Westworld (TV Series 2016– ) Poster

(2016– )

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9/10
How do we define "human"?
gogoschka-13 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
As many sci-fi fans will know, the show 'Westworld' is based on the 1973 feature film of the same name (written and directed by Michael Crichton), and the premise is basically the same as it was then: In a future where technological possibilities are seemingly endless, a highly sophisticated theme park offers rich clients the chance to visit the long gone era of the Old West (Crichton later explored a variation of that theme in a certain well known novel - which was then adapted by a certain Mr. Spielberg - albeit with slightly different creatures than cowboys populating a slightly more "jurassic" environment).

The show does a great job pulling the viewer immediately into Westworld. Within 10 minutes of the first episode, the basic rules of the theme park are established: paying guests called "newcomers" get to interact with androids called "hosts" (which to the naked eye are indiscernible from the guests) in a world dressed up like the Old West - and in this world, the guest truly is king. The rules are brutally simple: the visitors get to do whatever they like with - or to - the androids. They can have a friendly chat with them, flirt with them or embark on a spontaneous (or scripted) adventure with them - but they can also shoot them, rape them, torture them and kill them at will. Imagine a real-life version of the game 'Grand Theft Auto' (in a slightly different setting) and you'll get the idea.

The androids, on the other hand, are constructed and programmed in a way that is supposed to inhibit them from physically harming "living" creatures. At the beginning of the show - thanks to an interesting choice of storytelling - we get to experience Westworld from the perspective of the androids, which reveals a cruel detail about their nature: they apparently experience emotions. Artificial or not, they do feel pain and fear - as well as affection and anger, and they have no idea that they don't count as "real" people (at least not to those who call themselves real people). And while that detail certainly makes the "game" even more thrilling and more realistic for the visitors, it means that the shocking abuse some of the androids have to suffer is harrowingly real to them.

The way the show is constructed - so far - it immediately confronts the viewer with very uncomfortable questions. How do we as humans behave towards creatures we consider non-human? How excessive do we become and how thin does our layer of morality turn out to be if we're allowed to live out all our fantasies without having to fear any consequences for our actions? And at what point should a creature have rights similar to those we demand for ourselves? How do we define "sentient"? How do we define "human"? And how well do we actually understand - and how well are we able to control - the amazing technology our species seems to have acquired so suddenly?

As an avid film fan, I found 'Westworld' immediately intriguing; not only because it dares to challenge the viewer with fascinating philosophical questions and scientific concepts, but also because its premise offers the chance to explore a wide range of film genres: sci- fi, western, drama, horror - to name but a few. In the first few episodes alone, there are hints of many of my favorite films and stories such as (obviously) 'Frankenstein', 'Blade Runner', 'A.I.', 'Ex Machina', 'Jurassic Park', 'The Truman Show' and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' (and I suspect somewhere down the road there will be a strong 'Spartacus' vibe). As for the non plot related aspects of the show: production design, music and effects are fantastic - as we've come to expect from HBO's high concept productions - and, with very few exceptions, the impressive ensemble of high caliber actors do a great job at bringing their respective characters to life (artificial and otherwise).

A special mention needs to go to Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins: their charismatic screen presence is once more just impossible to ignore and they simply own every scene they're in. Generally speaking, there really isn't much to complain about in 'Westworld' (so far), and I'm pretty sure HBO have another winner. Given the amount of talent involved, anything else actually would have been surprising. Produced by J.J. Abrams, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Nolan based on a concept by the late - great - Michael Crichton; directed by Neil Marshall and Vincenzo Natali (among others), and with a cast most shows would kill for, the stars really seem to have aligned for 'Westworld'.

My overall verdict so far: 'Westworld' is intelligent science fiction for adults (some scenes are very graphic) which offers more than just eye candy and is full of mysteries for the patient viewer to uncover. The show's main themes may not be new, but I found the way they are presented never less than compelling. It succeeds in creating a powerful metaphor for oppression, and by showing how quickly humans tend to deem "un-humane" treatment of other beings acceptable - once they've managed to convince themselves they're "less" human than they are - the show drove a point home that resonated strongly with me. 9 stars out of 10.

Favorite TV-Shows reviewed: imdb.com/list/ls075552387/

Favorite films: IMDb.com/list/mkjOKvqlSBs/

Lesser-Known Masterpieces: imdb.com/list/ls070242495/

Favorite Low-Budget and B-Movies: imdb.com/list/ls054808375/
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6/10
Stop using guest writers!
elizabeth-logan118 June 2018
I hate when really good shows begin to unravel into confusion under guest writers!
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6/10
Season one was good, season two's only goal is to confuse and distract
Jane Doe25 June 2018
SPOILER: I really liked the first season. It was a rather unique take on AI and the vices of mankind. Most of it was self-explanatory, like the constant debauchery and murder for fun, but the underlying search for hidden motives and "the truth" kept the show going, up to a grand finale.

