HBO's Westworld finished season 1 with an epic finale, setting the stage for a very different (but very exciting) season 2 to come.
The TV adaptation of Michael Crichton's 1973 sci-fi movie has turned out to be something quite revolutionary, equaling if not surpassing the biggest movies in theaters these days. As Golden Globe nominations and other acclaim begin to pour in, Westworld is only going to attract more and more of a following.
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Best Mystery Show Since LOST
LOST was probably the last great "water cooler" show on TV - i.e., that show everyone (not just comic book geeks) discussed, right before we all fell into our individual, customized, little bubbles of entertainment viewing.
Westworld has stepped up and filled the void LOST left behind, inspiring a whole mythos of mystery and online theory and discussion. In an age where binge watching is the preferred format, it's been really great to have that old school, weekly TV topic to chat with others about.
Given how well showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy balanced the pace of mystery and big reveals, this is a mystery that (so far) pays better dividends than LOST. It's worth investing in - which is not surprising, since its yet another project with J.J. Abrams' name underscoring it.prevnext
Best Pop-Culture Sci-Fi Show In Awhile
Sci-Fi TV has never really died off; in fact, AMC's Humans follows an almost exact same premise as Westworld, but the difference between the shows is pretty distinct.
Westworld is a sci-fi TV show that stands above due to the many other genre tropes (mystery, westerns) it incorporates, while its non-linear narrative approach in season 1 made each episode both a puzzle and a discovery. In short: Westworld does for sci-fi shows what Game of Thrones does for fantasy - i.e., transforms it into something palatable to the pop-culture masses.
At the same time, the show offers the sort of thought-provoking, mind-trip ideas the sci-fi genre is known for. Bed time can be hard once Westworld gets you thinking.prevnext
It's As Epic as Game of Thrones or Walking Dead
The kings (and queens) of television these days are known as "event TV series." They consist of shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones and they are the remaining vestige of TV shows that one must tune into to see in real-time, with big "event" episodes to bolster things.
Westworld definitely earned its way into the "event TV" club in season 1, arguably offering more big action sequences and "event" moments than its competitors.
Moreover, the scope of the show is just as big as GoT - and certainly bigger than Walking Dead. Creating those big western/futuristic landscapes, costumes, and set pieces onscreen took a lot of investment on HBO's part - but your eyeballs will be thankful they did.prevnext
It's HBO Sexy... And Violent
HBO is known for having a certain brand of show: sexy, violent, and populated with some beautiful people.
Westworld hits all those marks, and often delights in mixing the two together at once. After all, the entire concept of the park is that it's a place where futuristic wealthy people can go to screw and murder animatronic "hosts" with no restrictions.
By the end of season 1, we'd seen so much of the cast in the buff we feel like we're dating them; we've also seen many of them die in any number of horrific ways. On a Freudian level it's utterly confusing, but it's also entertaining as hell!prevnext
It's More Cinematic Than a Movie
We already broke this down in more detail, but if you're a fan of cinema (not just mindless blockbusters) then Westworld should definitely be on your viewing schedule.
Cinephiles or even literature geeks will love the multi-layered storytelling, sophisticated visual composition, and all the clues, references and details that are buried for the critical-minded viewer to uncover.
The prestigious cast (most of them award-worthy movie actors) is also something that cinema-heads will enjoy - especially spending time with acting heavyweights like Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, and Sir Anthony Hopkins.prevnext
Westworld will return for season 2 on HBO in 2018.prev