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Thread: Westworld (Season 1)

  1. #1
    Replacing Luck Since 1984
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    Westworld (Season 1)

    Oh shit.


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    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Hell to the yes. Only concern is I wish it was a movie instead of show, but we'll see.

  3. #3
    Since 1929 Morris Schæffer's Avatar
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    Super thrilled!!!!
    MOVIES

    • Suspiria (Argento, 1977) ♦♦♦ -- rewatch
    • The Predator (Black, 2018) ♦♦
    • A Star is Born (Cooper, 2018) ♦♦♦½
    • Sleepless in Seattle (Ephron, 1993) ♦♦
    • Lukas (Leclercq, 2018) ♦♦♦
    • The Meg (Turteltaub, 2018) ♦♦½
    • Ant-Man and the Wasp (Reed, 2018) ♦♦½
    • Skyscraper (Thurber, 2018) ♦♦½
    • Blow Out (De Palma, 1981) ♦♦♦
    • Tomb Raider (Uthaug, 2018) ♦½
    • Mission Impossible - Fallout (McQuarrie, 2018) ♦♦♦♦
    • Sicario: Day of the Soldado (Sollima, 2018) ♦♦½

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    • The Vietnam War (2017) ♦♦♦♦ // Homeland (S7) ♦♦♦♦ // The Bridge (SE/DK) (S4) ♦♦♦♦
    • The Americans (S6) ♦♦♦♦ // The Walking Dead (S8) ♦♦♦ // Designated Survivor (S2) ♦♦

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  4. #4
    In the belly of a whale Henry Gale's Avatar
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    These trailers have been so stunning that I'm worried that at this point it can only disappoint.

    Which is just my way of trying to lower my extremely high anticipation and expectations to be excited all over again when it's (hopefully) excellent.
    BlacKkKlansman (Lee, 2018) – **** / 9.1
    Murder On The Orient Express (Branagh, 2017) – ***½ / 8.3
    Mission: Impossible – Fallout (McQuarrie, 2018) – ***½ / 8.8
    Blindspotting (Estrada, 2018) – ***½ / 8.4
    Leave No Trace (Granik, 2018) – ***½ / 8.6
    Eighth Grade (Burnham, 2018) – ***½ / 8.5
    Sorry To Bother You (Riley, 2018) – **** / 9.2
    Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Bayona, 2018) – **½ / 5.9
    2001: A Space Odyssey [in 70mm] (Kubrick, 1968) – **** / 10

  5. #5
    I've only seen a few quick glimpses of this show via commercials — trying to avoid spoilers — so I don't know much about it besides the writers, the cast, and some superficial awareness of the source material. I haven't been a fan of what I've seen of Jonathan Nolan's work, but perhaps he'll be surprise me now that he's not collaborating with his brother. Michelle McLaren will be directing an episode, apparently. That's good news.

    This is an interesting discussion from a recent interview:

    I think this show connects so well to our moral choices in a realm where they wouldn't have any real-world consequences. Do you think our modern or current version of Westworld would be how we treat other people online or in video game?

    Nolan: That's a great observation.

    Joy:
    It really is. No one's actually pointed that out before, but I think it's really true. We thought about it mostly with gaming, but ... the way in which technology works now is it allows a barrier between people [discussing a subject] and the subject of what's being discussed. And I think that within that you can start to feel an otherness with the person that you're dealing with, and that leads to all sorts of bad behavior.

    Nolan:
    There's this long observed phenomenon that killing in war time is easier the more distant you are from your target. And the more automated we can make killing people, the easier it is for people to do it, right? I mean, that's long been a function of warfare; it's a well-understood phenomenon within that world. We've taken that logic and applied it to our social interactions online. It's no wonder why Twitter becomes a fucking heaping mass of wretchedness. There's a real question Twitter's actively struggling with right now in terms of: How do we prevent this from sliding into being a cesspool in which people behave in ways that they would never behave in person?

    It is kind of a fascinating, dehumanizing world that we're stepping ever more rapidly into. But I think all of us are kind of saying, "Wait a fucking second," you know? How do we retain some level of civilization and humanity? How do we hold onto some of that in a world that is becoming ever more confusing when it comes to our interactions with people? We've been able to take on board all of these innovations and adapt very rapidly to them. But you still fundamentally have some human attributes that don't work very well in the world that we've created, you know? Which is part of the reason why new technologies and social media should be wonderful things and are often not, because we're all broken.
    Last edited by Gittes; 10-03-2016 at 03:15 AM.

  6. #6
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Can't wait.

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  7. #7
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Didn't expect this to be the same continuity as the movie! Unless those are just Easter eggs.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  8. #8
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Loved the first episode. Usually I don't like shows right off the bat. Last time that happened was... Sopranos?

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  9. #9
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    I haven't seen the movie, should I?

