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HBO's "Westworld" thread; spoilers allowed, with warnings

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OK, I just saw the pilot of HBO's new "Westworld" remake/reboot series....

***** MINOR SPOILERS ******

.... and it was excellent. Lived up to my expectations and exceeded them.   
It is to the 1973 original movie exactly what 2003 BSG was to the 1978 series; a superior reimagining in both sophistication and execution.
The depth to which the park's robots (or 'hosts') artificial intelligences are explored, just in the pilot alone, is far deeper than was ever possible in either the '73 movie or it's 1976 sequel ("Futureworld").   And the star power on display really assists an already deeply compelling story;  Ed Harris (as an evil gunslinger in a surprise twist of the original), Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Lorraine Bracco, Jeffrey Wright and last (but far from least) Sir Anthony Hopkins.  

westworld-01.jpg

This story would've worked just as well with a lesser cast, but hiring a group of actors of this caliber really shows the thought and no-expense-spared approach; much like the adult theme park of the title.    The skeleton of the late Michael Crichton's original is still there, but it is plumbed to depths I doubt he could've ever imagined in the early '70s.   Back then, the theme park robots were more of the circuited, Bionic Woman 'fembot' variety; the robots in the new version are more synthetic living beings, who live and die on command of the park guests... and who seem to remember some of the abhorrent behavior delivered unto them in the name of wish fulfillment.

westworld-anthony-hopkins-jeffery-wright

Musical bonus: there is also a cool instrumental version of the Rolling Stones' classic "Paint It Black" played during a gun battle; it was so cool and well-placed in the story, that I can't get it out of my mind.  I wonder if it's on iTunes yet, because I really want it.  

 

 

This is A level science fiction, done just right.
I honestly have NO complaints of this pilot, and I'm just eager to see where it goes.   To all involved,  a round of applause.

 

I decided to start a new thread for it to allow for any discussion.   Spoilers are OK, just give some kind of warning. 
Anyone else see this yet?  I'm just dying to talk about it... :thumbup:

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I did. It was everything I hoped it'd be.

Very glad I signed on to HBO Now.

Based on the pilot alone, I'll be keeping Now until the end of the season. :)

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I did. It was everything I hoped it'd be.

Very glad I signed on to HBO Now.

Based on the pilot alone, I'll be keeping Now until the end of the season. :)

^
I'm so onboard with this show.

After seeing a few of this season's new offerings ("Designated Survivor" "Lethal Weapon" etc) this is by far and away my favorite.   

 

******* SPOILERS ******
 

As for the sexual explicitness?  I think the fears were generally unfounded because I think it was perfectly placed in this story, and not arbitrary at all.   Yes, there is a lot of nudity, but it's naked artificial people; anatomically correct receptacles of our own worst impulses.   They are living blowup dolls, to be raped, tortured, shot and treated as miserably as possible in the name of our own desires and wish fulfillment.   It was a next-level exploration of the ideas that were presented in the original PG rated movie.   There were (PG) sex scenes with the robots in the original as well, but because of the rating they had to be very chaste.  

The violence was about on a par with the original (it's perfectly OK to shoot people full of holes, just don't have sex with them I guess?), if not a little more explicit (the scalping, for example).   These robots bleed, just as the originals did; but they're less circuits and diodes underneath and more like synthetic life forms.   More "Blade Runner" than "fembot."  Again, a next-level approach to the original's material.   This show is less about malfunctioning robots run amok and more about abused machines on the cusp of intelligence.   The singularity occurring within the artificial minds of humanity's abused children.   Comparisons with BSG's Cylons are also valid, I think; but there is greater potential for freedom in the exploration (with the series on HBO instead of SyFy).

One of my favorite little bits, and one that speaks volumes of the series' potential, was the notion early on with Ed Harris' crazed, sadistic gunslinger.   In the original, Yul Brynner played a similar evil 'bad guy' character who was 'killed' by Richard Benjamin's tourist character, only to be resurrected again in the movie's "Terminator"-like hunt to the death.  In this version?  The big twist was brilliant; the evil 'man in black' was a guest to the park, and not a robot (!).   That blew my freaking mind.  I loved it!   He comes to disrupt the lives of two robots (Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden) who seem to be in a kind of simulated love, with her emerging sentient father seemingly disapproving.    But the 'evil gunslinger' bad guy of the original is now a HUMAN BEING, and not a robot.   WE are the bad guys; and the abuse we regularly shower upon our robots is frightfully telling of what kind of a people we are.    

