Starring: Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson, Jimmi Simpson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ben Barnes, Simon Quarterman, Ingrid Bolse Berdal, Angela Sarafyan, Luke Hemsworth, Clifton Collins Jr, Sidse Babett Knudsen
Plot: Set in the future where a “theme park” exists where people get to live out their fantasies in the wild west. The people who live in this world are called “hosts” and they live out the same story everyday, and it only changes if one of the paying guests interacts with them. Dolores (Wood) is a host, who lives each day going into town just to come back and find her father has been killed. It’s OK though, she’s not real. She’s a host. She lives in the world created by Dr Robert Ford (Hopkins) and Bernard Lowe (Wright). One of the guests, The Man In Black (Harris) has played this game for too long. He’s seen every storyline, and he thinks he can find the next level, like there’s an easter egg to be found. He’s a bad man, and he’ll do anything to get what he wants. There’s also a possibility that the latest update has changed things for Westworld.
What Works: Everything. It’s a great pilot. It takes choose your own adventure to the next level, and asks moral questions about what makes someone a “human”. What makes you “real”. Producers Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams really have created TV’s next Game Of Thrones. It has a large ensemble, full of terrific actors that will have viewers invested in every storyline. Sure, Thandie Newton is underused in the pilot, but she’s Thandie Newton. You think she’s going to remain in the back for long? Seriously, this is one of the best casts ever assembled for TV. Anthony Fucking Hopkins? Yes please. Ed Harris? James Marsden? I didn’t think they’d do TV, but they’re here in Westworld. The show also looks terrific. It’s like a movie. The pacing is terrific.
What Doesn’t Work: I literally have nothing bad to say about this show. I can’t wait for the next episode. If this wasn’t a perfect pilot, it was next to perfect.
Final Word: Absolutely watch. This show alone is worth an HBO subscription. The best new Fall show, and one of the best shows on TV.
FINAL GRADE: A+