“Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park allows its visitors to live out their most primal fantasies with the robotic hosts. However, the robotic hosts have evolved an artificial consciousness that is similar to, yet diverges from, human consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy may be, there are no consequences for the park’s guests, allowing for any wish to be indulged; but there is a price to be paid.” Western Sci-Fi indeed.
Like the 1973 Michael Crichton film (starring Yul Brynner) it was adapted from, Westworld is a sci fi thriller that breaks ground 23 years after the film’s debut. Shot on the same Melody Ranch set that hosted HBO’s Deadwood series (as well as Django Unchained, The Magnificent Seven and many others), Westworld has the authenticity that the ranch’s previous tenants had displayed. As an aside, the Westworld production displaced the annual Santa Clarita Annual Cowboy Festival (now at the estate of William S. Hart), a favorite of GothicWestern.com.
The story takes place in the fictional Westworld, a technologically advanced Wild West-themed amusement park populated by android hosts. Westworld caters to high-paying guests, who may indulge in whatever they wish within the park, without fear of retaliation from the hosts. Shootouts can be initiated by guests without the fear of death, or even the slightest injury.
With a stellar cast including Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins, it’s hard not to single out Ed Harris, whose character epitomizes the lone wolf gunslinger, with more skeletons in his closet than can fit. He plays The Man In Black, a longtime returning park guest who has figured out every bit of Westworld’s mechanics, except for this big final mystery. He’s hell-bent on finishing the game—only he seems to really think of the Westworld experience as a game—and shoots and stabs every robot he can in his pursuit.
The series’ debut on HBO garnered the network’s highest viewership ratings for a premiere since the first episode of True Detective in 2014 and Westworld ranks as the most-watched first season of an HBO original series ever. Westworld Season 2 is coming this Spring, you can stream Season 1 or get the DVDs HERE.