HBO’s “Westworld” gains early sci-fi cred

HBO’s latest original production, “Westworld,” has entered the mass pool of active television shows. However, after only three episodes — four by the time this article is published — it has already made a splash bigger than most shows we’ve seen so far.

But what is it about? Well, if the name sounds familiar, it’s because Michael Crichton’s 1973 film with the same title inspired the new series. Although it’s still early in the show, it generally recreates a similar sci-fi, Western and thriller hybrid from the original production. I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t say how closely the show follows the same plot, but the series looks promising on its own. It features artificial intelligence and reality, almost. Think of the matrix in “The Matrix” as similar to Westworld in “Westworld.”

Part of the conversation surrounding the release of “Westworld,” compares it to HBO’s other original show and mega hit, “Game of Thrones,” because both premiered in genres that didn’t promise an easy route to success. If you look at when HBO aired the first episode of “Game of Thrones,” there wasn’t much enthusiasm, or a huge following, for the medieval-fiction story. And yet, after six seasons of epic moments and infamous deaths, “Game of Thrones” has undoubtedly beaten the odds, maintaining yearly critical award nominations and worldwide popularity.

But “Game of Thrones” is aging out and “Westworld” comes at a time that could be beneficial to people worried about falling into a “show-hole,” as Amazon Fire TV coined. As a viewer, I definitely have more questions than answers. Granted, there’s only been three episodes, the potential directions the show could take makes me excited for the next episode (something not every show does). Hopefully this isn’t a sign that it will be cancelled.

I think people are comparing “Westworld” to “Game of Thrones” because of how both introduce multiple stories involving multiple characters that have complicated relationships with each other, but are nevertheless connected by an overarching plot. While “Game of Thrones” spans across continents and cultures, there is always the question of who will end up on the Iron Throne. In “Westworld,” everything is separated into two worlds, namely, Westworld and the actual world, human and nonhuman life, real and fake.

HBO isn’t venturing into the risky world of science fiction with “Westworld” unequipped. Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden are just a few of the actors under the show’s belt. And, as if these names weren’t enough, the Nolan brothers and J. J. Abrams are helping produce the series. The list of big names goes on, simply go to IMDb to find out more about the stellar cast and crew.