H.B.O.’s best Western proves to be otherworldly

Andrew Hout

Mixing gun-slinging cowboys, damsels in distress and dusty deserts with futuristic, creepy robots may seem like a recipe for confusion, but HBO’s “Westworld” finds a way to make these two opposing genres blend together smoothly.

Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie, “Westworld” is a dramatic television series involving a new kind of theme park where the rich and famous get to do whatever they want to lifelike robots called hosts. The whole concept seems rather fluffy, but the show delves deeper into the park’s corruption and problems to the point of disturbance.

All of the show’s subplots are fascinating in their complexity and leave hints that give you just enough information to piece together the underlying message from each interaction. The show’s quality of design and intricate themes are on par with award-winning television dramas such as Game of Thrones.

RIDING THROUGH THE park, hosts Teddy Flood (James Marsden) and Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) stop to question the nature of their journey.
RIDING THROUGH THE park, hosts Teddy Flood (James Marsden) and Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) stop to question the nature of their journey.

The idea of a robot and cowboy story may seem childish to those who are quick to judge. However, the drama is not a goofy action show, but one that has building themes, intelligent writing and an extremely well-produced setting.

The show is also filled with A-list celebrities playing a wide range of diverse roles. Anthony Hopkins (most notably known as Hannibal Lecter from “Silence of the Lambs”) plays another daunting role as an owner and main architect of the theme park. Other impressive performances include those by Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton. Almost every actor is recognizable from another work and each one delivers marvelous performances in “Westworld”.

The show consistently leaves viewers asking questions about their own consciousness and what it really means to be alive because of its focus on artificial intelligence. The main premise of the show revolves around Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) who is the oldest (robot) host in the park. Through a series of mischievous events, Dolores has been allowed to access her old memories, making her question her own mortality.

The park is over 30 years old and has been improving exponentially in respect to its technology. The robotic hosts live out their own storylines that can be joined or interrupted by the guests whenever they want. Hosts are constantly mauled and killed as a game by guests, which lead to their memories being scrubbed and their bodies being fixed up for the next day’s action.

Up until the beginning of the show, everything had been running smoothly in the park without any “accidents” in the past. Of course, something always goes wrong. The hosts’ newest updates cause some serious problems with their cognitive functions, which allows some of them, like Dolores, to remember everything that has happened to them.

The massive Westworld theme park is located in the middle of a desert, above the management’s facility where they update, fix or perform surgery on the human anatomies of the hosts. The strangest aspect of the show is how lifelike the hosts are, not just in their appearance, but in their actions and speech as well. Top research scientist Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) is so distraught about the hosts indistinguishable features that he contemplates replacing his dead son with an identical host. This raises the question to viewers if they would replace a lost family member if they could.

“Westworld” is an exceptional display of modern television that keeps viewers enthralled. The show takes old school black and white Westerns watched by our grandparents and revamps them in a modern action/thriller. “Westworld” is an incredible drama that leaves viewers wanting to rewatch every episode in order to soak up as much content as they possibly can.