Season two, however, is a bit of a letdown. Most of the futuristic hightech stuff is gone, except for a few mercenary-type guys to replace all the wanton murder from season one. Since we now know about the two parallel plots from season one, the audience isn't fooled as easily anymore.

So instead the writers set out to sidetrack us with irrelevant characters and plots who just end up dead or unresolved later on. The main story moves along at a much slower pace. Towards the end, the focus on AI development and AI trying to "free" itself seems lost almost completly.

If I wouldn't know better, I'd think the producers of this show were so surprised by their own success that they had no real idea of how to continue, and are now just cobbling up random ideas.

Season two is not bad, but its nowhere near as unique or visionary as the first. We'll have to see if the writers can turn it around for the inevitable season three.
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5/10
What a disappointment!!!
ndelic-197688 July 2018
Season 1 was absolutely amazing.

Season 2 is absolute, complete and utter mess. The best description of season 2 plot is: "Reflective orange among church for wilderness airplane with spiritual expatriation of space submarine, unless".

HBO should publicly apologize for the season 2 disaster and refund subscription to everyone who was tricked into watching season 2.
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10/10
Outstanding dialog, acting and story line
letshaveagoodtm29 October 2016
Pay attention, this series explores some very subtle story lines. I was extremely impressed when they introduced the bicameral mind concept when considering consciousness. That is one of the more important concepts when considering the origins of consciousness. I hope they explore this idea in greater detail and especially its implications related to physics. It is rare indeed to have a fictional work undertake such a complex topic without trivializing it. I definitely have to compliment the writers for undertaking such a complex topic and I hope they continue to explore the implications.

Again, IMDb thinks I should add additional lines to my review which is ridiculous. I have offered a clear and concise review and they want an arbitrary number of lines, what kind of idiot makes this a requirement?
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5/10
Biggest fall from 1st to 2nd season ever
Danuvius0126 June 2018
First season is a 10, second is a 0, hence the average is 5. Probably it would be on the podium in a competition: biggest fall from first season to the second, together with True detective.
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5/10
Watch Season 1! Skip Season 2...
georgechristophert8 July 2018
Season 1 was profound, thought-provoking, gripping drama. I thought it the best TV show ever.

Season 2 was self-indulgent, complexity for complexities sake, which ultimately led nowhere. Along the way were gapping holes that I can only guess are there out of laziness and/or to lure viewers to watch former episodes in a vain attempt to fill said holes, thus trapping them in the world of the show that now exists only for its own sake, that now offers nothing of value to the viewer in exchange for their time.

Like the guests, the core drive of the show is to survive, at any cost. It will die without my viewing eyes to accompany it.

Another show that lost its way after an incredible first season.
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4/10
"Lost" all over again!!
cagdas-21-31507327 June 2018
"Lost" all over again!! Apparently the writers didnt know what to do on the 2nd season and just improvised!! Complete rubbish!!
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10/10
Excellent
timoverend8315 October 2016
This show is so far perfect. The story is intriguing, the visuals are beautiful and the acting is incredible.

The previous reviewer who said the violence is unnecessary has missed the point in my opinion. The violence is very much needed. It is there to make you feel uncomfortable, because it is that inner dark side and battle between good and evil (and more often than not the middle ground between) that is at the very epicenter of the human condition.This is what the show is often commenting on and this is what makes this show so interesting, thought provoking and ultimately entertaining.

If it carries on in the same vein we will have a modern day classic on our hands.
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1/10
A dive like I've never seen before
Arnror_II26 June 2018
From one of the best sci-fi television series I've ever seen in season 1, to a messy philosophical mumbo jumbo turd, that will not entertain anyone who's not a 14 year old boy.

I like philosophical challenges, like some of Star Treks early years or TNG, but this is not challenging, interesting, provoking, or even a bit entertaining. I don't think they expected this one to make it to season two, and it shows.

