Why I’m appreciating Westworld

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with genre television.  Build a premise that I can appreciate, and I will follow a show to its logical conclusion – that is, of course, so long as I can GET a logical conclusion.  Don’t create something that’s so confusing and complicated that I need to visit Wikipedia or a TV fan site to fully grasp what’s going on.

That’s why I stopped watching shows like Once Upon A Time, where the character mythos and logic just goes completely out the window, and each episode introduces some new deus ex machina plotline that ties up any previously undetermined loose ends.  Ecch.  Same thing with Under The Dome, where the show just went from creepy sci-fi thriller to incompetent joke, in a show that went two seasons too long for my taste.

Right now, HBO is airing a new genre series called Westworld, and it’s a re-imagining of the original 1973 motion picture.  Here’s a teaser clip of the HBO series, to get your interest piqued.

I love this concept.  I love the idea of a park where robots act out the whims and fantasies for human guests – until the robots start becoming sentient and question their own existence and mortality. And yes, I have several thoughts and theories about the show – is Ed Harris’ character, the “Man in Black,” also appearing in a 30-year-old flashback role as William?  Is Bernard, the person charged with maintaining the robots’ artificial intelligence, a robot himself?  Is Dolores, the “rancher’s daughter” and one of the first robots built in Westworld, actually responsible for a park accident decades earlier?  And what’s the cryptic secret behind the last mystery in the theme park, the enigmatic “Maze”?  Hmm…

Anyways… This HBO series is based on the 1973 original film, although most people only remember it for Yul Brynner’s appearance as the robot gunslinger who attacks park guests when his artificial intelligence is compromised.

There have been several attempts to build from this original film.  Three years after the Westworld film hit movie theaters, a sequel – Futureworld – was released.  This one combines Westworld with elements of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and – well, let’s just put it this way – if you see the trailer, you’ve essentially seen the entire film.

And in the late 1970’s, someone tried to create a new Westworld TV series, as Beyond Westworld aired for a few weeks in late 1970’s on CBS.  Not much I can say about this series, except that it did star Connie Sellecca in one of her early TV roles.

Fun stuff.

But yeah, while everybody else was on their Facebook page telling all their Facebook friends to stay away from giving any Walking Dead spoilers – spoiler alert, there’s a bunch of dead people walking – I’ve been hooked instead on this new HBO series, and trying to figure out not only the plotlines and fan theories, but also how they plan to tie everything together in a satisfying and expected manner.

It’s not much to ask.  People appreciate well-written television.  Especially when there’s the possibility of an upcoming showdown between Sir Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris, as what appears to be the case in next week’s upcoming episode of Westworld.

Look, if I have to wait for another year just for new episodes of Game of Thrones or True Detective, this show will certainly tide me over until then.