What kind of artificial intelligence would emerge from such abuse? 

At any rate, I love this show; one hour and 15 min. pilot in and I'm hooked! 

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******* SPOILERS ******

 

Yeah, I saw it too, though I don't think I'm quite as convinced as you guys yet. It's high-gloss stuff, beautifully put together, and it certainly takes no narrative prisoners in the sense that it dumps the viewer right in the middle of things and lets them work out what’s happening. Along with those actors you mentioned Vie, the show also features Sidse Babette Knudsen (of Borgen fame, Danish TV fans) and Thandie Newton, two European actresses who, along with Hoppo, tend to elevate anything they're in, although I thought Knudsen seemed oddly out-of-place here and not entirely comfortable in her role. The British guy playing her assistant also seemed to be playing it a bit broadly. But I guess he was supposed to be an a$$hole, moreso even than all the other human characters.

It looked absolutely beautiful - really mind-blowingly gorgeous - and in terms of the acting talent, cinematography and production values, I have no complaints at all. (Damn, there's even a little nod for geeks to the original 70s movie incarnation when cast members wander past the original 'Delos' logo.)

But I came away with something bugging me (no, not a fly). It's another AI story - good - and may unfold into a great one, who knows. I like that it immediately sets about building a complex narrative. The whole thing makes you feel deliberately uncomfortable from the outset. We have robophobia, misogyny and racism (of a sort) all on cheerful display so that they can be dramatically explored, but all the humans are hateful… so that's all right then. Yup, as with most other AI stories, the human characters are mostly repellent – it's becoming a cliché of the AI sub-genre (come back Doctors Chandra and Soong, all is forgiven. Compare also with last year’s HUMANS).

I think my reservations lie in the nature of the set-up – even the central enigma of the show is mysterious at this point - a little bit too hazy, perhaps. Apart from some “malfunctioning” androids (who seem to becoming fully sentient), we have the Ed Harris character, following the map of the maze he found on the inside of someone’s scalp. Where the character itself is an amusing switch on the Yul Brynner equivalent in the 70s original, for some reason that plot point came off as ludicrous to me, and smelt of Lost, where I watched a show for six seasons and it went nowhere. I admit, this is purely a bothersome instinct on my part and may amount to nothing at all – it can't even be called a criticism and is probably just me getting used to the style of the show. I thought the ending – the final moment – was great.

And in these days when good shows do bother to take their time to tell a story, I'm happy to stick with it for the time being and see where it goes.

Edited by Robin Bland

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******* SPOILERS ******

 

Yeah, I saw it too, though I don't think I'm quite as convinced as you guys yet. It's high-gloss stuff, beautifully put together, and it certainly takes no narrative prisoners in the sense that it dumps the viewer right in the middle of things and lets them work out what’s happening. Along with those actors you mentioned Vie, the show also features Sidse Babette Knudsen (of Borgen fame, Danish TV fans) and Thandie Newton, two European actresses who, along with Hoppo, tend to elevate anything they're in, although I thought Knudsen seemed oddly out-of-place here and not entirely comfortable in her role. The British guy playing her assistant also seemed to be playing it a bit broadly. But I guess he was supposed to be an a$$hole, moreso even than all the other human characters.

It looked absolutely beautiful - really mind-blowingly gorgeous - and in terms of the acting talent, cinematography and production values, I have no complaints at all. (Damn, there's even a little nod for geeks to the original 70s movie incarnation when cast members wander past the original 'Delos' logo.)

But I came away with something bugging me (no, not a fly). It's another AI story - good - and may unfold into a great one, who knows. I like that it immediately sets about building a complex narrative. The whole thing makes you feel deliberately uncomfortable from the outset. We have robophobia, misogyny and racism (of a sort) all on cheerful display so that they can be dramatically explored, but all the humans are hateful… so that's all right then. Yup, as with most other AI stories, the human characters are mostly repellent – it's becoming a cliché of the AI sub-genre (come back Doctors Chandra and Soong, all is forgiven. Compare also with last year’s HUMANS).

