Once again, I put the topic of today's entry up for a vote. This time, all the votes came in as comments to the blog entry instead of the blog's Facebook page. Infidel 753 requested "Westworld" while Paul Wartenberg cast a write-in for "Doctor Who." That left me to break the tie, which I did in favor of "Westworld." Sorry, Paul. Maybe next time.
Infidel made the follow argument on behalf of his choice:
Can I vote for Westworld? I never much cared for "post-apocalyptic" anything, and by now it's become ubiquitous to the point of cliché. Artificial intelligence is the kind of thing science fiction should be addressing, since it's likely to lie in our actual future.He then repeated his point in today's link roundup.
A new TV show looks at ethical questions involving artificial intelligence that the real world may soon have to face (found via Crazy Eddie).Thanks for the linkback and hat/tip, Infidel!* You also prompted me to write the "more thorough entry" I promised in Evan Rachel Woods on acting in Westworld.
Enough preliminaries -- time to talk about the show itself. I begin with this bit of promotion barely disguised as a news report, Wochit Entertainment's What Is HBO's Westworld About?
Westworld, the new sci-fi drama series from HBO, promises to explore the current human fascination and dependency on technology, while exposing what our darkest desires are without having any consequence. Of course the series is getting the HBO treatment, meaning more sex, more violence, and more shockers than the original film.The similarities between Jurassic Park and, by extension, Jurassic World, and "Westworld" hit me very early in my watching. Both explore the concept of using advanced technologies, genetic engineering in the case of the "Jurassic Park" movies and artificial intelligence plus robotics in the case of "Westworld," to create the attractions in a theme park. Of course, both works originally come from the same author, Michael Crichton, and "Westworld" came first, so the inspiration probably flowed from the cowboy robots to the genetically engineered dinosaurs. It seems that the influence has now flowed from back to its source, with "Jurassic Park" now coloring HBO's "Westworld." Watch Westworld is Just Jurassic Park from College Humor to see even more commonalities between the two franchises.
Imagine a theme park populated with things from the past that eight year olds love...Just because it's a joke doesn't mean it's not all true. Just the same, I doubt the parallels involving the park's creators were there in the original "Westworld" movie. Instead, I suspect they were added by executive producer J.J. Abrams and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and wife Lisa Joy, especially J.J. Abrams. Not only did he suggest that the remake be a TV series from the androids' point of view, his "mystery box" philosophy of storytelling runs through the show. I wouldn't put it past him to bring in some of the tropes from "Jurassic Park" to flesh out the current miniseries.
I have more to write about "Westworld," but I'll save it for another installment. Stay tuned.
*Infidel is more of an optimist about the future than I am and appears to be less enamored with the zombie apocalypse, which I acknowledge is a scenario that won't actually happen. That written, it does work as a metaphor for what makes Americans anxious about the present and future. Just the same, Infidel did take advantage of an opportunity to steer my writing to a subject he found interesting, which I'm inviting my readers to do every week; more of them should do that when I present the opening.