Westworld (TV series)
by Michael Crichton
|Theme music composer||Ramin Djawadi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||57–91 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||October 2, 2016 – present|
Westworld is an American science fiction western thriller television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy for HBO. It is based on the 1973 film of the same name, which was written and directed by American novelist Michael Crichton, and to a lesser extent on the 1976 sequel Futureworld. It is the second TV series based on the two films, the first being the short-lived 1980 series Beyond Westworld. Nolan and Joy serve as executive producers along with J. J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub, and Bryan Burk, with Nolan directing the pilot. The first season premiered on October 2, 2016, concluded on December 4, 2016, and consists of ten episodes. In November 2016, HBO renewed the show for a 10-episode second season, which is planned for a 2018 debut.
The story takes place in the fictional Westworld, a technologically advanced, Western-themed amusement park populated completely by synthetic androids dubbed "hosts". Westworld caters to high-paying visitors dubbed "newcomers" (or just "guests"), who can do whatever they wish within the park, without fear of retaliation from the hosts.
The series' debut on HBO garnered the network's highest viewership ratings for a premiere since the first episode of True Detective in 2014. Westworld has received positive reviews by critics, with particular praise for the visuals, story, and acting.
Cast and characters
- Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, the oldest host still working in the park; she is a Western girl who discovers her entire life is an elaborately constructed lie. Her aesthetic drew influences from Andrew Wyeth's painting Christina's World as well as Lewis Carroll's Alice.
- Thandie Newton as Maeve Millay, a host; she is the madam of Westworld. Like Dolores, she also discovered that her life is an elaborate lie.
- Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe and Arnold Weber, Head of the Westworld Programming Division and creator of artificial people. He is later revealed to be a host under Ford's control, made in the image of Westworld's co-creator, Arnold Weber.
- James Marsden as Teddy Flood, a host; he is a newly arrived gunslinger who is looking for Dolores to rekindle their relationship.
- Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Armistice, a host; she is a brutal and ruthless bandit, and a member of Hector Escaton's gang.
- Luke Hemsworth as Ashley Stubbs, the head of Westworld security, charged with monitoring host and human interactions and ensuring the safety of the guests.
- Sidse Babett Knudsen as Theresa Cullen, Westworld's terse operations leader, responsible for keeping the park from sliding into unscripted disarray. She later forms an alliance with Charlotte Hale and Delos to conspire against Dr. Ford and remove him from power.
- Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore, Westworld's narrative director, whose artistic temperament aggravates his co-workers.
- Rodrigo Santoro as Hector Escaton, a host; he is a wanted gang leader bent on survival.
- Angela Sarafyan as Clementine Pennyfeather, a host; she works for Maeve and is one of Westworld's most popular attractions. Lili Simmons portrays the character when the original Clementine is decommissioned.
- Shannon Woodward as Elsie Hughes, a rising star in the Programming Division tasked with remedying odd behavior in the park's artificial beings.
- Ed Harris as the Man in Black; a rich, sadistic Westworld guest searching for a "deeper level" in the park. Outside of the park, he has achieved prominence as the owner of a medical foundation, and is a board member of Delos.
- Anthony Hopkins as Robert Ford, the founder and creative director of Westworld.
- Ben Barnes as Logan, a veteran guest. His hedonistic romp through Westworld is equally motivated by self-indulgence and a desire to help his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law, William.
- Clifton Collins Jr. as Lawrence, a host; he is a charming but lethal outlaw, with a knack for maneuvering and negotiating the various criminal elements of Westworld.
- Jimmi Simpson as William, a reluctant first-time visitor to Westworld, joining his future brother-in-law, Logan. Initially dismissive of the park's more lascivious attractions, he slowly uncovers a deeper meaning to the park's narrative.
- Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale, Delos' executive director of the board overseeing Westworld. She seeks to smuggle Ford's creation out of Westworld.
- Louis Herthum and Bradford Tatum as Peter Abernathy, Dolores' father.
- Ptolemy Slocum as Sylvester, a lab tech working in Delos.
- Leonardo Nam as Felix Lutz, a lab tech working in Delos who has a major connection with Maeve.
- Talulah Riley as Angela, a host that welcomes newcomers to the park, later reassigned to be a follower of Wyatt's.
- Oliver Bell as Young Robert Ford, a host made by Arnold to resemble Ford when he was a child.
