The small screen Brave New World project has been given a straight-to-series order for a 10-episode inaugural season by the NBCU-owned cable outlet. The network is sticking with the writer/showrunner it appointed last year – as part of a writer’s room – in David Wiener, who brings writing and executive producer experience from Amazon’s Homecoming, CBS All Access’s Strange Angel, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and Starz’s Flesh and Bone. Serving as director for the pilot episode is Owen Harris (Black Mirror: San Junipero). The series will be produced by Universal Content Productions and Amblin Television.
Huxley first published Brave New World in 1931 – originally intended as a parody of H.G. Wells’s dystopian efforts – depicting a far-future (in approximately 2540 AD,) in which even the most miniscule aspects of civilisation and its inhabitants are controlled; a world in which genetically engineered people are born from artificial wombs, divided into castes, prohibited from privacy and families, and have designated roles in life. However, despite the strictness of this existence, people are mollified through the encouragement of a hedonistic lifestyle centered around loose consumption, abundant sex and, most importantly, a happiness-inducing drug called Soma.
As USA’s official Brave New World logline reads:
As citizens of New London, Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne have only ever known a rigid social order, a perfect pharmaceutical called Soma, and a culture of instant gratification and ubiquitous sex. Curious to explore life beyond the strictures of their society, the two New Worlders embark on a vacation to the Savage Lands, where they become embroiled in a harrowing and violent rebellion. Bernard and Lenina are rescued by John the Savage, who escapes with them back to New London. John’s arrival in the New World soon threatens to disrupt its utopian harmony, leaving Bernard and Lenina to grapple with the repercussions. The three become entwined in a fraught relationship that awakens them to the dangers of their own conditioning.
USA Network’s series order represents the culmination of a developmental process for the Brave New World project that’s nearly three years in the making, stemming back to May 2015 with its initial arrival on NBCU’s slate for its other cable outlet, Syfy. The project originally appointed Les Bohem as writer, subsequently replacing him with Grant Morrison and Brian Taylor the following year. However, Wiener will now work with Morrison and Taylor (the latter of whom remains an executive producer for the pilot). They are joined by executive producers in UCP and Amblin Television co-presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, along with Wiener and pilot director Owen Harris.
Brave New World certainly sounds like an ambitious small screen project for USA to tackle. The network is no stranger to grandiose dystopian TV efforts, having heavily hyped the mystery-laden sci-fi series, Colony, for three seasons before cancelling it last July. However, last year saw USA announce a slate of new shows, indicating a new commitment to high-end television with offerings such as Bourne film franchise spinoff Treadstone and (Mr. Robot creator) Sam Esmail’s Briarpatch.
Brave New World has yet to announce a release date, but a shoot in the UK is imminent. We’ll keep you updated as things develop!