Welcome to ‘Westworld’
It’s appropriate that I write this article on the eve of my wedding anniversary (Happy 13th, Hon!), since it was my husband Rob who got me hooked on this new drama on HBO, “Westworld.”
It is loosely based on the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton (“Jurassic Park,” “Andromeda Strain”) and starring Richard Benjamin, James Brolin and Yul Brynner.
It’s about a futuristic amusement park populated by robots with which human guests can interact, in every imaginable way—name it, they can engage in gun duels, figure in bar brawls and, yes, even have sex. All is hunky-dory until, of course, something goes wrong—which it does.
The 2016 version has one similarity to its predecessor: two friends (William, played by Jimmi Simpson, and Logan, portrayed by Ben Barnes)—one a newbie and the other a frequent guest, visit the park, which is populated by androids.
However, in this version, the robots are called hosts, and we really get down to the nitty-gritty of how this park came to be, how far the guests get to go, and how there seems to be much more humanity in the hosts than in the guests.
“Westworld” stars Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford, Ed Harris as The Man in Black, James Marsden as Teddy Flood, Luke Hemsworth as Stubbs, Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe, Sidse Babett Knudsen as Theresa Cullen and Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay.
Over the course of 10 episodes, the expansive park (and all the action behind the scenes) is laid out. It seems to go all right at first, until it doesn’t.
Nope, I will not post spoilers here … you’ll have to see it for yourself. I thank my husband for telling me over and over again to not look for any published articles about the show, and let things reveal themselves when they’re supposed to.
Allow me to say that “Westworld” is fantastic television. It is superbly written and wonderfully acted. Nothing is ever as it initially seems, and by the end of the series (at around episodes 9 and 10), my jaw went agape and stayed that way. This first season will definitely get watched again from the beginning, but this time, with knowledge acquired from the initial viewing.
Now that “Game of Thrones” is ending, I’m happy that HBO has given us diehards another series to fall in love with. It is different, intelligent and will keep you on the edge of your seat. As sad as I will be to say goodbye to Westeros, “Westworld” will be keeping my seat in the den nice and warm.
Oh, and I don’t know if these were intentional nods to “Game of Thrones,” but check out the artwork behind Dr. Ford’s desk that looks like the Hall of Faces, the very large wolf running through a town, and the pin on Logan’s western outfit’s lapel that resembles that of the Hand of the King.
There are even more nods embedded in “Westworld” to a bunch of other films, including the 1973 original, “Eyes Wide Shut,” and “Jurassic Park,” TV series such as “Lost,” books like “Alice in Wonderland,” and video games like “BioShock.” You’ll also find Claude Debussy’s music prominently and frequently featured.