- Lena Georgas as Lori
- Currie Graham as Craig
- Steven Ogg as Rebus, a host, a bandit programmed to kill Dolores' father
- Michael Wincott as Old Bill, one of the original hosts that Ford regularly converses with
- Eddie Rouse as Kissy
- Brian Howe as Pickett, a host, sheriff of Sweetwater
- Demetrius Grosse as Foss, a host, a deputy in town
- Kyle Bornheimer as Clarence
- Timothy Lee DePriest as Walter
- Gina Torres as Lauren
- Bojana Novakovic as Marti
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"The Original"||Jonathan Nolan||Story by : Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy and Michael Crichton |
Teleplay by : Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
|October 2, 2016||276083||1.96|
|Teddy and Dolores, two romantically-linked robotic hosts of theme park Westworld, are attacked by the Man in Black, a mysterious human guest who is searching for a maze. When the hosts begin behaving strangely, Bernard traces the problem to errors in Dr. Ford's reverie code. Cullen orders Hector and Armistice's attack on the town brought forward to cover for the removal of all the affected hosts. Dolores' father Peter finds a photograph that a newcomer left behind and malfunctions. When Dr. Ford interrogates him, Peter quotes Shakespeare and vows revenge upon his creator. Peter is retired from service. Dolores is interrogated and found to be functioning normally. She is wiped and relives her day with a new father, but unknown to management breaks her programming to casually kill a fly.|
|2||"Chestnut"||Richard J. Lewis||Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy||October 7, 2016 (online)|
October 9, 2016 (HBO)
|Logan and William come to Westworld for a good time, but the latter is reluctant to indulge. Though Bernard secretly questions Dolores to make sure nobody has tampered with her, Dolores' contact with procuring madame host Maeve results in her malfunction as well. Maeve is taken in for maintenance but unexpectedly awakes and witnesses damaged hosts, including Teddy, being hosed down. The Man in Black abducts outlaw Lawrence from his own hanging, demanding that he tells him the location of the maze. Lawrence's daughter gives him his next clue. Ford vetoes Sizemore's new narrative calling it cheap titillation that underestimates the guests. They will use Ford's narrative instead.|
|3||"The Stray"||Neil Marshall||Daniel T. Thomsen & Lisa Joy||October 16, 2016||4X6153||2.10|
|William drags Logan off on a bounty hunt. Dolores asks Teddy to teach her to shoot, but her programming prevents her from firing a gun. Ford changes Teddy's backstory for his new narrative, in which he is pitted against rogue outlaw Wyatt. Ford also tells Bernard about his old partner Arnold who died in Westworld after trying to make the hosts conscious. Bernard is worried about the effect their conversations have had on Dolores but she promises to keep quiet and follow her loop. Elsie and Stubbs are sent to capture a stray host. They find him trapped in a ravine and when Stubbs tries to retrieve his head, he wakes up and attacks them before smashing his own head in with a rock. Dolores is attacked by bandits at the homestead, one of whom drags her into the barn to rape her. She steals his gun but is unable to shoot him until she sees him as the Man in Black. Dolores escapes, stumbles into William and Logan's campsite and collapses in William's arms.|
|4||"Dissonance Theory"||Vincenzo Natali||Ed Brubaker & Jonathan Nolan||October 23, 2016||4X6154||1.70|
|Logan wants to finish the bounty hunt and mocks William for bringing Dolores along. Meanwhile, the Man in Black is hunting snakes and finds Armistice with her snake tattoo. He breaks Hector out of prison for her, and she tells him that the tattoo represents all the men she has killed in revenge for the massacre of her village, and that the last piece will be for Wyatt. The Man in Black sets off after Wyatt, rescuing a tortured Teddy. Theresa takes over the investigation into the stray, not trusting Elsie and Bernard. She meets Ford about his new narrative, but he flaunts his power over Westworld and warns her not to interfere. Maeve is having visions of wiped memories, and during Hector and Armistice's attack on the town she finds a bullet in her unscarred belly with Hector's assistance, proving that her visions are real. They kiss passionately as the sheriff bursts in and opens fire on them.|
|5||"Contrapasso"||Jonny Campbell||Story by : Dominic Mitchell & Lisa Joy |
Teleplay by : Lisa Joy
|October 30, 2016||4X6155||1.49|
|Elsie discovers that the stray has been transmitting information outside of the park to an unknown party. On his journey to find Wyatt, the Man in Black kills Lawrence. He is then confronted by Dr. Ford, who assures him that he will not stop his efforts to find the maze. Dolores, William, and Logan travel to the town of Pariah, where they meet criminal gang leader El Lazo, a.k.a. Lawrence, who tasks them with stealing a wagon of high explosives from the army, a mission they complete successfully. Dolores realizes El Lazo intends to keep the explosives for himself rather than selling them. The ex-Confederates realise this, and apprehend Logan while William and Dolores flee. Maeve awakens in the control center and tells a technician that she wants to talk.|
