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Fall TV Spotlight: Westworld

23 November 2016 Film and Television


What-world? Spoiler free thoughts halfway through the first season

By: Tyler Thompson
Creators: Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan

Image courtesy of HBO Canada

Rating:

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Highly Recommended. A new favorite.

 

“It’s not TV, it’s HBO.”

The trademark mantra of the premium channel giant; stating they exist as their own entity in broadcast television. The proof is in the pudding, HBO has churned classics since its inception in 1972. Modern notables like, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Game of Thrones and now, Westworld.

The show is a reboot to the 1973 sci-fi/thriller film of the same name. Its premises are near identical.

Westworld is a prodigious amusement park built for the wealthy, a price tag around $40,000 for 28 days. The park’s theme is set in the Wild West, the first town upon entrance is, “Sweetwater.” As guests step further out of Sweetwater, the more dangerous the park becomes.

The park is inhabited by artificial intelligence or as the show labels them, “Hosts.” The hosts are a part the park; they give Westworld its populace. The hosts can carry conversation like you or I, however, they are programmed with a script and reveal stories written for the park.

Seemingly, interacting with any host will eventually lead a guest down one of its numerous storylines. These stories have the possibility of branching into others. The guests have their choice of following along or simply, denying. They are free to live out their fantasies in the Wild West.

While some leisurely enjoy their time in peace, others act on its freedom from morality.
Many of its wealthy visitors simply come to act on some of the Seven Deadly Sins. Evident is wrath, guests may fire-at-will on the hosts in the park without penalty. The hosts can physically fight back, fire weapons with what seem like rubber bullets – guests cannot be fatally wounded.

Lust is apparent as visible by the courtesans lining the street in the center of town, in front of their modish brothel. Guests are free to “do as they please” with the hosts, a startling truth revealed in the first episode.

Westworld’s character count is staggering, much like HBO’s Game of Thrones.

The park is helmed by scientist Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins brings his chilling and mysterious charms to the character. His most trusted employee, an engineer, Bernard Lowe, is played by Hunger Games actor Jeffery Wright. The mysterious Man in Black played by Ed Harris and the first time guest William, played by Jimmi Simpson.

Other main characters include hosts, such as:
· Delores Abernathy played by Evan Rachel Wood
· Maeve Millay played by Thandie Newton
· Teddy Flood played by James Madsen

All actors deliver on their performances as they were masterfully chosen for their roles. It’s worth noting how spooky the extras portray their robotic selves; they feel as if they’re artificial yet life-like.

Westworld masterfully reveals itself to the viewer. Instead of overloading the senses with information, the show subtly pulls the curtain on its details throughout each episode.

The plot of Westworld is fantastic. As I try to grasp the story, it laughs in my face and throws an Eephus pitch. The layers to scale in this show are staggering and we’ve only scratched the surface.

This is my favorite aspect of this show, its unknown. I’m craving to learn more about the park and its dark history. Westworld excels in keeping your interest. The writing is befitting for an HBO Series.

Come get lost in its lunacy.


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