I think my reservations lie in the nature of the set-up – even the central enigma of the show is mysterious at this point - a little bit too hazy, perhaps. Apart from some “malfunctioning” androids (who seem to becoming fully sentient), we have the Ed Harris character, following the map of the maze he found on the inside of someone’s scalp. Where the character itself is an amusing switch on the Yul Brynner equivalent in the 70s original, for some reason that plot point came off as ludicrous to me, and smelt of Lost, where I watched a show for six seasons and it went nowhere. I admit, this is purely a bothersome instinct on my part and may amount to nothing at all – it can't even be called a criticism and is probably just me getting used to the style of the show. I thought the ending – the final moment – was great.

And in these days when good shows do bother to take their time to tell a story, I'm happy to stick with it for the time being and see where it goes.

^
OK, you really made me laugh with the line about Chandra and Soong... 
:giggle:

And yeah, I'm a little sad you didn't get the same charge out of it that I did; you make some valid points, but for some reason I got really caught up in it.   I forgive some of its narrative 'fogginess' in that it's the first of a series; there's a lot more to explore ahead, I'm sure. 

Maybe I was in a really receptive (or gullible? :P) mood last night but that twist with the gunslinger really had me like this...

giphy.gif

 

And yes, I recognized Thandie Newton as well; I remember her from way back ("Interview With the Vampire" and as former US Secretary of State Condi Rice in Oliver Stone's "W").   She did a great job, and she's just a gorgeous lady (or robot, whichever).  Wonderful actress, she is.  She holds attention every time she's in the camera's air space.  

Overall, I was impressed; and it's so good to see ADULT science fiction given a nice, big, healthy budget and beautiful production values (not to mention A-list talent all over the place).   To me, this feels like science fiction television really treated with due respect.  

 

 

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They all have a strong ring of plausibility to them... more to look forward to, IMO.  

Though I'm not sure if the new series is directly referencing the first movie as canonical; if that were the case, what happened to Roman world and Medieval world?  Not to mention Futureworld (the new attraction at Delos, and 1976 sequel of the same name).   I would prefer it if the 30 year old breakdown they reference was more an event similar to the Delos breakdown in the 1973 original, but not literally so.  The universes don't really line up.  

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Overall, I was impressed; and it's so good to see ADULT science fiction given a nice, big, healthy budget and beautiful production values (not to mention A-list talent all over the place).   To me, this feels like science fiction television really treated with due respect.  

 

Well, I can't say I wasn't absorbed by it - I was. Maybe my expectations were too high. I will be back to watch the following episodes anyway, so my comments are kind of redundant. But if I can clarify that "bug" later, I will...!

They all have a strong ring of plausibility to them... more to look forward to, IMO.  

Though I'm not sure if the new series is directly referencing the first movie as canonical; if that were the case, what happened to Roman world and Medieval world?  Not to mention Futureworld (the new attraction at Delos, and 1976 sequel of the same name).   I would prefer it if the 30 year old breakdown they reference was more an event similar to the Delos breakdown in the 1973 original, but not literally so.  The universes don't really line up.  

It did occur to me that they might all actually be robots, but then I rejected that notion as far too annoying and Lost-like for any decent writer to consider it. If Harris' Gunslinger is one who has long gained sentience though, that's a different matter. 

 

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Overall, I was impressed; and it's so good to see ADULT science fiction given a nice, big, healthy budget and beautiful production values (not to mention A-list talent all over the place).   To me, this feels like science fiction television really treated with due respect.  

 

Well, I can't say I wasn't absorbed by it - I was. Maybe my expectations were too high. I will be back to watch the following episodes anyway, so my comments are kind of redundant. But if I can clarify that "bug" later, I will...!

They all have a strong ring of plausibility to them... more to look forward to, IMO.  

Though I'm not sure if the new series is directly referencing the first movie as canonical; if that were the case, what happened to Roman world and Medieval world?  Not to mention Futureworld (the new attraction at Delos, and 1976 sequel of the same name).   I would prefer it if the 30 year old breakdown they reference was more an event similar to the Delos breakdown in the 1973 original, but not literally so.  The universes don't really line up.  

It did occur to me that they might all actually be robots, but then I rejected that notion as far too annoying and Lost-like for any decent writer to consider it. If Harris' Gunslinger is one who has long gained sentience though, that's a different matter. 

 

^
I'd be okay with Harris playing the sentient robot that caused the problem 30 years ago; I just don't think he should be playing Yul Brynner's exact robot.   That one was destroyed and that movie was a whole separate canon to what I saw last night.   I don't mind the references to the original movie, but I'm a bit skittish about making the new show a DIRECT sequel...

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kc1966   

I did. It was everything I hoped it'd be.