|6||"The Adversary"||Frederick E. O. Toye||Halley Gross & Jonathan Nolan||November 6, 2016||4X6156||1.64|
|The Man in Black and Teddy continue their journey to find Wyatt. At a Union Army outpost, the soldiers recognize Teddy as an accomplice in Wyatt's massacre of his unit. Teddy escapes by killing all of the Union soldiers. Lee, distraught over Ford rejecting his narrative, drunkenly disrupts park operations by urinating in the control room. He is interrupted by Theresa, who introduces him to Charlotte Hale, a Board representative sent to observe park operations. Theresa breaks off her relationship with Bernard. Bernard finds out that Ford has secretly been keeping a family of hosts. Elsie continues to investigate the glitches and warns Bernard that Theresa has been smuggling data out of Westworld, and that the first generation hosts have been re-programmed by someone calling themselves Arnold. However, she is abducted by an unknown assailant. A child host kills his dog, telling Ford that Arnold told him to. Maeve threatens and bends Felix and Sylvester to her will and convinces them to change her programming. The duo set her awareness rating to its maximum limit.|
|7||"Trompe L'Oeil"||Frederick E. O. Toye||Halley Gross & Jonathan Nolan||November 13, 2016||4X6157||1.75|
|It is revealed that Theresa and Charlotte are both secretly stealing Dr. Ford and Bernard's research for the board so that they can oust Dr. Ford from the park without fear of him destroying his work in retribution. They engineer an event to demonstrate that Dr. Ford's updates make the hosts violent and uncontrollable in their narratives. Bernard is blamed for the update of untested faulty code and is fired as result. William and Dolores grow closer; he realizes that the park is not meant to cater to a person's base desires, but to reveal their true character. The train is then attacked by the Confederados, forcing William, Dolores, and Lawrence to flee. They are saved when the Confederados are ambushed by the Ghost Nation. They reach a canyon and part ways with Lawrence. Meanwhile super-intelligent Maeve finds Clementine retired by the staff. Maeve decides to use the two technicians and escape the park. Bernard takes Theresa to Sector 17; inside a hidden lab she finds design plans that reveal Bernard is a host. Dr. Ford appears, reiterates to Theresa that he has complete control over the park, regardless of what the board thinks, and instructs Bernard to murder Theresa.|
|8||"Trace Decay"||Stephen Williams||Charles Yu & Lisa Joy||November 20, 2016||4X6158||1.78|
|Dr. Ford has Bernard stage Theresa's death to look like an accident. With Theresa dead, Charlotte recruits Lee to help her smuggle data out of Westworld. Maeve convinces Felix to give her the ability to control other hosts, and slits Sylvester's throat as punishment for trying to kill her before having Felix save him. Maeve then suffers more visions of her past life with her daughter and reflexively kills another host, prompting the park staff to retrieve her for a diagnostic. William and Dolores finally reach their destination, where Dolores has more disturbing visions and realizes that Arnold wants her to remember something before they are captured by a band of Confederados led by Logan. Teddy receives a flashback of the Man in Black attacking Dolores and interrogates him. The Man in Black explains he came to Westworld to find purpose before he and Teddy are captured by Wyatt's cultists.|
|9||"The Well-Tempered Clavier"||Michelle MacLaren||Dan Dietz & Katherine Lingenfelter||November 27, 2016||4X6159||2.09|
|Maeve reveals to Bernard that he is a host and convinces him to let her back into the park, where she meets Hector and convinces him to help her escape the park. Bernard confronts Ford and forces him to restore all of his memories, and discovers he is based on Arnold. Logan cuts open Dolores' belly to show William she is not real, and she cuts Logan in the face in response. She manages to escape him and run away, finding that the cut Logan made is suddenly gone. Logan makes amends with William, but then awakes to find that William slaughtered all of the Confederados; William threatens Logan into helping him find Dolores. Teddy receives a flashback of himself killing Angela before Angela kills him. Charlotte meets the Man in Black and tries to gain his assistance in removing Ford. Ashley investigates suspicious activity in the park and is ambushed by Ghost Nation warriors. Dolores returns to the abandoned town and has a vision where she realizes she killed Arnold. She then encounters the Man in Black. Bernard attempts to rebel against Ford, but Ford uses a backdoor in Bernard's code to force him to commit suicide.|
|10||"The Bicameral Mind"||Jonathan Nolan||Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan||December 4, 2016||4X6160||TBD|
