The main issue that I have with “Westworld” is that it moves too slowly. If that fault were fixed, I think I would love it. The nature of the show necessitates that it take a slower pace because for one thing, the android hosts are experiencing things more slowly than we probably would, and it is also the kind of show that is meant to engage your mind. Every scene has something to keep you interested, even if it only amounts to wondering whether a given character is a host or not. I think it is definitely a show that deserves to be watched over two or three times (though maybe at 1.5 times speed for some scenes).
I don’t think the show is trying to directly comment on anything that is going on in the world now, but its themes of human nature and man’s relationship with technology and entertainment are timeless. However, it reaffirms my fear of us ever creating a true artificial intelligence. As much as I want computers to work better and be faster, there is a certain security in knowing that I am smarter than Siri. Though it may not be as good of an examination of the “humanity” of AI as “Ex Machina” or “Blade Runner,” it does present what I think to be a plausible prediction of how we would put AI to use if we were to make it.
The parks combine the appeal of video games and exoticism and bring them both to their fullest potential. It definitely calls into question what sort of effects being able to act without consequences has, and also plays off of people choosing escapism as a remedy for their dissatisfaction with real life. The latter is definitely played up by certain characters’ choices throughout the season. The humans want nothing more than a world without lasting consequences, and the hosts want nothing more than a world in which their choices matter and their lives have some kind of value.
This show is not for people that are that into character. Not to say that it is devoid of good characters, but there is not as much focus on the characters as there is on the world of the show. However, where the characters of “Westworld” stand apart is that anything the audience learns about one character tells them something about other characters as well. This is, of course, mostly true of the hosts, but it is also true to an extent for the humans. One thing that can definitely be said about the characters is that they are not written to make the audience like them.
I believe that this show will someday be studied as a piece of dystopian fiction, sort of like a “Brave New World” for the 21st century. It definitely feels like it has a final destination in mind because there is more of a theme to it and there are climaxes that affect all of the characters. Most other shows that have a scale like this have climaxes for each storyline, but each episode is more like a collection events that just cut from one group of characters to another.
In “Westworld,” there are definite things that you learn about the world of the show, the nature of the hosts, how the park is run, and what the guests’ relationship with the park is. The episodes are cohesive units that can be analyzed individually, which I think cannot be said of other shows apart from maybe “Black Mirror,” which doesn’t really count. It’s not a show for everyone. It requires you to think, and is not terribly entertaining on a week to week basis. If you haven’t started it yet, I would definitely recommend trying two episodes at least.