Westworld (2016– )
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Season two, however, is a bit of a letdown. Most of the futuristic hightech stuff is gone, except for a few mercenary-type guys to replace all the wanton murder from season one. Since we now know about the two parallel plots from season one, the audience isn't fooled as easily anymore.
So instead the writers set out to sidetrack us with irrelevant characters and plots who just end up dead or unresolved later on. The main story moves along at a much slower pace. Towards the end, the focus on AI development and AI trying to "free" itself seems lost almost completly.
If I wouldn't know better, I'd think the producers of this show were so surprised by their own success that they had no real idea of how to continue, and are now just cobbling up random ideas.
Season two is not bad, but its nowhere near as unique or visionary as the first. We'll have to see if the writers can turn it around for the inevitable season three.
The show does a great job pulling the viewer immediately into Westworld. Within 10 minutes of the first episode, the basic rules of the theme park are established: paying guests called "newcomers" get to interact with androids called "hosts" (which to the naked eye are indiscernible from the guests) in a world dressed up like the Old West - and in this world, the guest truly is king. The rules are brutally simple: the visitors get to do whatever they like with - or to - the androids. They can have a friendly chat with them, flirt with them or embark on a spontaneous (or scripted) adventure with them - but they can also shoot them, rape them, torture them and kill them at will. Imagine a real-life version of the game 'Grand Theft Auto' (in a slightly different setting) and you'll get the idea.
The androids, on the other hand, are constructed and programmed in a way that is supposed to inhibit them from physically harming "living" creatures. At the beginning of the show - thanks to an interesting choice of storytelling - we get to experience Westworld from the perspective of the androids, which reveals a cruel detail about their nature: they apparently experience emotions. Artificial or not, they do feel pain and fear - as well as affection and anger, and they have no idea that they don't count as "real" people (at least not to those who call themselves real people). And while that detail certainly makes the "game" even more thrilling and more realistic for the visitors, it means that the shocking abuse some of the androids have to suffer is harrowingly real to them.
The way the show is constructed - so far - it immediately confronts the viewer with very uncomfortable questions. How do we as humans behave towards creatures we consider non-human? How excessive do we become and how thin does our layer of morality turn out to be if we're allowed to live out all our fantasies without having to fear any consequences for our actions? And at what point should a creature have rights similar to those we demand for ourselves? How do we define "sentient"? How do we define "human"? And how well do we actually understand - and how well are we able to control - the amazing technology our species seems to have acquired so suddenly?
As an avid film fan, I found 'Westworld' immediately intriguing; not only because it dares to challenge the viewer with fascinating philosophical questions and scientific concepts, but also because its premise offers the chance to explore a wide range of film genres: sci- fi, western, drama, horror - to name but a few. In the first few episodes alone, there are hints of many of my favorite films and stories such as (obviously) 'Frankenstein', 'Blade Runner', 'A.I.', 'Ex Machina', 'Jurassic Park', 'The Truman Show' and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' (and I suspect somewhere down the road there will be a strong 'Spartacus' vibe). As for the non plot related aspects of the show: production design, music and effects are fantastic - as we've come to expect from HBO's high concept productions - and, with very few exceptions, the impressive ensemble of high caliber actors do a great job at bringing their respective characters to life (artificial and otherwise).
A special mention needs to go to Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins: their charismatic screen presence is once more just impossible to ignore and they simply own every scene they're in. Generally speaking, there really isn't much to complain about in 'Westworld' (so far), and I'm pretty sure HBO have another winner. Given the amount of talent involved, anything else actually would have been surprising. Produced by J.J. Abrams, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Nolan based on a concept by the late - great - Michael Crichton; directed by Neil Marshall and Vincenzo Natali (among others), and with a cast most shows would kill for, the stars really seem to have aligned for 'Westworld'.
My overall verdict so far: 'Westworld' is intelligent science fiction for adults (some scenes are very graphic) which offers more than just eye candy and is full of mysteries for the patient viewer to uncover. The show's main themes may not be new, but I found the way they are presented never less than compelling. It succeeds in creating a powerful metaphor for oppression, and by showing how quickly humans tend to deem "un-humane" treatment of other beings acceptable - once they've managed to convince themselves they're "less" human than they are - the show drove a point home that resonated strongly with me. 8 stars out of 10.
Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/
Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/
Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/
Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
Again, IMDb thinks I should add additional lines to my review which is ridiculous. I have offered a clear and concise review and they want an arbitrary number of lines, what kind of idiot makes this a requirement?
In 2016, HBO released "Westworld", a promising series based on the 1973 "Westworld" but with AI. The First Season was entertaining and left fans waiting for the Second Season.
Unfortunately the awaited Second Season is a complete mess, with a confused storyline without timeline. Bernard´s shuffled recollections is awful and the motive of each lead character is weak (Maeve wants to retrieve her daughter; Man in Black to destroy the park; Dolores to go to the outside world; Hale to retrieve and transmit important information). In the end, this season is a complete waste of time. My vote is three.
Title (Brazil): "Westworld"
I do enjoy the musical score. And Season 2 is a good show to put on in the background if you have things to do around the house. Even when there is tense dialogue or what would be compelling action, I don't bother looking up as I unload the dishwasher because no dialogue, action or story development matters.
Season 2 is absolute, complete and utter mess. The best description of season 2 plot is: "Reflective orange among church for wilderness airplane with spiritual expatriation of space submarine, unless".
HBO should publicly apologize for the season 2 disaster and refund subscription to everyone who was tricked into watching season 2.
Season 2 was self-indulgent, complexity for complexities sake, which ultimately led nowhere. Along the way were gapping holes that I can only guess are there out of laziness and/or to lure viewers to watch former episodes in a vain attempt to fill said holes, thus trapping them in the world of the show that now exists only for its own sake, that now offers nothing of value to the viewer in exchange for their time.
Like the guests, the core drive of the show is to survive, at any cost. It will die without my viewing eyes to accompany it.
Another show that lost its way after an incredible first season.
The previous reviewer who said the violence is unnecessary has missed the point in my opinion. The violence is very much needed. It is there to make you feel uncomfortable, because it is that inner dark side and battle between good and evil (and more often than not the middle ground between) that is at the very epicenter of the human condition.This is what the show is often commenting on and this is what makes this show so interesting, thought provoking and ultimately entertaining.
If it carries on in the same vein we will have a modern day classic on our hands.
The characters stopped behaving believably and consistently. I feel like they wrote the ending, some scenes that they liked to present to the audience, and then just blindly tried to string everything together with a lot of meaningless and insignificant filler content.
Everything else is excellent by the way. It's just that lazy, pretentious writing is doing this in.
I like philosophical challenges, like some of Star Treks early years or TNG, but this is not challenging, interesting, provoking, or even a bit entertaining. I don't think they expected this one to make it to season two, and it shows.
Frankly, it's crap. A well casted, brilliantly executed, amazingly looking piece of crap. I will not waste my time on the third season, and if you're reading this before watching season two, spare yourself. Walk away.
The second season was an absolute bore. The human characters have no real drive anymore, they're just going through the motions. Treading water. The "hosts" are now either pathetic cannon-fodder or superhuman fanatics. Who gets shot, who shoots who, it has lost all meaning. If it turns out that they're needed somewhere in the plot they're just resurrected. All impact is lost. The Man In Black was supposed to have gotten what he wanted in this season: a place where choices are final, consequences are dire and there are no do-overs. Watching the series, I feel like that is exactly what is still missing.
It was also painfully obvious that only the female characters have any real goals. Dolores, Maeve, Elsie, Charlotte are all leads dragging various men with them as servants or hostages. Even The Man's daughter Emily appears out of nowhere in particular to drag him around by the nose. This pandering to the current social trend will get you no plus points. Women are able to figure out what purpose and agency are without having it spoon-fed to them by a woman-heavy cast & crew. Pretty sad.
In short, the first season is fantastic and a pleasure to watch. The second season you'd be better off giving a miss.
First of all, the score by Ramin Djawadi is absolutely majestic!
The actors, well, whatever I say just won't be enough. It's a total pleasure watching every second of their stellar performances.
The plot - being a huge fan of sci-fi, it simply doesn't get better than that!
The scenery is gorgeous, it really takes you in the past. That constant mix of past and future is brilliant.
Overall, I am amazed ( obviously ), mesmerized and absolutely loving every single thing about this show!
Already a classic in my book <3