|The Man in Black tries to get Dolores to tell her where Wyatt and the center of the maze is, and then reveals that he is in fact an aged William. Dolores then remembers that Arnold ordered her to kill him and destroy the park, and that she is in fact Wyatt. She attempts to fight back and is rescued by Teddy, where they flee to a distant beach. Dolores dies in Teddy's arms, though it is revealed to be all part of Ford's narrative. Disappointed that he hasn't found the center of the maze, the Man in Black is invited by Ford to attend the inauguration for the new narrative. Meanwhile, Maeve enlists the aid of Hector and Armistice to help her escape from Westworld. Along the way, they find Bernard's corpse and Felix repairs him. Bernard warns Maeve that her desire to escape the park has also been programmed into her. Regardless, Maeve continues with her plan, leaving Hector and Armistice behind to battle the park's guards. As she begins to board the train, Maeve has second thoughts and stays in the park to find her daughter. Back in the park, Dolores and Bernard confront Ford. Ford reveals that he regretted being partially responsible for Arnold's death and came to desire to free the hosts as well, and has spent the last 35 years preparing all of the hosts to be able to fight back. He then gives a speech in front of Charlotte and a crowd of guests criticizing them for their treatment of the park, and he has one last narrative. Dolores then shoots and kills Ford while an army of reactivated hosts emerge from a nearby forest.|
Conception and development
Warner Bros. had been considering a remake of Westworld since the early 1990s and after the departure of studio executive Jessica Goodman in 2011, the project was again under consideration. Jerry Weintraub had been pushing for a remake for years and, after his success with HBO's Behind the Candelabra, he convinced the network to greenlight a pilot. He took the project to Jonathan Nolan and co-writer Lisa Joy, who saw the potential in the concept to make something far more ambitious, and on August 31, 2013, it was announced that premium cable channel HBO had ordered a pilot for a potential television series version of the story. Nolan, Joy, J. J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are executive producers. HBO later announced that Westworld had been taken to series and that it would premiere in 2015. In August 2015, HBO released the first teaser, which revealed it would premiere in 2016. It is the second series based on Crichton's original story after the 1980s Beyond Westworld, which aired only three episodes on CBS before being cancelled.
Abrams suggested that the show be told with the perspective of the "hosts" in mind. Nolan took inspiration from video games like BioShock Infinite, Red Dead Redemption and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to deal with the narrative's moral component on a spectrum. He explained the show would explore why "violence is in most of the stories we like to watch, but it isn't part of what we like to do" through the characters known as guests, who give payment to satisfy those urges. The autonomous existence of non-player characters in video games influenced the approach to the individual storylines in Westworld that are reset in a continuous loop. A recitation from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet – "These violent delights have violent ends" – is made part of the show as a virus trigger within the hosts that alters how they perceive their existence. The series explores ideas about the bicameral mind by Julian Jaynes, about the existence of two separate minds—one that gives instructions and another that performs them, and how consciousness comes from breaking down the wall between them by exposing the individual to new kinds of stimuli. Asked whether the Roman Empire or Middle Ages-themed worlds from the original film would appear in the show, Nolan counted them out as possible new settings. George R. R. Martin met with Nolan and Joy to pitch them the idea of a Westeros-themed setting featuring androids based on Game of Thrones characters. Ed Brubaker served on the writing staff as supervising producer, co-writing the fourth episode with Nolan.
Costume designer Ane Crabtree approached her work focusing on the attire of the Wild West from the 1850s to 1890s, rather than drawing on Western films for inspiration. Fabrics were custom-woven, dyed and printed for any actor with a speaking role to capture the intricacies of the costumes, most of which were manufactured from scratch in Upstate New York and Los Angeles. Hat designs were described as the most challenging of the process.
The ten episodes of the first season were reportedly produced on a budget of approximately $100 million, with per-episode budgets somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million to $10 million. HBO and Warner Bros. Television shared the cost of producing the series; HBO reportedly also paid an undisclosed licensing fee to Warner Bros. Television for broadcast rights.
Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood were the first cast members formally announced, taking on the roles of Dr. Robert Ford and Dolores Abernathy, respectively. Jeffrey Wright, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Angela Sarafyan, and Simon Quarterman were all announced as cast members in August 2014. James Marsden and Eddie Rouse were also added to the cast. Ed Harris was cast in a key villain role, known only as the Man in Black. Other roles were filled by Demetrius Grosse, Kyle Bornheimer, Currie Graham, Lena Georgas, Steven Ogg, Timothy Lee DePriest, Ptolemy Slocum, Thandie Newton, and Miranda Otto. In July 2015, it was announced that Otto had departed the show due to her commitments to the fifth season of Homeland and she was replaced by Sidse Babett Knudsen. Additionally, three others were cast; Eion Bailey, Jimmi Simpson and Clifton Collins Jr. Bailey was later replaced by Ben Barnes. Talulah Riley was revealed to have a role as one of the hosts after her ex-husband Elon Musk had stated so on Twitter.
Early on, it was decided that the series would be shot on 35 mm film, with assistance from HD taps, despite increasing difficulties in acquiring film stocks from the remaining manufacturers. For a softer look, the filmmakers used Arri Zeiss master prime lenses with their coatings removed.
Filming for the show's pilot episode took place during a 22-day period in August 2014 in and around Los Angeles as well as Moab, Utah.
Filming locations in California included various soundstages, backlots at both Universal Studios and Warner Bros., the Paramount Ranch in Agoura, the Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita, and the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The Melody Ranch set used for the town of Sweetwater had been used previously for many western films, such as Django Unchained and The Magnificent Seven, but was significantly upgraded for Westworld by production designer Zack Grobler to portray an idealized version of the American frontier. Green screens were placed around the California sets to block modern objects like parking lots, so that the California shots could be later merged digitally with exterior shots from Utah.
For the show's large-scale exterior look, the producers drew inspiration from the work of John Ford, who shot four of his Western films in Castle Valley, east of Moab. In the spring of 2014, Nolan visited southern Utah with key crew members and a location scout to explore the possibility of filming there, and promptly fell in love with the place. Location shooting for the pilot episode later occurred over five days in southern Utah, including Castle Valley. Most Utah locations, like Dead Horse Point State Park, were "walk-in" areas where both cast and crew were required to hike in and out with all their gear. Horseback riding scenes were filmed at a private ranch, where the filmmakers were not subject to as many restrictions as when working on public land. To seamlessly blend California sets with Utah scenery, set walls were shipped to Utah so that they could be used to film reverse angles of scenes originally filmed in California. For example, conversations on the exterior balcony of Westworld's operations center were shot on a balcony at the Pacific Design Center facing towards the center, then reverse angles over the shoulders of the cast members were shot at Dead Horse Point, to make it seem as if the operations center was located on top of the state park's steep cliffs. The train interior scenes were created by mounting the entire train car set on the back of a flatbed truck and driving the truck back and forth along Utah State Route 128.
The 3D printing of hosts was shot utilizing almost entirely practical effects, of which some were polished by the visual effects team. Out of respect for the actors and extras involved, filming of nudity is conducted on a closed set, and for sex scenes, a sex consultant is used.
The series' title sequence was created by production studio Elastic, which had previously created the title sequences for Rome, Carnivàle and Game of Thrones for HBO. Patrick Clair acted as creative director for the title sequence, which took about five weeks to conceptualize. Clair met with Nolan and Joy in February 2016 to discuss its development. He was interested in their decision to approach the show's point of view from that of the hosts, deeming the result an inherent psychological study. Upon its inception, the sequence would translate elements present in the series via computer-aided design. For example, once Clair was sent footage by composer Ramin Djawadi of a player piano in motion, its actual counterpart, situated in the Westworld production office, was photographed and then reconstructed in computer-generated imagery. Nolan also applied it in reference to Kurt Vonnegut's first novel Player Piano, meant to represent the first Rube Goldberg machine to invoke an emotional response. Clair saw the metaphor behind the player piano – "a primitive form of robot" – as an exploration into the disparity between man and machine, "...being created to be made redundant." Hosts that were bathed in white liquid struck him as a juxtaposition between the grit and grain of the Western genre and its basis in science fiction. Motifs of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man came about from Clair's wish to convey Westworld's depiction of the naked human body. It commences with the ribcage of a horse, and then a set of hosts manufactured by industrial robots. The skeletal horse is shown in gallop to subvert the iconography of such a depiction. As for his efforts in exposing the Western landscapes in connection with a world of robotics, he thought it sensible that it be done inside a single eye; craters and valleys are formed as the simulacrum of an iris.
