We put this question to two G-You contributors to find out if we have found our next obsession.
*WARNING* May contain minor spoilers
HBOs new sci-fi drama series has unleashed an epic first season, featuring an all-star cast including silence of the lambs actor Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Thandi Newton and Ben Barnes. This has been championed by the media to match the success of Game of thrones which hosts actors such as Charles dance, Lena heady, Sean bean and Jonathan Pryce. Written by the author of Jurassic park, Micheal Crichton, you really can see the similarities from the word go; Its futuristic theme park style world with advanced technology is a sure winner when it comes to being unique. In WestWorld the creations are life like humanoid robots that almost reminds me of the British channel four sci-fi drama Humans, also where the lines between human and machine are often blurred.
It raises questions along the way about how far can we go with technology before it becomes immoral. There is a clear definition of right and wrong in WestWorld whereas in Game of Thrones the lines become a little more blurred, with even the ‘good’ guys murdering people in horrific ways. It contains the basics from Game of Thrones which fans love – genre, violence and intricately woven and ever evolving relationships between characters, however it doesn’t contain the same level of blood shed that game of thrones includes. In fact, most of the deaths seem somewhat meaningless due to the fact they are robots, with characters you grow to care for being able to be fixed and refurbished with no memory of their previous death, juxtaposing the heartbreak that often occurs when watching Game of Thrones characters die off.
I noticed that Westworld has more shock reveals about past events and facts, whereas GoT is always moving forward, creating endless possibility whereas it almost feels as though we ourselves are stuck in the android’s repetitive loop with some parts of the WWseries. Being in such a controlled and monitored world shows its own difference to Martins ever growing and retracting population of characters and lands. However, it sometimes seems Westworld has complication for complications sake rather than furthering the story. For example, the maze idea at the core of the story ends up being a reference to be nothing more than a child toy. This conveys that the puzzles within Westworld aren’t supposed to be solved at all. With the Explosive season finale, Westworlds leaves open ends for a coming season to provide answers too.
Will Westworld reach the heights that global phenomenon Game of Thrones has in 6 years within the same time frame? Will it have the same dent in popular culture? Although, it seems unlikely that anything could reach this magnitude, I would like to see Westworld try.
Is Westworld the new Game of Thrones? In short, no, no it isn’t. However it does use the similar HBO equation that makes for riveting television- violence, suspense and an endless abundance of cliff-hangers. Does it work? Absolutely.
Westworld in my opinion is philosophical at its heart. It intertwines the intricacies of the human mind with numerous concepts of artificial consciousness. The show raises one of the biggest questions of the sci-fi genre- can machines be truly consciousness? The Robots creator Dr. Robert Ford (played by Antony Hopkins) often seems reminiscent of a god like figure, creating narratives in which he can control his characters like a master puppeteer. Yet his creations begin to show signs of conscious thought. This is the paradoxical aspect of Westworld; are the characters which you begin to feel affection towards acting of their own accord, or are they trapped in an endless loop which has been prewritten by their programmers? Moreover, the symbolism which is interwoven throughout the show is one of its biggest triumphs. Game of Thrones remains much loved, but Westworld deals with numerous moral and philosophical problems that typify the sci-fi genre.
The two TV shows are fundamentally different at their core. What is similar is that they have both been created by HBO, they are exceptionally well made visually and the acting is impeccable. However to me, it’s like asking whether I want chocolate or crisps. I love them both, but it depends which I’m in the mood for. Game of Thrones will remain to be a firm fan favourite which has built up a long standing repertoire and audience. Westworld has given sci-fi and non sci-fi fans alike something new to delve into whilst we wait season 7 of Game of Thrones. One thing is for sure, it’s definitely worth a watch.
– Johanna Crighton and Hannah Todd