HBO’s new series Westworld may not be the pay TV service’s heir to Game of Thrones, but it’s a very good drama/fantasy complement to the Emmy award-winning series.
Based on a 1973 Michael Crichton-produced film, Westworld is a futuristic, Western-themed park in which lifelike androids cater to the fantasies of humans.
The lifelike androids, or hosts, are reprogrammed daily to adjust to the whims of their human “guests.” The guests can kill and do other violent things to the hosts, and the hosts can take out other hosts, but the hosts were created not to kill humans.
The architect of Westworld is Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), who seeks to make the androids as human as possible while adhering to the rules and laws of the make-believe playground. Assisting him is Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright).
Evan Rachel Wood stars as Dolores Abernathy, one of the oldest androids at the park but one of its main attractions. While the memories of the androids are erased daily, Dolores and some of the other androids begin to retain some of their prior experiences, leading both the androids’ creators and the park officials to question the ramifications of the park’s premise — as well as the potential for things to go terribly wrong.
Strong performances from Wood, Thandie Newtonand James Marsden will have many viewers sympathizing with the plight of the androids, as they begin to contemplate their existence as artificially intelligent machines while often exhibiting the best and worst in human behavior. Also, Ed Harris as the infamous “Man in Black” brings a dynamic of good-vs.-evil.
HBO touts the one-hour drama series as “a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged,” and the network pulls very few punches in graphically showcasing the depravity and lustful indulgence among both humans and the androids within the Westworld fantasy park.
Westworld executive producers Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan, J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk have created a fascinating tale about the complex relationship between man and machine within a futuristic theme park that viewers will want to visit weekly.