Westworld S01E01 – The Original
When television companies such as HBO in this case, Says a show to be "the next big thing", you'll have to wonder if it will live up to the hype. Saying it will fill the Game Of Thrones shaped hole in your life and very soon take over from Game Of Thrones as HBO's leading show. That is a very very tall order to place on a show and a lot of pressure. I would suggest HBO drop that claim and let it grow naturally.
However HBO has had some stellar shows in the past 20 years From The Wire to the criminally underrated (pun intended) prison drama OZ. Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Rome, Veep, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood and a of course a little show called Game of Thrones. HBO is currently in my humble opinion delivering top tier TV. And if you haven't seen some of the shows mentioned. For the good of your immortal souls, get round to it and you can thank me later. As to where Westworld will sit. That remains to be seen. But my personal rule of thumb is, when viewing a new show is to give it 5 episodes as that’s typically how you get a feel for the show and that is normally a full DVD or Blu Ray disc when buying a TV Boxsets and Now on to the show it's self.
I must admit it was weird seeing the HBO banner and not singing along to the Game of Thrones tune like some Madman at 2am while your partner sleeps. But the opening intro is beautifully crafted and illustrated with a well written score. The images are striking and do enough give you a sense of flavor for the show.
So we enter Westworld a theme park where rich humans known as the "newcomers" go to act out their deepest desires in a wild west setting filled with life like robots who are there to act out a script or program design created by the company. These robots are also unaware of their own existence and most importantly they are not to hurt a living soul. So if it's your desire be a sheriff in the wild west or join the bandits or just simply sleep with the girls at the saloon Westworld is a place where the rich people of the real world can get their jollies.
I will say the plot has enough to keep you going with some nice twist and some cool concepts. I found myself asking enough questions by the end of the first episode to make me think I want to see more. But will this show hold its own when Game of Thrones is gone or against shows like the walking dead, well that remains to be seen. But having seen some of the buzz on the internet. Will go out on a limb and say this show is safe for a season or two. While the plot is solid and the characters are well acted by their respective actors. I would like to see a little more humor in the show. Like the wild west I found it dry and I prefer some shape of humor in my programs. I am not expecting a laugh a min but just one or two good lines.
If I was to have one complaint it would be the shows run for a first episode. I prefer pilots to be longer to give us a chance to see everything rather than getting crammed with lots of plot seeds and main story lines all at one. Yes this episode is an extra 10 minutes but I would have preferred maybe 80 minutes run time.
The highlight for me personally was the shootout scene featuring a classical rendition of Rolling Stones's paint it black being played. Actually the music throughout the show was beautifully hand picked and a stroke of genius for me, from the opening credits. To the very subtle inclusion of Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden on the piano in the salon and the end credits of Johnny Cash's Ain't no grave. The shootout was like watching something from a Fistful Of Dollars and once that happened I forgot about the sci-fi element of the show.
On the whole I would say give this show your time and it may fill a hole in your TV life. You will see some beautiful scenery in the show. This show also posses some great ethical questions about how far to go with robots. Should they be like us? Should we have relationships with them. Should we even trust them?