Brave New World was a novel written by English author Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Huxley was writing at a time when a worldwide economic depression was destroying the old economic certainties. Communism had triumphed in the Soviet Union, and fascism was on the rise across Europe. Despite the background, the novel appears to be more interested in medical technology, corporatism, and liberalism than communism or fascism. Unlike the novel 1984, to which it is commonly compared, the rulers of Brave New World are concerned with making people happy, if only through the liberal use of drugs, which covers a multitude of sins.
Huxley later lectured in 1961 of a darker purpose. “There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution…”
He was wrong about the drugs, but he was close on the growing role of distraction. Commentators have often called upon Brave New World to bolster their arguments about America’s decline and democracy. For example, John W. Whitehead wrote: “Unfortunately, we now live in a ubiquitous Orwellian society with all the trappings of Huxley’s A Brave New World. We have become a society of watchers rather than activists who are distracted by even the clumsiest government attempts at sleight-of-hand.” Whitehead was writing just before Trump was elected President of the United States.
Close to the end of Trump’s term of office in 2020, Brave New World has been reinterpreted to a world of post-truth, which is facing lockdown due to COVID-19.  In Brave New World, Citizens are genetically engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy. The novel predicts a rise in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, widespread psychological manipulation and long term conditioning combined to make a society where a revolt against society is impossible. To call it dystopian is to miss the point, as it is an attractive society to many. A world free of disease would be extremely attractive at this point.
This new TV series is one of many adaptions of this book. In 1980, a TV series was attempted, and this was edited down to become a film on television. The mini-series was set to debut in 1979. Adapting Brave New World proved to be a massive challenge, and it was re-edited into different formats. After pulling Brave New World from its schedule several times, it was finally broadcast in 1980 as a TV film. A version was seen in Australia through the BBC as a mini-series. The reception was lukewarm, but given later efforts, it remains the best adaptation to date. And in 1998, another film adaption was made, which appears to have sunk without trace. 
This 2020 version of Brave New World aimed to be the centerpiece of the new streaming platform Peacock. It was also focussed on setting up a sequel– trying to follow the path of the recently successful Handmaid’s Tale, which managed to take a dystopian novel, and spin it out for several seasons to critical and popular acclaim. However, the show fell flat and was not renewed. There are many issues with the show, but basically, adapting Huxley’s work is difficult. His novels are intense and read more like essays at times – making adaptions difficult. Given those constraints, the creators should be praised for taking on a massive challenge. To present Brave New World and stay true to its origins would test the most determined of writers. A really good adaption of Brave New World may never happen because the book is essentially a well-crafted essay. Indeed, Huxley would write an essay on it and call the work Brave New World revisited.
Yet, the creators can take some blame for some of its flaws. At times, this series looks like a perfume or moisturiser ad, constantly striving for style over substance. In this version, the sexual elements were highlighted, and every episode has its share of nudity looing like streamlined soft porn. It would be charitable to say that the writers were true to the book, as in likelihood they were after ratings, and elaborate sex scenes seem to fit the bill. What was missing from the series was any attempt to show Huxley’s critique of the corporatist state, even mentions of Henry Ford appear to be absent. The way the corporate sphere became a type of religion is also absent. Huxley was also attacking the focus on the trivial in the world. In a world where his seminal lectures gained 156,000 views in four years, while Kim Kardashian’s beauty tips from home gather 2.2 million views over six months, Huxley may well be right. Most of us are happy to trade off freedom for comfort and ease. This version of Brave New World was flawed because it was more interested in creating interesting visual effects, and it had little interest in the book’s actual content. If the writers had tried to link it back more to the world of Trump, of which Brave New World has plenty to say, they might have had greater success. This lack of focus on the book, or even contemporary relevance, made it is one of the lesser adaptions of Brave New World.
 John W. Whitehead, “The State of the Nation: A Dictatorship Without Tears,” Huffington Post, 12 January 2017, accessed at https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-state-of-the-nation-a_1_b_8954828, on 2 November 2020.