HBO just unveiled a brand new, R-rated trailer for their upcoming Western-with-a-twist epic, Westworld, and it looks like it could go toe-to-toe with Starz's fantasy adventure American Gods as the buzziest big-budget TV series of the coming months. Although loosely based on the cult classic 1973 movie, Westworld has clearly taken a lot of liberties with the source material and seems likely to stand alone as a mystery thriller with tentacles in sci-fi, western and fantasy.
The premise of the series is pretty intriguing: In a futuristically high-tech society, Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) has created a theme park called Westworld, which allows wealthy "gamers" to essentially travel back in time to the techno-free Old West. The catch? The people who populate Westworld have no idea that the life they're living isn't real — that they aren't real. Just to complicate things, it seems that Dr. Ford may be on the brink of discovering that he has created Artificial Intelligence, and that the likes of Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) are not at all happy to discover everything they thought they knew was a lie.
Check out the R-rated trailer below for a beautiful collision of gore, science, menace and sexy robot action:
If you haven't got the vibe already, this is definitely one for fans of The Truman Show.
One of the most striking aspects of the trailer is the juxtaposition of classic Western imagery — the "residents" riding horseback in vast panoramas — with the coldly-lit, high-tech environment of Dr. Ford's lab. A place seemingly designed purely to be sinister as hell. That dual aesthetic makes Westworld pretty unique in the TV landscape.
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Hopkins and Wood lead a stellar ensemble cast, alongside James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright and Ed Harris in what promises to be prime cliffhanger TV. The pilot is directed by Jonathan Nolan, younger brother of Christopher — you may know him from little movies like Inception or The Dark Knight. That's some pretty strong pedigree.
The concept of an accidental A.I. uprising also draws parallels with Ex Machina, another story with a sexy and very smart robot at its core. The takeaway? If you like sci-fi or fantasy, if you loved the movies Westworld clearly borrows from, or if you just need something to ease the pain of Game of Thrones being on extended hiatus, this could be exactly what you've been waiting for.
Westworld debuts Sunday, October 2 on HBO.