Westworld (Season One)

Discussion in 'Film & TV' started by Boreas, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I watched the first season of Westworld about ten days ago. I was watching one or two episodes every Saturday for some six weeks. Despite one story thread where I had to expend a little extra effort to suspend my disbelief—mainly with Maeve's steady and increasing influence on + manipulation of the engineers who service the hosts—this has to be one of the best bona fide SF shows I have seen in a long time.

    Altered Carbon was unfortunately an amateurish and badly written affair (atrociously stilted and boring dialogue) and three episodes was the furthest I got before stopping. The Expanse...don't know...I watched two episodes but again lost interest because it seemed a little too generic (and I wasn't much enamoured of the first book in the series for the same reason as I've read similar and much better books). Stranger Things was great nostalgic fun, and I watched both seasons. And while I do consider this show science fiction within the broad umbrella of the genre, it does flirt quite extensively with fantasy, or at least it's not necessarily on the serious side of SF.

    So, Westworld was a real surprise. Solid writing, intelligent dialogue, complicated mystery with entertaining mis-directions, and a subtle take on the mechanics of sapience that has been a staple of written SF for the last seventy years, and where it has been approached from a multiplicity of angles. Which is why this take through the visual medium was surprising - it didn't devolve into simplified clichés usual for the screen but treated the phenomenon of emergent intelligence through layers of nuance and a form of iterative complexity, and it kept me guessing and interested all the way through. Kudos to the writers for taking the original concept by Michael Crichton and really expanding the initial thought-experiment into novel territory.

    Note: Maeve's unbelievably smooth manipulations were explained to some extent by show's end, but it felt a little too neat, almost deus ex machina-like. But I'll forgive this lapse given the quality of everything else.

    I still haven't seen Black Mirror (well, only two episodes from the first season), but as of this moment, the first season of Westworld has to be the highest quality science fiction TV show—continuous serial as opposed to an anthology—I've seen in recent times.

    If you've seen it, what are your thoughts?

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    Safari Bob likes this.

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