HBO's Westworld is being heralded as 'the new Game of Thrones.' 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-themed 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 current 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.
In case you missed it, here's the trailer for the new series HBO is hoping will strike it big:
Television critics have had the opportunity to watch the first few episodes of Westworld and the general consensus has been incredibly favorable for the new series. The following are a few excerpts from outlets that have had a chance to check the series out:
"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."
"... at the core of it all is what it means to be human. What does it say about a person, a guest, who wants to dress in black and go out and "kill" AI that look, act and bleed just like us? What does it say about the ones who choose to be heroic? Guests pay good money to get a glimpse of who they can be when pushed to their very limits. Like the very best shows on television, amid the beautiful vistas and thrilling action scenes, 'Westworld' makes you think. Not just about if we'd ever see an AI population during our lifetime, but about other aspects of our lives and our thoughts on good vs evil. 'Westworld' producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have created a beautiful look at a complex subject through a visually stunning piece of art. It's thought provoking. It's gut wrenching. It's maddening. And I simply cannot wait for the saga to continue."
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.
Are You Looking Forward To Westworld?