Westworld has entered a new, better science fiction frontier

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The premiere took place six years ago. Western world epitomizes prestige science fiction at its peak. Expensive HBO Series old school Michael Crichton pedigree, it had a stellar cast and a dizzying premise: what if all sentient robots or “hosts” in a western theme park decide they’ve had enough of being kicked and dragged? Subsequent seasons revealed the influence of artificial intelligence and went far beyond the appeal of Westworld, the global mush of money, corruption, and mind falsification that was nightmarish fuel for viewers who watched at home by scrolling through Twitter. It was a hit, albeit a modest one.

But like many popular shows, when they wrap up their second season, it’s gone a bit off the rails. By season 3 Western world became tediousshow, maybe too much a lot of good ideas and little space for their implementation. When host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) escaped from Westworld and attempted to destroy and/or save the humanity that had enslaved her, she inspired a revolution that led to the destruction of the reality-manipulating AI known as Rehoboam. It turned out that the Man in Black is William, the son-in-law of the founder of Delos, who built the Wild West World. Everyone had a role to play, many people (and androids) died, and by the end tracking down all or any of them became a chore.

In the first two episodes of season 4, which launched on June 26, everything has changed – and for the better. Caleb (Aaron Paul), once a machine resistance soldier, now has a family and a steady job, and while he also has post-traumatic stress, he’s not as inclined towards the theatrical as he used to be. He is called back to join Maeve (Thandie Newton) as both of them are again being hunted by ghostly hosts, but their search now feels more like a brooding character drama than an act 3 scene in Terminator movie. maybe Western world going to burn slowly during the first half of the current season. Regardless, it seems that creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan have realized that less is more in today’s science fiction.

The best shows and movies are often based on character dramas; even Western world was in the first season. But as we enter a new golden era of television, the show’s more focused direction signals a shift that, thankfully, has been happening for a long time. Instead of sci-fi with interesting characters, the best shows now are thrillers or political dramas with sci-fi backgrounds. it For all mankind played out like Madmen in space. Or After Yanga family drama about the permanence of memory wrapped in history about a dead droid.

Or perhaps in his best current incarnation, Severance. The breakout hit Apple TV+ is primarily a workplace thriller about coping with loss, but it’s built on genre premises like “Should We Split Our Brains?” and “What if you lived in a corporate city where the company was very shady and possibly iconic?” Futuristic science fiction can often feel cold, which works when it creates a dystopian atmosphere, but can also be some kind of bummer. which shows how Severance as well as Western world what we are doing is hiding philosophical dilemmas under this sleek exterior. The internal peacebuilding is just as strong as the external one. It’s an ethos that has been at the center of science fiction for decades, but one that can get lost in ratings and hype.

Per Western world, the move paid off. In the weeks since the premiere of the new season of the show, Vanity Fair wrote that the last installments were “modernized model“. The Daily Beast said it was “worth watching again“. This also seems to be correct. Genre franchises often go astray and then get back on track. Western worldThe final season is a much-needed reboot.

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