Frankly, it's crap. A well casted, brilliantly executed, amazingly looking piece of crap. I will not waste my time on the third season, and if you're reading this before watching season two, spare yourself. Walk away.
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6/10
Starting to lose interest
vatigue23 May 2018
I'm into episode 5 of season 2 now. Season 1 did a great job creating the universe and building up tension and suspense. It even made me get invested in some of the protagonists while failing to make me care for others. I stuck to it mainly due to the fact that I really loved Person of Interest and whatever Jonathan Nolan wrote before. Here's the problem: I don't care about any of the characters at this moment. I'm not invested in what they are working towards or if they even survive. The production value and acting are both top, there is nothing to complain there. But I keep getting distracted while watching an episode and start doing other things. The pace and cutting is weird since season 2 started and it fails to keep my attention at all. I was really waiting for the promised ancient Japan part of the park and all the samurais. Sadly, even that storyline fell flat and ended in clichéd characters and no caring on my end. I fail to find what drives most of the characters to do what they do. There are some goals I can see and others that just feel off. It feels like all of them are just wandering the park (that should be overrun by the parks security or government military by now) for no apparent reason. I'm sad because I really had high hopes for this due to Jonathan Nolan. Will give up watching now though. A solid 6 for the acting and production of the series. Nothing more cause I really don't care about any of the characters by now.
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5/10
The higher they are...
AnimalMother846 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
The first season of Westworld was a joy to watch. Impeccable effects, interesting writing, some food for thought and mostly capable actors with a few professionals carrying more than their weight. Even a Shyamalan twist at the end. It earned a rightful place among the TV best, up there with Deadwood, Sopranos, Rome, Band of Brothers etc. And as it turns out, that is where they should have left it.

The second season was an absolute bore. The human characters have no real drive anymore, they're just going through the motions. Treading water. The "hosts" are now either pathetic cannon-fodder or superhuman fanatics. Who gets shot, who shoots who, it has lost all meaning. If it turns out that they're needed somewhere in the plot they're just resurrected. All impact is lost. The Man In Black was supposed to have gotten what he wanted in this season: a place where choices are final, consequences are dire and there are no do-overs. Watching the series, I feel like that is exactly what is still missing.

It was also painfully obvious that only the female characters have any real goals. Dolores, Maeve, Elsie, Charlotte are all leads dragging various men with them as servants or hostages. Even The Man's daughter Emily appears out of nowhere in particular to drag him around by the nose. This pandering to the current social trend will get you no plus points. Women are able to figure out what purpose and agency are without having it spoon-fed to them by a woman-heavy cast & crew. Pretty sad.

In short, the first season is fantastic and a pleasure to watch. The second season you'd be better off giving a miss.
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4/10
Really disappointing Season 2
Saumya Gupta3 July 2018
It has become just another show which relies completely on fancy graphics, wordy dialogues and frequent gunfights. Season 2 was all about fancy technology (which seems extremely impractical), people walking around in the desert having gunfights (throw in a couple swordfights here and there) and loose plot twists most of which seemed unnecessary. There's a false illusion of depth. The showmakers also don't seem to understand technology or anything related to artificial intelligence, nor have they even tried to do any basic research on it. The plot has gaping holes, and after a point you even stop caring whether the story is even coherent or not. I hated the second season as much as i loved the first. It has deterred me from watching any self-proclaimed sci-fi TV series or movie for at least the next couple months.
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3/10
Devolves into bs
davor160726 June 2018
I really loved the first season. It was a bit "twisty" (don't know how to describe it better without it being a spoiler) but you could watch it from the beginning to end and say "aha, cool". With season two they just overdid it to the point where most people can't just watch the show and understand what the hell is going on. Instead only people who understand what's going on now seem to be those who are ready to re-watch every episode, share ideas on the forums, draw diagrams about who did what where and when... If you like that David Lynch type stuff where everything is so convoluted you have to do research on every scene in order to figure out what's going on, you'll love this. If you want just a fun sci-fi show to watch, there's nothing for you here.
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10/10
Absolutely spectacular
lesley_givens18 October 2016
Wow, where to begin...

First of all, the score by Ramin Djawadi is absolutely majestic!

The actors, well, whatever I say just won't be enough. It's a total pleasure watching every second of their stellar performances.

The plot - being a huge fan of sci-fi, it simply doesn't get better than that!

The scenery is gorgeous, it really takes you in the past. That constant mix of past and future is brilliant.

Overall, I am amazed ( obviously ), mesmerized and absolutely loving every single thing about this show!

Already a classic in my book <3
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5/10
Season two, especially the later episodes, is not up to par with the quality of the first season.
J B1 July 2018
First season was a breath of fresh air among the mediocrity of most TV series. For the second season, I guess they thought their reputation would suffice.

The characters stopped behaving believably and consistently. I feel like they wrote the ending, some scenes that they liked to present to the audience, and then just blindly tried to string everything together with a lot of meaningless and insignificant filler content.

Everything else is excellent by the way. It's just that lazy, pretentious writing is doing this in.
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10/10
A delightful change from cheap flicks
Movie Tracker3 November 2016
First of all, it is very clear that the production mindset behind Westworld is far from creating a cheap product with generic high bursts of tension/love/horror/excitement. It is full of deep human conflicts, that is if you are open to watch it with a clear mind.

