I haven't reviewed before, but as this series is approaching a 'masterpiece' score of 10, the kind of show I'd give anything to wipe from my memory (ironically appropriate) to enjoy again, I thought I'd contribute for a bit of balance. I'm not sure why it's garnering such scores, whether it's meta thing or because Nolan+HBO+huge budget=10, but I found 'Westworld' sadly lacking and a disappointment. I am a fan of the original 'Westworld', the memory of the calmly unrelenting and menacing Yul Brynner reminds me now of an early T500.
The overriding problem I have is the writing. Over the course of the season the plot distils down to a bit of industrial espionage and a couple of robots being able to access old memories. That's it. There's a somewhat force fed narrative of 'achieved consciousness' but existential this ain't. It's so slow too. Where 'Mr Robot' toyed with us and drew things out with a certain arrogant knowing this is just lack of substance. One plot line even lacks credulity. A board member with free access to the park can only get the data from her hand-held device out by downloading it to a host's brain. The data is too large you see, and the best way to get a host's brain out is not by cutting its head off and throwing it in your luggage, it's by programming in an escape plan.
Then there's the character development, or lack of it. Are we supposed to identify and humanise any of the robot characters to feel some sort of empathy as they are sliced and shot to bits? The human characters were unlikable corporate schemers for the most part. In fact, I would have quite happily watched them all sliced and shot up repeatedly on loop. The robot character 'Mauve' seems important to the plot line, but I'm at a loss as to the motivations of the two lab technicians who help her. She coerces one because she guesses he may get up to mischief with offline robots and that's it, jeopardise everything rather than reprogram, wipe her or throw her in the incinerator while switched off. Laughable. 'Bladerunner' tries to ask the question as to what it is to be human. In two hours. Remember how interesting and desperate the renegade replicant's characters were? Remember Roy at the end? Exactly.
Then there's the tech issues. Nothing is explained why guns don't kill humans. They hit them with an impact like a rubber bullet but destroy everything around them including tree's/wood/walls and piecing metal. Can they get hit in the eye with one? In one scene, thousands of bullets spray out of a Gatling Gun, ricocheting off rocks and shredding tree's. Are all bullets and splinters trajectories calculated in real time? Do the bullets transform into soft rubber on contact with human DNA!!? The black hat character need permission to blow a jail lock early on, later there's TNT blowing up ad hoc all over the place. The hosts can't kill humans, but they can beat them unconscious and cause an aneurysm! Hosts are cut up, dismembered and even eaten and there's no sign of machinery one minute, but exposed for plot later.
The show does look good, but in a way also disappointing. It reminds me of a cheap Sci-fi B Movie or TV series in a way. The ones where an alien world conveniently mirror's earth with similar architecture down to the brick size. The aliens are humanoid too, but maybe sprayed green. This is a TV series set in the future but shot on a western set, with lifelike robots played by humans. Any hard Sci-fi is glossed over really. Same old story I suppose.
So, my advice is don't waste your time. 'Westworld' is high budget low quality, 'Westworld' the movie is Low budget high quality. If you want Sci-Fi western watch 'Firefly' If you want Sci-Fi that looks/sounds better and deals with the same issues, watch 'Bladerunner'. If you want recent good Sci-fi see 'The Expanse' Unless the first season was a giant stretched pilot, avoid. With the success and appetite for 'The Martian' 'Gravity' and 'Interstellar' and others, there is momentum gaining where the viewer isn't treated like an idiot and with such disdain in this genre.
Avoid. I'll probably change score to a 3 when people realise that this show hasn't changed their life and is neither seminal nor entertaining. I mean, once all the script buying, quoting, t-shirt buying, conventions, spin offs, stage shows, movies, re- enactments, cosplay, dissertations, books, art, music, homages, philosophical debate a score of 10 should spur.