Is Westworld all it could be?

I’m new here. I have been listening to the podcasts of different shows for a long time. I recently heard good things about Westworld, so I decided to check it out. I binged both seasons over the past three weeks. Season one hooked me. Season two lost me, or at least cooled me off to the show. There are so many great things this show could have become, as evidenced by S02/E08 (Kiksuya). Instead, season two for the most part resulted in a conflation of pretentious and often confounding concepts that often dismissed the central premise the series was building, which is that sentient beings suffer real consequences for their actions. Through more thoughtful character development and less Die Hard style gun battles, Westworld could have truly become the think piece it set out to be. Instead, at the end of season two I feel a disappointment because the series fell so short of achieving its potential. Was season two a transitional season that provided the groundwork for the show’s true purpose, or just a demonstration of uninspired writing that is hoping to get over on non-linear pseudo-intellectualism to mask its shortcomings? In short, is Westworld all it could be?


Comments

  • I feel like season 3 will have huge stakes.  Season 2 is largely seen as a big step backwards in general but I think with where season 3 is heading that it could make a gigantic turn in the right direction.  But it will all depend on how they approach the season and how it plays out.  I'm still completely invested but Westworld definitely hit a setback in season 2 like most shows do but hopefully it will step it back up with season 3.
    JoshuaHeterCapeGabe
  • The short version: no, it isn't.

    The longer version: Fundamentally, Westworld can't ever just get down to it and tell a proper, compelling story, because it's far too concerned with being clever. It is desperate for you to think it's clever, and as a result it paradoxically ends up being far less clever than it could be. It gets in its own way with pointless timeline fuckery and obfuscation, and with stuff like, say, Anthony Hopkins constantly spouting meaningless pseudo-intellectual soundbites about ~the true nature of man~, with the fact that Anthony Hopkins is the one delivering them your only distraction from the fact that there's no actual substance there.

    I don't know. Both seasons of this show have entertained me, but that doesn't necessarily mean they were all that good, and season 2 was definitely a step down from season 1. There have been a few standout episodes this time around ("Kiksuya" being the obvious example) that demonstrate what the show could be if its priorities were in a different place, but I don't think Nolan and Joy realize that. Some stories under some creators work well if they're told in a confusing and non-linear manner, but this isn't one of those situations, and if they keep trying to force a square peg into a round hole, it's just going to lead to more disappointing seasons in the future.
    tom_g
  • It's just another Bad Robot.
    rkcrawf
  • I rage-quit in season 1, and people are saying that season 2 was worse, so I probably avoided a heart attack.

    I find it really hard to articulate why I hated this show. One thing I will say is, if the only reason the identity of a character in a story is a mystery is because the writers are omitting the scenes where people say his name, I think there's a serious problem with the story.
    DeeDoctor_Nick
  • MmmBopMmmBop United Kingdom
    Apart from 2 episodes in Season 2 the rest was confusing and lost me.
  • makemasa said:
    It's just another Bad Robot.
    Why do all these JJ shows suffer from the same thing? Alias > Lost > Westworld. Even through Star Wars in there. Come out the gate hot, find out shit wasn't well thought out for the long term, start losing the good will. 
  • rkcrawf said:
    makemasa said:
    It's just another Bad Robot.
    Why do all these JJ shows suffer from the same thing? Alias > Lost > Westworld. Even through Star Wars in there. Come out the gate hot, find out shit wasn't well thought out for the long term, start losing the good will. 
    Me thinks you've answered your own questions
  • Person of Interest didn't go through it. I wonder if CBS just didn't let them go through all the timeline shenanigans. Now there's a show that was an incredible exploration of AI, even though season 1 has a few episodes that were boring and slow character build-ups before the action really got started...
  • Apparently, the members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences see something that I (and many of you) didn't. Westworld received a nomination for outstanding drama series of 2018. Seriously? S2 of Westworld doesn't belong on the same list with The Crown, The Americans, and Game of Thrones, and yet, there it is. I wonder what cause celebre box this season checked in order to get the nomination?
  • I think listening to Watching Westworld has spoiled the show for the Bald Move crowd.  The show has it’s problems, but it’s not as bad as Jim and ARon say.  
    In fact, the show is great at times.  Every show has it’s issues, especially when it’s under the microscope.  GoT has many, many issues as well (catch a zombie plan, anyone?) Overall, I enjoyed Westworld. The show is beautiful to look at, the music is great, and the acting is way above average (see Emmy nominations again).  I guess the annoying parts just don’t annoy me as much as it does others.
  • bizmarkiefaderbizmarkiefader San Francisco
    @Dnowelsh Watching Westworld probably has the most positive take on the show out of anywhere I usually see coverage of it. It's under a microscope because it practically demands you put it under a microscope to understand the story. Every show has it's issues but this one's are particularly frustrating because it feels like the show is constantly getting in its own way. 
    majjam0770
  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    Meh, it's not great.  For instance, I think Altered Carbon is a better show touching some similar topics, and I'm not sure they're meant to be competing. Westworld hasn't really built up the goodwill that GoT has with its stellar early seasons.  I think Season 2 of Mr. Robot
     was better and more entertaining than Season 2 of Westworld and that gets crapped on regularly, never mind getting nominated for an Emmy.
    Dnowelsh said:
    I think listening to Watching Westworld has spoiled the show for the Bald Move crowd.  The show has it’s problems, but it’s not as bad as Jim and ARon say.  
    In fact, the show is great at times.  Every show has it’s issues, especially when it’s under the microscope.  GoT has many, many issues as well (catch a zombie plan, anyone?) Overall, I enjoyed Westworld. The show is beautiful to look at, the music is great, and the acting is way above average (see Emmy nominations again).  I guess the annoying parts just don’t annoy me as much as it does others.

  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    I haven't heard many people complain about the music or how it is shot. Both of those are amazing. It is the other stuff. There is no glue that holds the show together and it ends up collapsing due to its own weight. When the show stops and does more personal stories it can soar. They just don't do that nearly enough. 
  • Dnowelsh said:
    I think listening to Watching Westworld has spoiled the show for the Bald Move crowd.  The show has it’s problems, but it’s not as bad as Jim and ARon say.  
    In fact, the show is great at times.  Every show has it’s issues, especially when it’s under the microscope.  GoT has many, many issues as well (catch a zombie plan, anyone?) Overall, I enjoyed Westworld. The show is beautiful to look at, the music is great, and the acting is way above average (see Emmy nominations again).  I guess the annoying parts just don’t annoy me as much as it does others.
    I second this.  There were some definite mis-steps with the 2nd season BUT overall the show is extremely well crafted and extremely well acted.  I think this show would benefit from a Netflix style binge.  When I watched it one episode a week I could hardly follow it as I only watch the episode once. When I let a couple episodes pile up and watch them consecutively it was much easier to follow as everything that just happened was fresh in your mind.
    KingKobra
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