Hopkins' quote from the end of episode 2 when he says "No" to "Odyssey on Red River" and explanation of his refusal feels like a statement of the production mindset. "Odyssey on Red River" pretty much summarizes everything wrong with entertainment media nowadays, and Westworld is a real delight that shines as a great production.

I don't know how to tell its greatness without spoiling the show, but unless you want a cheap ride you will glimpse at screen in between your texting; you can not not enjoy this show!
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1/10
Clipping my toenails is more interesting than season 2
sales-857 June 2018
As so many others have said, season 1 was very good, divergent stories all coming together. Much like "True Detective", season 2 is a hot mess. One of my toenails hit an empty beer can and made a cool "clink" sound. That was more interesting than any episode of season 2. Disclaimer: I am old enough to remember seeing the original Westworld movie in 1973 for fifty cents.
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5/10
Season 1: 9/10......Season 2: 1/10
Nils Urban15 June 2018
It is hard to understand how one of the most promising TV Series could go from such heights as season 1 to the lows of season 2.

I guess the writer hosts for season 2 were stuck in a bad loop....

I forced myself to watch season 2 until episode 8 (none of the eight episodes was good, most of them feel like badly done fillers)...but I had enough of this crap now...

game over
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9/10
A Spectacular Philosophical/Sci-Fi TV Show
greyfire3 December 2016
Westworld has quickly and unexpectedly become one of my favorite shows of all time. It's a show that manages to make the viewer ask questions about human existence and human morality.

I was really excited to watch this show because of the premise alone: There's a theme park filled with robots called 'hosts' that are made to resemble humans in almost every way; visitors to the theme park enter a western themed world where they can do whatever they want, including raping and murdering the hosts. At the beginning, I wasn't sure where the show was headed, but it intrigued me. After a few episodes, some questions were answered and as I began to see the direction the show was taking, I fell in love with it.

The show presents the perspective of many different characters who each have their own opinion on what is right and wrong regarding the use of the hosts. And there's always mystery in the plot that'll keep you wondering about the people, their motives and whether or not they should be considered an immoral person based on their actions.

Westworld challenges us to think about what makes someone a conscious human being and what exactly makes us real and separates us from the hosts.
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3/10
Season 2 is rushed and the writing shows
James23 June 2018
Its not believable in the lest, despite having great actors. A big lost opportunity, but when the season was rushed through I kinda expected the worst and got most of it.
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2/10
Disjoined - Hard to follow - Disappointing
bobnjuls425 June 2018
So much potential, so little produced. Season 1 was OK but Season 2 was a mess of disconnected story lines. Between the memory trails and the story line bouncing back and forth that was hard to follow and the horrible depressive music this was very disappointing. It seemed like the writers attempted to create exciting action by having shootout after shootout instead of writing creative narratives. So much potential for a gripping series wasted on a weird, incongruent and boring waste of time. I needed the Season 2 finale to pull things together or I was done. Without a doubt, I'm done.
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10/10
Television at its finest
theruralfox30 October 2016
If you've watched the original film, you will approach watching Westworld with an understanding of the basic premise and a moderate expectation of entertainment. That is how I approached it, and my expectations were taken to another level. Westworld is, put simply, a contemporary screenplay masterpiece. It has taken the original premise and intelligently added layers of complexity to its plot that resonate with where humanity finds itself in the 21st century. What is consciousness? What is humanity? Where is the line? And how does this related to creating artificial consciousness? The original film failed to explain how 'what happened' happened. But the TV show eludes to the faultline between corporate sponsorship (The Board) and scientific enquiry. I will avoid spoilers for anyone who has not seen this yet, but in setting the seen the writers/producers have created Westworld not only as a TV show, but as a series of questions for humanity to ponder. And the acting is sublime, in particular Evan Rachel Wood & Thandie Newton's characters evoke empathy in my very core.
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5/10
Season 1 is a 9, season 2 is a 3
rr-7891123 May 2018
Season one of Westworld was outstanding. The slow reveals, the running themes (think a different cult tune on the pianola each week), the gradual realisation that something wasn't quite right.. But then came season two - the hosts have gone native and want their freedom. Er... and that's it. No real storyline, just aimless mooching about and pointless violence. That the only interesting character now is the writer of the hosts storylines, says something about how dull the rest of the cast has become. This needs a serious rescue mission or it is as doomed to failure as the wandering hosts and their quest for freedom.
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2/10
First series good, second series terrible
Horror1 July 2018
First series of this programme was very interesting and felt brand new. The second series was horrendous, made it up as they went along. Dolurus repeating the same rubbish over and over and over and over and over and over.
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