Very glad I signed on to HBO Now.

Based on the pilot alone, I'll be keeping Now until the end of the season. :)

^

The violence was about on a par with the original (it's perfectly OK to shoot people full of holes, just don't have sex with them I guess?), if not a little more explicit (the scalping, for example).  

I've often wondered about that.  Now please understand I am not saying we should have sex or nudity all over the place in entertainment but even as a kid I wondered why they faded to another scene when a romantic moment was beginning (even between married couples) but showed shootouts all over the place. 

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I'd be okay with Harris playing the sentient robot that caused the problem 30 years ago; I just don't think he should be playing Yul Brynner's exact robot.   That one was destroyed and that movie was a whole separate canon to what I saw last night.   I don't mind the references to the original movie, but I'm a bit skittish about making the new show a DIRECT sequel...

I think it should be a separate canon too, but hopefully they'll keep it implicit rather than explicit so people can decide for themselves.

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I did. It was everything I hoped it'd be.

Very glad I signed on to HBO Now.

Based on the pilot alone, I'll be keeping Now until the end of the season. :)

^

The violence was about on a par with the original (it's perfectly OK to shoot people full of holes, just don't have sex with them I guess?), if not a little more explicit (the scalping, for example).  

I've often wondered about that.  Now please understand I am not saying we should have sex or nudity all over the place in entertainment but even as a kid I wondered why they faded to another scene when a romantic moment was beginning (even between married couples) but showed shootouts all over the place. 

I think because violence is often seen as an instrument of justice and a motivation for it. Kill action star's daughter, and action star makes those responsible pay. Sex is different, in part, because this is still, in most ways a puritanical society, so there are fewer (and arguably) no ways under which sex is acceptable.

HBO's best premiere ratings in three years. 

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I'd be okay with Harris playing the sentient robot that caused the problem 30 years ago; I just don't think he should be playing Yul Brynner's exact robot.   That one was destroyed and that movie was a whole separate canon to what I saw last night.   I don't mind the references to the original movie, but I'm a bit skittish about making the new show a DIRECT sequel...

I think it should be a separate canon too, but hopefully they'll keep it implicit rather than explicit so people can decide for themselves.

^
This. 

I think of it kind of like BSG in that some things were true to the original (the TOS Cylons fighting in the first Cylon war, etc) but those were just elements; not the actual story. 

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Sim   

It's not on Amazon Prime or Netflix Germany, so I guess I'll have to wait for the BDs. :(

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It's not on Amazon Prime or Netflix Germany, so I guess I'll have to wait for the BDs. :(

It just premiered on US television only last weekend, so I wonder if it's just a short delay (?).   Hope so... 

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Sim   

It's not on Amazon Prime or Netflix Germany, so I guess I'll have to wait for the BDs. :(

It just premiered on US television only last weekend, so I wonder if it's just a short delay (?).   Hope so... 

Looks like a pay tv channel (Sky) picked up the rights to air it first in Germany (and did so yesterday)... in that case, it can take a while until it's on streaming. :(

On the plus side, there is a lot of other stuff I'd like to see (like the 2nd season of "Ash vs. Evil Dead", "Fargo" and on a recommendation, I want to give "American Horror Story" a try... and the rest of "FtWD" season 2 is still waiting, too), and only few free time available these days, so I guess I won't be bored until I get to see "Westworld" eventually. :)

Edited by Sim

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I thought episode 2 was about a thousand times better than ep 1. Even though it's setting up more mystery and deepening others, the tone was much more assured. The scene where Thandie Newton's character wakes from her dream was nothing less than superb. 

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I thought episode 2 was about a thousand times better than ep 1. Even though it's setting up more mystery and deepening others, the tone was much more assured. The scene where Thandie Newton's character wakes from her dream was nothing less than superb. 

^
Okay, we just saw it (Mrs. Vie loves this show too; nice to have another scifi show we can enjoy together) and yes, I agree; E2 was better.  

****** SPOILERISH STUFF ********

westworld.jpg?itok=Oo4FXYmN

 

In many ways, S1.2 was almost a straightforward retelling of the original 1973 movie; with the opening being told from the POV of the 2 new arriving guests (whose characters were very much like James Brolin and Richard Benjamin).   The orientation center, where the guests picked out guns, wardrobe, etc. was also taken right from the Michael Crichton movie.  In many ways, this episode could've just as easily functioned as a 2nd pilot for the series, as it showed exactly how WW 'works' for a guest, laying out some of the groundwork and 'rules' of the place.   And the Thandie Newton madame character (a more interesting reinvention of the role Star Trek's own Majel Barrett played in the original movie!), with her first stirrings of memory was powerful stuff!  Her 'awakening' was intense.   The Ed Harris stuff was grisly as hell too.   This show is rapidly becoming 'must-see' in our house.

