For those who like to think and watch television, you may know what show I am talking about. If you are one of those people who watch Trailer Park Boys, you might not know. The reason why I feel like this should be discussed is due to the numerous shows that are very popular today. I am sure "Westworld" would go unnoticed by most people even though it is currently rivaling HBO's biggest show "Game of Thrones" regarding both budget and audience. It seems almost strange why such a show can go unnoticed despite its critical popularity. For those who are not familiar with the show, here is a quick, "simplified" rundown of the plot.
"Westworld" follows a multitude of characters. We are placed in what seems like a futuristic world or an alternate reality. There is a facility situated on the Grand Canyon that specializes in creating a world where humans (hosts) can visit without the consequences of death. It is seen as something only the wealthy can participate in. The robots who live in this world look and act like normal people, but little do they know they are being controlled and programmed what to do. They can die, but don't exactly know what life and death is. The hosts can do whatever they want. The robots are given specific algorithms that dictate their daily lives, giving them the false pretense of free will. The audience is constantly viewing both this fictitious world called WestWorld and the facility where the robots are created and programmed. When robots become encrypted or faulty, they are shut down, and humans bring them back to the facility for reprogramming. This is just the backdrop with which events occur. The actual story follows specific robots who go on quests for the meaning of their lives when they start to realize that maybe their lives are not the results of free will, but from the strings of their masters. Glitches within the coding are exposed and a huge conspiracy within the corporation behind WestWorld is revealed. There are some heavy philosophical ideas that are tackled in this show. Some include the meaning and purpose of having a conscious, the evil nature of human beings, what memory really is, and how artificial intelligence may surpass that of human intelligence.
Free will is the show's biggest subject. An example of this is when one of the characters believes what she is doing is her thinking and her own free will. But when she is shown her own coding of her brain, she sees real time programming of what she is saying in the moment. She believes what she is saying and doing is not a code controlling her thoughts, but in the end it was. This begs the question of whether we live the lives we choose or the lives that are given. The show does not delve into any religious ideas, but the assumption is that there is no need for a god, just someone to control how people think. That also means putting the very idea of God into someone's mind.
The show goes to great lengths to give us a worthwhile show of action, suspense, thrills, science fiction, and speculative fiction. There aren't a lot of shows like it, and I am sure it is the first of its kind. So many resources were put into making the first season that fans will have to wait almost two years for season two. The cast is phenomenal, with Anthony Hopkins leading the cast. The rest of the actors don't stray far behind, but Hopkins definitely steals the show. The show is worth a shot for anyone, just be prepared to re-watch episodes for the sole reason of simply not understanding what's going on.