When I heard they were turning obscure 1973 sci-fi flick Westworld into a 10 episode HBO series, I was firstly massively surprised and secondly, very excited. Westworld was a really interesting choice to option for a TV show but actually also a choice that made perfect sense. Who wouldn’t want to see a show about robot cowboys running riot?!
Using the 1973 movie as a basis, more so using its premise rather than attempting to remake its story as a show, this incarnation of Westworld is a brilliantly written and tightly paced affair with the degree of production values and impeccable casting expected of a HBO show. For those not in the loop, Westworld is a theme park placed in the not too distant future that caters for its “Guests” by offering them an immersive Western experience with an intricately recreated portion of the old west populated by “Hosts”, robotic representations of cowboys, traders, homesteaders etc. The Guests have free reign to travel where they wish and do what ever they like, even shoot the Hosts however, through their programming, it isn’t possible for a Host to harm a Guest, or is it?
This first season has done a very good job of setting up the premise of the show going forward, introduced us to its characters, allowed us to become invested in their stories and paid off our perseverance with some fantastic plot twists right up to the very end. The cast on whole has been awesome Anthony Hopkins involvement leant the show some serious acting chops, his character Robert Ford had us guessing his motives pretty much at every turn. Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores has pretty much been the heart of the show alongside Jimmi Simpson’s William and Ed Harris has been utterly fantastic as “The Man In Black”, full of menace and the threat of violence erupting punctuate most scenes that he is in. Thandie Newton’s Maeve has been one of the shows most interesting characters from the off, each weeks episode adding a new layer to a character that deserves to be as fully formed as she is.
As with most 1st seasons, it’s all about setup, exposition, getting to know the characters and setting up the long game. Westworld has delivered on all of this, doing so with style, anachronistic flare and breathtaking writing that kept us wanting more, a sure fire sign of a show that’s going to keep me interested for years to come. At the time of writing it had been announced that season 2 had been green lit for 2018, it can’t come soon enough.