If the following episodes continue this upward trend?   I think this season will be a hell of a ride...

PS:  Did anyone else notice ST09's Clifton Collins Jr. ("Ayel" the Romulan) as the unfortunate family man captured by Ed Harris' gunslinger?  

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I thought episode 2 was about a thousand times better than ep 1. Even though it's setting up more mystery and deepening others, the tone was much more assured. The scene where Thandie Newton's character wakes from her dream was nothing less than superb. 

^
Okay, we just saw it (Mrs. Vie loves this show too; nice to have another scifi show we can enjoy together) and yes, I agree; E2 was better.  

****** SPOILERISH STUFF ********

westworld.jpg?itok=Oo4FXYmN

 

In many ways, S1.2 was almost a straightforward retelling of the original 1973 movie; with the opening being told from the POV of the 2 new arriving guests (whose characters were very much like James Brolin and Richard Benjamin).   The orientation center, where the guests picked out guns, wardrobe, etc. was also taken right from the Michael Crichton movie.  In many ways, this episode could've just as easily functioned as a 2nd pilot for the series, as it showed exactly how WW 'works' for a guest, laying out some of the groundwork and 'rules' of the place.   And the Thandie Newton madame character (a more interesting reinvention of the role Star Trek's own Majel Barrett played in the original movie!), with her first stirrings of memory was powerful stuff!  Her 'awakening' was intense.   The Ed Harris stuff was grisly as hell too.   This show is rapidly becoming 'must-see' in our house.

If the following episodes continue this upward trend?   I think this season will be a hell of a ride...

PS:  Did anyone else notice ST09's Clifton Collins Jr. ("Ayel" the Romulan) as the unfortunate family man captured by Ed Harris' gunslinger?  

I didn't notice him, no! That's what I've got you and Prome for, Sehlat...! You guys can both pick out an actor's face in different make-up from a thousand paces! :thumbup:

What marked this episode out for me immediately is the arrival of the new guests - one an asshat, one someone we could identify with, at least a little. While I admired the conceptual complexity and slickness of ep 1, there was very little there to latch on to with the human (?) characters - which I guess is the point, in a big way. But neither, if we're supposed to then root for the hosts, is it fun to see them be abused ad nauseum (and, as you observed last week, humans are the bad guys so one supposes that's the idea). It kind of put a distance between me and the show. Plus I had trouble with the moment that we discover Ed Harris' character is a "deep gamer" hunting for easter eggs. 

But it came together in an entirely different way this episode, and I appreciated the change of POVs. I'm not saying you always have to care about a character to make drama work, but in this case, it really helped to have someone who seemed to have some vestige of a recognizable moral structure in this strange new world. Equally, it's easy to loath Deep Gamer for his remorseless search for thrills - his grim appreciation and amusement when he notes how "well done" the whole experience is as he blows someone's - well, an android's - head off. But then, he doesn't know there may be a widespread AI awakening going on around him yet, does he? Memories are what we're made of.

The scene with Thandie Newton's Maeve absolutely is one of the most tense things I've seen on TV in some time, and yeah, I was totally rooting for her. But it's nice to have the human (Richard Benjamin stand-in) on the train too. Sizemore is supposed to be repulsive, but every other human character is equally awful, just in a different way. Memories are what we're made of, and while the synths are gaining their abilities in this area, it'll be interesting to see if we get any backstory for their fleshling cousins, to help soften them or just help the audience understand them better. There are hints that Hoppo's John Ford already loves his synthetic children, but he's got to be some kind of sociopath to have dreamed up the whole Westworld scenario in the first place. But now I'm more inclined to stick around and find out how it plays out. 

Life is a game, apparently. ;)

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I thought episode 2 was about a thousand times better than ep 1. Even though it's setting up more mystery and deepening others, the tone was much more assured. The scene where Thandie Newton's character wakes from her dream was nothing less than superb. 

^
Okay, we just saw it (Mrs. Vie loves this show too; nice to have another scifi show we can enjoy together) and yes, I agree; E2 was better.  

