SERIES REVIEW – Johnathan Nolan is at it once again. After dabbling with the concept of an all-seeing AI that fights crime with the cast of LOST. He has decided to dust off an old Michael Crichton work named Westworld. Shortly, those who have enough money can spend a day, or as many days as they like and fulfill their fantasies. The movie which was directed by Mr. Crichton himself, was a critical and financial success, although it did not have depth when compared to this new series.
The new (might be a reboot) series of Westworld is a world builder instead of a one a chaotic story. It adds mystery and intrigue plus a bit of philosophy to the whole nature of robotics, and AI-s. It feels a bit of an expanded universe idea for Crichton‘s original idea, plus concepts similar to I, Robot.
A shootout for a hundred dollars
The concept of Westworld is simple, go to a Western-themed town and do whatever the customer desires. Want a bloody shootout against the Man in Black? Have at it! Want to go on an epic quest for fame and fortune; the storytellers will set it up for your personal tastes. There are around two thousand androids in the location for as many as one thousand four hundred people on a daily basis.
The park is one of a kind, and the androids serve the humans. Each of them has a daily routine and a set schedule depending on what the narrative demands. The question however posed by the show can be rather unsettling for some people. Ethics and the repetitive nature of the tasks that are forced upon these machines. As it is simply not just quaint MMO style quest where the bandit gets shot in the end, but rather people can indulge in their wildest dreams, some of which may be perverse.
The first episode shows that some of the androids can be treated however as the Newcomers please, and it is rather gruesome. Some critics have already started calling out the show for being too sexual, and violent. While it is true, the show makes us think about these events that happen to the characters. Still, it does touch upon rather mature subject themes, but with more finesse compared to Game of Thrones ever did in the entire six seasons.
The show balances between multiple characters and their issues with Westworld rather masterfully. The cast includes such names as Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, and even James Marsden. Everyone provides their A game. The first episode sets up the show with grandiose plans and mysteries. There is a lot of head scratching though when it comes to the mysteries since the plot runs in two locations. One is Westworld itself, and the other is the corporate building that monitors Westworld. The most intriguing character of the show whose motivations are not entirely clear is The Man in Black, aka The Gunslinger. A virus also seems to be wrecking havoc on the androids, which may or may not lead to a bit of enlightenment for the machines.
Gold rush, or desolate wasteland?
Westworld is a sci-fi show that tries something interesting and has a high budget to achieve that. Is that enough, though? It depends on where the series goes after the first episode. Westworld is a promising series with great characters. The scenes are well set up, and the music and soundtrack choices are excellent. Hopefully, the next few episodes will provide a little bit more character time and less exposition. Even with its faults Westworld is 2016 newest and will be one of the best series if it keeps up the quality.