Westworld just premiered on HBO to the highest figures since True Detective! But of course it did, Game of Thrones and any number of other great HBO series set it up for them! The question is, does Westworld stack up? The answer seems to be a resounding yes (with a current 9.3 rating on imdb). There will be spoilers ahead!
Is Westworld great because of HBO production values? Or is it that JJ Abrams is involved? Or Johnathon Nolan (Writer Memento; Dark Knight Rises) directed this episode? Maybe it’s the star cast with Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood? Well, the answer is probably obvious, it’s all of the above that make this show great.
Westworld (of the Michael Crichton story) is a show about a simulation of the Wild West frontier. In the simulation there are two types of people, those who are AI robots into the environment, these people don’t know that they are part of a simulation at all. Then there are the Outsiders, people who have paid big money to be a part of Westworld. From what we saw early on, it looks like the generic rich man pays for experience type scenario, but that would be a bit too boring, wouldn’t it…
The problem is, it seems that some of the AI are becoming aware of what is happening to them, at an alarming rate. The creator of Westworld, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, has just released a new update and it seems this is where the problems stem from. Hopkins’ character doesn’t seem all too phased about this, as he believes that there is a broader ethical debate at question. This debate is something which has been the focus of a lot of recent attention in the real world as well – what happens if AI technology supersedes us?
Ed Harris seemingly plays the villain, an Outsider who is killing off AI bots and seems to be seeking a higher meaning of the Westworld attraction. There is the constant play between those running the attraction to determine what is going wrong, and this episode it seems that a simple ‘turn it off then on again’ was the fix, along with the replacement of faulty bots.
The opening of this series is strong, with HBO doing justice to yet another story, hopefully it will stay this way, though given HBO’s commitment to quality I don’t see how this show would go downhill.