"These violent delights have violent ends."
What this isn't: a tired retread of the 1973 movie.
What this is: the best TV drama about artificial intelligence since seasons 3-5 of Person of Interest, which is hardly surprising as its Jonathan Nolan's next project after PoI.
We watched this as it was broadcast, and then again over Christmas when we did a Westworld marathon over a couple of days so that our guests cthulie and T could watch it. I'd been planning to do a re-watch anyway as, perhaps more than any other series I've seen, Westworld rewards a second viewing once you've seen the first season through. The reasons for that are hard to explain without spoilers; suffice it to say that everything you see is significant, but much of it is not as it may first seem. In fact, there's a preview of this just in the pilot episode, when viewers familiar with the 1973 movie will think they know exactly what's going on - and then have their assumptions very nicely inverted.
Good as the narrative is, the series is really made by the performances of some of the leads. In particular, Evan Rachel Harris and Thandie Newton give intense and compelling, yet quite different, portrayals of two of Westworld's robotic 'hosts' that are coming to realise that their world is an elaborate artifice. Both have justly been nominated for Golden Globe awards and I'm sure many more nominations will follow.
The cinematography (much in Monument Valley) also contributes much to the series, as does the soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi, who also composed the music for Person of Interest and Game of Thrones. An added bonus is the deliberate in-joke that the pianola we regularly hear in the town saloon/brothel plays rearrangements of modern tracks; identifying them, and their relevance to the plot, is another of the pleasures awaiting viewers.
Oh, and you'll get even more from the plot if you've read this:
- the idea behind which forms the basis of a key element of the plot.
The quote I opened with is one that turns out to have particular significance within the plot. As does the one I close with - in particular, when it signposts one of the most stunning revelations of the series.
"It doesn't look like anything to me."