The new Westworld series on HBO is an artfully done, but graphic look at a resort where the fun is about robotic shoot ‘em ups and intimate pleasures and then what happens when things start to go wrong.
This 10-part first season follows Michael Crichton’s 1973 “Westworld” and 1976 “Futureworld” movies and the short-lived 1980 “Beyond Futureworld” series.
This new incarnation is just for adults, much more graphically violent and erotic than the previous movies and TV show.
The 10-part, first season series has two big name starts in Ed Harris, who is the mysterious “Man in Black,” and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford, who created the fantasy resort decades ago.
The other lead roles, however, are Evan Rachel Wood as android Dolores Abernathy, Thandie Newton as an android Old West “dance hall girl,” Jeffrey Wright as a programmer, and Sidse Babett Knudsen as an executive who has a secret relationship with the programmer.
As usual, HBO’s producers and directors have done a masterful job in putting this series together. There is what we have come to expect in westerns, too, with a rowdy saloon, a dusty main drag, wanted posters and gorgeous scenery outside the town.
The show quickly introduces us to wealthy fun seekers who are either seeking the “thrill” of killing androids and intimate pleasures without facing any consequences, just a big bill. The androids include a farmer, the pure farmer’s daughter, sheriffs, gun slingers, gamblers, and bartenders. The human counterparts are the resort’s executives, programmers and android builder/repair people, and the tourists who have a variety of aspirations while on vacation including being a hero, a murderous villain, having intimate encounters and just enjoying the beautiful wild west vistas.
The twist is, however, that not everything is the way it is supposed to be. Westworld’s co-founder died years earlier, according to Ford. And the androids are behaving oddly in some cases, not the way they were programmed.
Of course, the essential truth is no imperfect creature, i.e. any human, can create a perfect being.
The series is a brilliantly done science fiction tale, but if you are turned off by lots of flood and erotic scenes this show isn’t for you. It will be interesting, however, to say what the next six episodes bring.
The fifth episode on HBO will premiere at 9 p.m. Sunday with lots of opportunities to watch it over the next few months on the various HBO channels and elsewhere.