it any good?
This TV adaptation attempts to put a fresh spin on the dystopian, sci-fi drama genre. And while fans of Black Mirror, Westworld, and The Handmaid's Tale will note some familiar elements, Brave New World generally succeeds in charting new, if somewhat shallow, territory within the genre. The introduction of New London, a futuristic society that prohibits privacy, monogamy, and traditional family units, is immediately compelling, as is its strict caste system and reliance on antidepressants that are dispensed like Pez candy. That said, Brave New World also wastes no time showcasing its preference for style -- and sex -- over substance. If you're craving a deep, nuanced interpretation of the source material, you'll likely check out after the first orgy scene.
If you survive all the beautiful, writhing bodies, however, you'll find that the story gains steam when New London residents Bernard (Harry Lloyd) and Lenina (Jessica Brown Findlay) begin to question their place in this "perfect" society. Despite unlimited access to no-strings sex and happy pills, they're forever changed following a visit to the Savage Lands Adventure Park. A tourist destination celebrating the old/real world -- where visitors can watch reenactments of shotgun weddings and Black Friday shoppers assaulting each other -- the Savage Lands is also home to John (Alden Ehrenreich) and his hard-drinking mother, Linda (Demi Moore). The setup of both worlds, as well as their denizens' lives, provides a fantastic hook, but it's the consequence-filled convergence of the characters' paths that'll ultimately reel you in. While it leans more toward late-night guilty pleasure viewing than thought-provoking art, Brave New World still offers a satisfying binge that fans will eat up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Brave New World differs from the book it's based on. What has the series changed to make the source material relevant nearly 100 years after it was published? What elements have remained the same? How are characters portrayed in the series versus in the novel?
What are the major differences between New London and the Savage Lands? What would be some of the pros and cons of living in either society? What could the two societies learn from each other?
Why are New London's citizens categorized into different social classes? What are the roles of each class within the society? How do people from the different classes treat each other and why?
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