It took quite a long time for WESTWORLD to arrive on HBO. In early 2016 production shut down to allow the show’s creators (Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy) time to properly plan out future seasons of the ambitious series. And while that seems like an admirable move, many wondered whether it was a sign that the show wasn’t up to the high expectations.
Fans needn’t have worried, because WESTWORLD was a tour de force on the small screen. Dr. Robert Ford (played by Anthony Hopkins) was one of two creators of “Westworld”, an interactive theme park where guests would interact with extremely realistic androids. *SPOILER ALERT* As the season went on, viewers came to realize that the androids were developing human properties. While many of them had been reset continuously in the wake of whatever happened in their story arcs, some of them started to remember memories that had been planted to them in previous simulations. Others just wanted to live peacefully but kept getting interrupted by the terrible guests who visited the park.
While many mysteries were unraveled throughout the first season (such as the existence of Maeve’s “daughter” and the true story behind the death of Ford’s partner and co-creator of the park), none was more enduring that the Man in Black and his search for a secret area of the park. His ultimate discovery — and the one experienced by viewers as to how the story came full circle — was well-earned. *END OF SPOILER ALERT*
WESTWORLD is a series that explores what it means to be human. While one would assume that guests taking liberties with androids shouldn’t make you feel uneasy, the strong performances of the show’s actors and the personalities the androids develop throughout the season genuinely make you feel for them. They may be made of metal, but these are beings that have begun to *feel* and the implications for that are wide-ranging.
WESTWORLD is HBO’s best and most ambitious series since GAME OF THRONES and while season 2 won’t premiere until 2018, season 1 is on DVD/Blu-ray now and is the perfect holiday gift for yourself or for that family member who hasn’t gotten into the series yet. In addition to the entire first season, the box set contains a multitude of interesting special features, including:
- “Reality of A.I.: WESTWORLD”, where the show’s producers and actors lay out the existential threats of artificial intelligence (an interesting debate that’s taking place in the real world today).
- “The Big Moment” vignettes that examine the big story reveals for several characters, including Maeve, Bernard and Ford.
- “Crafting the Narrative”, which features Nolan and Joy reviewing the final episode.