HBO’s Westworld is being heralded as ‘the new Game of Thrones‘… That is, in terms of a series with an incredibly vast array of story and characters. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, Westworld follows a futuristic Western amusement park where people pay a lot of money to be entertained by the artificial intelligent beings of the Park. A film adaptation of the novel was released in 1973 that starred Yul Brynner and was actually directed by the man behind the novel, Michael Crichton. It ended up earning $10 million at the box office on a $1.5 million budget while also earning $4 million in rental sales, becoming MGM’s biggest box office success of 1973.
The television series boasts an incredible amount of talent, including Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden and Sir Anthony Hopkins himself as the brilliant creative mind behind the Park. Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan serve as both the creators and executive producers of the series, the other exec producers being J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk.
ICYMI. Here’s the trailer for the new series HBO is hoping will strike it big:
“What helps make that truly come to life, pun partially intended, is the calibre of the cast. Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, and Angela Sarafyan are three hosts who imbue their characters with soul while still teetering on the edge of the Uncanny Valley… The series — with a solid logical foundation and world-building — is lovingly crafted, marrying its Wild West aesthetic with cold sci-fi elements of the labs that run the park in a way that feels believably connected.“
“But for those of us who just like story – lots and lots of story! – Westworld will hit the spot as hard as GoT ever did. Gosh, there’s a lot going on. There’s the real world full of robot-wranglers, some of whom are jostling for position inside whatever just-possibly-malevolent company owns the park, others of whom are busy tinkering with their charges’ software and trying to decide whether to make the skinjobs more realistic or quit while they’re ahead… Watch out for those telltale flickers of consciousness in your actors’ eyes, showrunners. A mass existential crisis will play merry hell with ratings.”
“After a lot of build up and some much-discussed production delays, would it deliver? The answer is a big yes, as those high expectations were met with a terrific, gripping premiere episode (airing October 2nd on HBO) that quickly draws you in… Even with the focus so much on Dolores in the pilot, we get a chance to see how many of these characters interact and there’s plenty of compelling ground set – from seeing which of those working behind the scenes dismisses the robots as “creatures,” to who steals a kiss of one of them, to seeing what kind of existence those inside Westworld have been programmed to lead and how that can change over time.”
“Playing out as if Deadwood and Black Mirror 3D-printed a living baby, Westworld is meticulously plotted to lay out the delicate intricacies of the story it’s telling, but it doesn’t move slowly or without an inherent tension. This show does demand you pay attention, but you don’t need to be pre-versed in the universe or theoretical physics in order to understand what’s going on. There’s a nuance to the performances of the robots and their different states—and even to those who are tasked with their creation and evolution… The realities of our consequences as we continue to mine the land of our own want in the face of increasingly volatile technical world is heady shit to put it mildly, but Westworld does not feel patronizing or tedious—its scares come from how close to reality this all could be.”
HBO’s Westworld premieres October 2nd at 9pm EST.
The pilot is directed by series creator Jonathan Nolan, who, fun fact! is director Christopher Nolan‘s younger brother.