Review: Westworld is the Next Big HBO Drama You’ve Been Waiting For

Written by Ryan DeMarco

Westworld Poster

After much delay and overall up in the air expectations after its announcement, HBO’s latest sci-fi tale, WestWorld premiered last night. There was a lot riding on this property in regards to HBO’s future, given the fact that Game Of Thrones only has a remaining has two truncated seasons left. HBO will be experiencing a large void after the series ends. I am pleased to say that Westworld not only delivers, it has promise to become one of the biggest shows of the upcoming tv generation.

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld
Photo Credit: HBO.

Written and developed for the screen by Johnathan Nolan (brother of director Christopher Nolan) and Lisa Joy as well as produced by JJ Abrams, WestWorld is based on the novel by acclaimed author Michael Crichton as well as the 1973 film written and directed by Crichton as well. Westworld tells the story of a high tech theme park where guests pay high amounts of money to be transported to an artificial Wild West environment where they can interact with androids, known as hosts, and do pretty much whatever they want while they’re in the park. The park is controlled by a select group of workers that are required to maintain and regulate the park as well as the safety of the guests.

What’s great about this show is how quickly you’re engaged in this world. The writing is as sharp as it needs to be in order to give you an idea on how this park functions and what it takes to run something this extraordinary. We gain a considerable amount of depth from every aspect ranging from the androids, to the guests, to the programmers, to the corporate hierarchy.

No character lacks substance at all. Standout performances come from an android named Delores, played by Evan Rachel Wood, who lives the same existence each day without realizing it. Early in the story we are introduced to her as a simple living girl on a farm who then reunites with Teddy, played by James Marsden. We quickly learn that they’ve spent some time together and go on their way until they come across bandits who attack Delores home and later on a mysterious drifter, played by the always dependable Ed Harris. Without giving too much away the scene quickly turns awry for some characters.

James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood in WestWorld
Photo Credit: HBO

Each android is given a particular storyline that somehow factors into the world where they can interact with a guest in an unlimited amount of ways. It’s been that way for over 30 years, which has led to the park being a booming success. Things begin to change in the world after world programmers and designers become aware of a software update that is beginning to make the hosts act outside of their storyline, sometimes violently. Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright, playing Ford and Bernard are ordered to assess the situation by bringing the hosts out of the park to tinker with and fix the problem. Again, there’s amazing discussions with each character depicting just how far they’ve come with the advancements of the park.

The upgrade allows some of the hosts including Delores that there’s might be more than meets the eye when it comes to the world she lives in.

To the credit of the producers and developers of the show, The premiere of Westworld is a beautifully shot, well acted, and fascinating masterpiece that strived what it was aiming for. By jumping back and forth between each world, the writing remains sharp throughout and the set pieces feel as authentic as any big budget western film.

Westworld is off to an incredible start!

Rating: 10/10

Westworld airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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