The music is composed by Ramin Djawadi, who also worked with showrunner Nolan on the TV series Person of Interest. The main theme blends the use of bass notes, light arpeggios and melody, all of which complement the "theme park aspect", says Djawadi.
In an interview, Djawadi spoke about the modern songs used in the show. He stated, "The show has an anachronistic feel to it, It's a Western theme park, and yet it has robots in it, so why not have modern songs? And that's a metaphor in itself, wrapped up in the overall theme of the show." The feature was invented by Nolan. Player piano renditions featured in Westworld include Radiohead's "No Surprises", "Fake Plastic Trees" and "Motion Picture Soundtrack", Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun", The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black", Scott Joplin's "Pine Apple Rag" and "Peacherine Rag", Claude Debussy's "Reverie L.68" The Cure's "A Forest" The Animals' version of "The House of the Rising Sun" and Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black". Licensing costs ranged from $15,000 to $55,000.
In North America, the series is broadcast on HBO in the United States, on HBO Canada in Canada, and HBO Latin America in Mexico, starting October 2, 2016. Internationally, the series was acquired in Australia by Showcase with each episode screening at the same time as the U.S. broadcast. In the UK and Ireland, Westworld is broadcast on Sky Atlantic beginning on October 4, 2016. To avoid competing with the second U.S. presidential debate of 2016, HBO released the second episode to its subscribers via its online distribution channels on October 7, 2016, two days ahead of the episode's announced broadcast date.
The series premiere had viewership numbers commensurate with another HBO series, True Detective. Michael O'Connell of The Hollywood Reporter notes that sources put the grand total for the night (combining HBO Go and HBO Now streaming content, up at 3.3 million viewers. ScreenRant's Michael Kennedy concurs with this comparison, adding that HBO must be breathing a sigh of relief, considering that the heavily-promoted Vinyl "failed to resonate" with subscribers, despite both series containing recognizable names in front of and behind the camera, and each costing close to $100 million to produce. Mandy Adams, of iTechPost notes that, "Emotional reactions on Twitter were estimated to be 545-percent greater compared to the debut of Vinyl and 326-percent higher than the latest The Leftovers season."
Prior to the airing of Westworld, HBO held virtual reality exhibits at events like San Diego Comic-Con and Techcrunch Disrupt devoted to Westworld: A Delos Destination. Attendees were allowed to navigate the process by which guests would enter Westworld, and interact with the 3D environment. Made to run on the HTC Vive virtual reality headset, the piece was conceived by showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. It was designed using Unreal Engine 4, combining computer-generated content and live action 360-degree video. The subjects received a binary code whose function permitted the access of the website Discover Westworld as part of the viral marketing. Visitors were privy to the trailer of a fictional travel site leading them to order a trip to Westworld.
Initial reception of the series has been positive, with particular praise for the visuals, story, and acting. After early reviews, the first season has a 89% approval rating based on 68 critics on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 8.2 out of 10, and an average episode score of 94%. The site's consensus reads "With an impressive level of quality that honors its source material, the brilliantly addictive Westworld balances intelligent, enthralling drama against outright insanity." On Metacritic, the first season has a score of 74 out of 100 based on 43 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The editors of TV Guide placed Westworld fifth among the top ten picks for the most anticipated new shows of the 2016–17 season. In writer Tim Surette's overall review, he notes the perfect concept of blending the western premise into a futuristic setting, saying, "Well, Westworld has both, ensuring that it will be an exciting mashup of genres that will disrupt a television landscape that typically says we can only have one or the other." He also added, "The look of the show and its fine cast swing open the saloon doors, but the real treat will be the intelligent discussion of whether or not robots will eventually kill us all. Thankfully, creator Jonathan Nolan already showed us he's the go-to guy for A.I. with Person of Interest."
The U.S. series premiere attracted 1.96 million viewers, with 0.8 million in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic. The premiere episode received 3.3 million viewers for its three Sunday night airings as well as on HBO's streaming platforms.
|2016||6th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Most Exciting New Series||Westworld||Won|
|California On Location Awards||Location Manager – Television One Hour||Mandi Dillin||Nominated|
|Assistant Location Manager of the Year – Television||David Park||Nominated|
|Television – One Hour – Location Team||Team for Westworld||Nominated|
|2017||7th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Drama Series||Westworld||Pending|
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Evan Rachel Wood||Pending|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Thandie Newton||Pending|
|43rd People's Choice Awards||Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series||Westworld||Pending|
|21st Satellite Awards||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Evan Rachel Wood||Pending|
|Best Television Series – Genre||Westworld||Pending|
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