In the dystopian society in Peacock's Brave New World, most of what we would consider normal human behavior is considered "savage" by the so-called enlightened members of New London. Marriage, pregnancy, privacy — they're all things savages indulge in. So what happens when you drop a savage into such a regimented society? Mayhem, of course.
Much like the book it's based on, Brave New World introduces a savage named John (Alden Ehrenreich) into a society that shuns everything he grew up believing was normal. Though the city of New London is completely foreign to John, he manages to have quite an impact on several of its inhabitants over the course of the series.
"[At the beginning of the series] we find him in this very broken down society that they've kept to kind of show people in the 'Brave New World' what could happen if they don't follow the rules, essentially. [It's] called the Savage Lands," Ehrenreich told TV Guide. "New Londoners come down and visit the Savage Lands as a tourist destination and learn what marriage used to be, and pregnancy used to be, and monogamy. And there's a collision that then brings him into the new world. And when he gets there, once he realizes that these people, for all their sophistication, are also quite naive and gullible in certain ways, he starts shaking things up."
Part of the reason New Londoners are able to maintain such the strict social order they've constructed is through a drug called Soma that helps them regulate their emotions. For many, it basically turns their emotions off. John, meanwhile, is basically a walking, talking, breathing emotion, which throws the city's other inhabitants into turmoil.
Inside al of that turmoil, John has a touching (if complicated) love story budding with the character of Lenina, played by Jessica Brown Findlay. And as you can expect, in a world where love and monogamy don't really exist, that romance faces quite an uphill battle.
"I think the Lenina seems to be, for whatever reasons, realizing a kind of yearning in herself for something more — some deeper feelings for something more out of life than the emotional spectrum that they're given as New Londoners," Ehrenreich said. "And John is bringing all of that, and so there's this way in which he starts kind of encouraging her down this path that she's been going down very discreetly and secretively in herself. And then I think, he also just falls in love with her... What you're experiencing when you watch the show is the messiest, most human moment-to-moment, day-to-day version of people's lives, who want things and who are emotional and who are doubting and who are afraid, and the way in which everything is murky and confusing and complicated."
Brave New World premieres Thursday, July 15 on Peacock.