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R.I.P. Westworld

HBO has canceled Westworld. This surprised me in that the fourth season seemed pretty “final” to me; I didn’t know the creators wanted to do any more.

I don’t want to kick folks when they’re down, but the postmortem from Entertainment Weekly seemed to sum up a lot of my thoughts.

I’ll say this: it was truly one of the most spectacular productions of all time. From the cast to the production design to the VFX, it was epic and immense and meticulous and gorgeous.

But it seemed to fetishize confusion that would inevitably alienate the audience.

I remember now that when it began, it was meant to be HBO’s replacement for Game of Thrones. But it just wasn’t—what’s that word that writers hate to hear from development execs?—“grounded.”

In a way, the fundamental flaw might go as far back as Crichton’s concept: we’ve created lifelike androids, completely indistinguishably from human beings...and we use them for a theme park?

No way! We’d use them for slave labor all over the world. It would be Blade Runner. Who cares about a theme park?

The concept is just so ridiculous that it could work in a feature, where it’s two-hours-and-out. But in a series, especially as you leave the park and explore the world posited by the technology...? It just makes no sense.

The show was really fantasy, not sci-fi. But it didn’t have nearly enough of a personal touch to be fantasy—it was so abstract.

With my luck, I’ll try to get a job from the producers one day and an intern will find this blog post and blow the whistle and they’ll cancel the meeting.

Intern, don’t do it! I’ll take you out to lunch!

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