****** SPOILERISH STUFF ********

westworld.jpg?itok=Oo4FXYmN

 

In many ways, S1.2 was almost a straightforward retelling of the original 1973 movie; with the opening being told from the POV of the 2 new arriving guests (whose characters were very much like James Brolin and Richard Benjamin).   The orientation center, where the guests picked out guns, wardrobe, etc. was also taken right from the Michael Crichton movie.  In many ways, this episode could've just as easily functioned as a 2nd pilot for the series, as it showed exactly how WW 'works' for a guest, laying out some of the groundwork and 'rules' of the place.   And the Thandie Newton madame character (a more interesting reinvention of the role Star Trek's own Majel Barrett played in the original movie!), with her first stirrings of memory was powerful stuff!  Her 'awakening' was intense.   The Ed Harris stuff was grisly as hell too.   This show is rapidly becoming 'must-see' in our house.

If the following episodes continue this upward trend?   I think this season will be a hell of a ride...

PS:  Did anyone else notice ST09's Clifton Collins Jr. ("Ayel" the Romulan) as the unfortunate family man captured by Ed Harris' gunslinger?  

I didn't notice him, no! That's what I've got you and Prome for, Sehlat...! You guys can both pick out an actor's face in different make-up from a thousand paces! :thumbup:

What marked this episode out for me immediately is the arrival of the new guests - one an asshat, one someone we could identify with, at least a little. While I admired the conceptual complexity and slickness of ep 1, there was very little there to latch on to with the human (?) characters - which I guess is the point, in a big way. But neither, if we're supposed to then root for the hosts, is it fun to see them be abused ad nauseum (and, as you observed last week, humans are the bad guys so one supposes that's the idea). It kind of put a distance between me and the show. Plus I had trouble with the moment that we discover Ed Harris' character is a "deep gamer" hunting for easter eggs. 

But it came together in an entirely different way this episode, and I appreciated the change of POVs. I'm not saying you always have to care about a character to make drama work, but in this case, it really helped to have someone who seemed to have some vestige of a recognizable moral structure in this strange new world. Equally, it's easy to loath Deep Gamer for his remorseless search for thrills - his grim appreciation and amusement when he notes how "well done" the whole experience is as he blows someone's - well, an android's - head off. But then, he doesn't know there may be a widespread AI awakening going on around him yet, does he? Memories are what we're made of.

The scene with Thandie Newton's Maeve absolutely is one of the most tense things I've seen on TV in some time, and yeah, I was totally rooting for her. But it's nice to have the human (Richard Benjamin stand-in) on the train too. Sizemore is supposed to be repulsive, but every other human character is equally awful, just in a different way. Memories are what we're made of, and while the synths are gaining their abilities in this area, it'll be interesting to see if we get any backstory for their fleshling cousins, to help soften them or just help the audience understand them better. There are hints that Hoppo's John Ford already loves his synthetic children, but he's got to be some kind of sociopath to have dreamed up the whole Westworld scenario in the first place. But now I'm more inclined to stick around and find out how it plays out. 

Life is a game, apparently. ;)

^
Can I just borrow your analysis?
:laugh:  That's what I meant to say... :P


But yes, I've long held that human beings are essentially a sum total of memories and life experiences on a mobile platform; it seems the AI in the park are slowly dawning on that realization, and that is the nightmare; multiple lifetimes spent as receptacles for the worst aspects of human behavior (Deep Gamer's tirades, for example; or a-hole guy stabbing the old 'treasure hunt' guy's hand just to shut him up).  

How could those experiences, if imperfectly erased, not haunt any creature of intelligence, human or not?   Even if the AI only had the intelligence of a simple animal they would be scarred forever; so it's no wonder that creatures as sophisticated as they are (so much so that they converse with each other to 'practice' humanity) would suffer trauma, whether they're 'designed' that way or not.   Even a crude mechanical device breaks down on you if improperly used or abused.

And these 'machines' in WW can have in-depth conversations with each other.   That's HUGE.

When it comes to AI, I believe (per the Turing test) that if a machine is capable of seemingly independent answers based on self-formulation, how is it NOT a true intelligence?  There are human beings who are brain damaged and can't do the same, yet they are afforded the respect of a living being (in ideal circumstances, of course).   Is it just biology that makes the difference?    I don't think so...

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Sim   

Still can't find the BDs announced on Amazon. I'm annoyed. :(

As a substitute, I ordered the 1973 movie.

