Westworld Review

Jake Glover

HBO has pushed the boundaries of television again with it’s new sci-fi series Westworld. The series takes place in the distant future and revolves around a western-themed amusement park inhabited by impeccably realistic synthetic robots called “hosts”. These hosts engage park guests in a plethora of life-like storylines, from bounty hunting to pillaging, enabling guests to act out their darkest inner fantasies. However, all is not fun and games in Westworld, as the robotic hosts begin to grow more intelligent.

 

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The show is based on a 1973 film by the same name directed by Michael Crichton, but otherwise the show is like nothing else. While audiences may have seen similar storylines of futuristic artificial intelligence becoming smarter before, Westworld remains original and engaging, providing a looming sense of mystery that captivates the audience and keeps them guessing throughout each episode. The show proves to be far more thought provoking and, while it certainly has its moments, it steers away from the gratuitous violence and cheap robot vs. human gags one might expect to find in such a show.

The show focuses on a few of the park’s central automaton hosts, namely Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Teddy (James Marsden) and Maeve (Thandie Newton). With exquisite acting performances across the board, one can’t help but be enthralled by the park’s hosts, just as a guest might be. Westworld is essentially a massive, incredibly realistic video-game, as the real people that attend the park ca
n wreak any sort of havoc they want on the hosts without facing any repercussions. Inevitably, many park guests actpretty nefariously, car rying out inexplicably deplorable acts on the robots. The hosts are repaired and their “minds” are wiped clean, allowing them to re-enter the park for the next guest’s amusement. But these incredibly life-like robots ever-so slowly start to develop a true consciousness, and the story plays out in such a way that keeps the audience engaged in the characters and the story and still maintains a sense of unpredictability.

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On top of the many storylines going on inside the park, drama unfolds in the people who run the park, as it becomes obvious the various higher-ups have very different, competing agendas for the park and its technology. Westworld’s story is created with poise and depth, creating an enjoyable experience whether the audience takes the show at surface level or attempts to analyze it for all its varying complexities. If one thing is for certain, HBO has created another quality television show with great potential for seasons to come.

 

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