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Still can't find the BDs announced on Amazon. I'm annoyed. :(

As a substitute, I ordered the 1973 movie.

^
The series is a lot more sophisticated (technically and intellectually) than the 1973 movie, but it's a nice start. 

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Caught both eps this weekend. I was thinking how interesting it was that Westworld may have begun this sentient robot/Terminator type movie franchise and throughout the decades other movies have embellished on this artificial intelligence theme. As I was watching these two eps, this new Westworld felt like it incorporated all these themes(Blade Runner, BSG, Matrix, etc...); a fascinating book end if you see that imagery. I am curious and concerned if it doesn't end up repeating a lot of BSG themes. It feels similar in many respects. This new series could be easily discussed in the older "AI" thread. 

A couple of things that bother me:

1. The nudity feels as cheap so far as what I see in GoT. I'm not prude but I find the nudity to be thrown in there to titillate similar to GoT. You can tell the same story without it. It's the same typical background scenery of svelte white young women. Fine. Let's have some nudity. At least switch it up a bit. Luckily we do get the magnificent Thandie Newton who looks fantastic at 43(unless it was a double). Well, she looks great anyway and I loved the "madame" look(all made up) and the "robot" look(sans make up and hairstyling, harsh lights, etc..). I felt it was very brave of her as an actress to be shown in these two stark conditions. 

2. Similarly, the use of 'f*ck' everywhere is quite annoying. 

3. This is the big one: I'm watching this show thinking what kind of society invests that much money(technology, land, etc...) to set up a Disneyland for depraved men? I get 'adventure' but this was catering to the worst tendencies of human behavior. If I recall, there was a black family with a young boy in the park. Who would take such a youngster to be exposed to such violence? This concept bothered me a lot and it may be the salient factor that will determine if I continue watching. What does it say about that society(ie 'us') that this is what we would do with these scientific achievements?

I enjoyed the twist with Ed Harris' character. I wish they would have held on to that a little bit even it if was at the end of the first ep. That would have been a real WTF? moment. It would be really interesting if that character ends up being a hero of some sorts 'cause so far he embodies everything evil. He doesn't have to say a word and still scares me. 

The acting is great. I find the robots to be A LOT more interesting than the humans. That one young corporate dude who yells at one of the robot techs needs to get killed soon. Hate him. Perhaps that's on purpose to empathize a bit with the non-humans. 

Edited by Nombrecomun

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Nombre, several of us seem to be on the same page regarding the human characters. So far there's only one - one! - who seems even mildly appealing. I question the whole philosophical grounding of the show - what kind of world would allow such a park to exist? On the one hand, it's arguable that this aspect of the original 1973 movie hasn't been updated, but everything else has. The other, scarier narrative get-out clause regarding that is that this future society condones and even supports the park's existence. That's not a future world I would like to live in, but for the time being, I'm willing to go with the show and see it explore the implications of what it has set up so far. 

The nudity seems pretty across-the-board between male and female to me, and much of it is very deliberately dehumanizing. I'm not sure I could point to a shot that was titillating as such, as I found every instance where it occurred off-putting in the extreme. Especially the 'abattoir' sequence featuring Maeve, which was deeply unsettling - a frightened, naked woman (albeit a synthetic one) trying to make sense of where she was, attempting to comprehend what was happening to her. Even when two human characters appeared in bed, it was a bit chaste. Arguably, this is a directorial decision, to emphasize the differences between the humans and the synthetic humanoids. The soft-focus style of the way many of those sequences begin contrast with the violence many of those scenes segue into - such as every time we see Dolores waking up, which, by ep 2, almost immediately transition into gun imagery as she finds the pistol. One presumes this buried gun is one that can kill "flesh" humans. 

Even the instances of violence in ep 2, although abhorrent, existed to underscore just how repellent the "humans" in this show are. I don't think I need to see someone stabbed in the hand every time I watch, or Deep Gamer/MIB kill a family, as that gets old pretty quick. But I'm willing to see where they go with it.  

[Edited to add]...

Yeah, Sehlat, I wonder if they'll mention the Turing Test at all, or if they're just deliberately skirting it? Obviously BSG never did as it was set in an alien-if-oddly-familiar culture, and it's not something a drama has to do. There's an implicit question at the center of the show, which is the one you voice - if we have memories, and can learn and can communicate, how is that then not sentient intelligence...? 

Edited by Robin Bland

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