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    A bunch of crap until Infinity War

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  10. #10
    - - - - - Irish's Avatar
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    I liked this because it touched on ideas I find interesting, but ...

    - The original movie labored to explain its premise, to the point of repetitiveness. The show doesn't explain much. I wonder how that played to someone who hasn't seen the movie and didn't watch every promo HBO released. Did it make sense?

    - I liked Ed Harris' character because he represents something often forgotten in set-ups like this: The PK or griefer, the guest who comes to the park and says, "fuck it, ima kill everybody." I mean, the movie never went near this idea. It played to the fantasy that everything was allowable, while assuming every player will roleplay their part correctly. Like, no guest at Westworld creeps around in a ninja costume and sets fire to all the buildings for the hell of it. Nobody decides to pay the money and become a saloon whore for a week, taking on all comers, robot or human.

    - I think this premise, at least so far, makes the same fundamental mistake that bad interpretations of Blade Runner do--robot versus robot isn't dramatically interesting. And the robots of Westworld are more limited. They don't even have a complete model of their world. They're just past being Abe Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents or the Country Bear Jamboree. They're far enough from human to be creepy by not close enough to be relatable.

    - Every scene was meta, meta, meta. The show screams its premise with every shot. And each time they cut away to the control rooms and labs, it undercut any stakes in the park. They went for an hour and what was the story here? I hope the rest of the episodes aren't so formless.

    - The movie very briefly addressed the idea that the guests can't tell the difference between the robots and other guests. I'm waiting for the show to do something similar. What happens when a guess assaults or kills another guest, because they thought they were fighting a robot?

    - My fear is that this'll be another show that jerks around the audience by constantly teasing some end result that can never actually happen. In this case, a robot uprising.

  11. #11
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    I haven't seen the movie, should I?
    I don't think it's required. But it's a good movie, so worth watching in that respect.

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  12. #12
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I liked this because it touched on ideas I find interesting, but ...

    - The original movie labored to explain its premise, to the point of repetitiveness. The show doesn't explain much. I wonder how that played to someone who hasn't seen the movie and didn't watch every promo HBO released. Did it make sense?

    It's pretty damn hard to explain to someone who never heard of the movie. Western Sci-Fi Amusement Park as a genre is repelling. Their loss.

    - I liked Ed Harris' character because he represents something often forgotten in set-ups like this: The PK or griefer, the guest who comes to the park and says, "fuck it, ima kill everybody." I mean, the movie never went near this idea. It played to the fantasy that everything was allowable, while assuming every player will roleplay their part correctly. Like, no guest at Westworld creeps around in a ninja costume and sets fire to all the buildings for the hell of it. Nobody decides to pay the money and become a saloon whore for a week, taking on all comers, robot or human.

    Definitely like it too. Has he actually been in the park for 30 years? Comes and goes frequently? I have lots of questions on his character, and still think that he might be an escaped android all said and done.

    - I think this premise, at least so far, makes the same fundamental mistake that bad interpretations of Blade Runner do--robot versus robot isn't dramatically interesting. And the robots of Westworld are more limited. They don't even have a complete model of their world. They're just past being Abe Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents or the Country Bear Jamboree. They're far enough from human to be creepy by not close enough to be relatable.

    It feels like it has more in common with Ex Machina to me. I thought Evan Rachel Wood and the father did a tremendous job at being interesting enough to get some emotion from me, only to go right back to robot. The father scene with Anthony Hopkins was probably the best scene of the entire show to me. Pretty chilling.

    - Every scene was meta, meta, meta. The show screams its premise with every shot. And each time they cut away to the control rooms and labs, it undercut any stakes in the park. They went for an hour and what was the story here? I hope the rest of the episodes aren't so formless.

    It's Jonathan Nolan. Of course! This is a pilot episode, and if it's like the other good TV shows, it might not really hit a stride to move forward until episode three or four, I figure.

    - The movie very briefly addressed the idea that the guests can't tell the difference between the robots and other guests. I'm waiting for the show to do something similar. What happens when a guess assaults or kills another guest, because they thought they were fighting a robot?

    Shoot, there's lots of questions on the "visit" process that I have myself. What can you do/cannot do? Like you said, how do you know who is fake or not? Shouldn't there be more than ten guests around at the time?

    - My fear is that this'll be another show that jerks around the audience by constantly teasing some end result that can never actually happen. In this case, a robot uprising.

    Of course it'll do the teases. Abrams is involved. Robot Uprising will be discussed all season I'm sure.
    By the way, my biggest question is why keep the defective androids all in one terrifying room? That was freaky.

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  13. #13
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Talk about meta: apparently the writers refer to the park management characters as "the showrunner level."
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  14. #14
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    There's definitely more than ten guests. The writer dude said they couldn't pull hosts out at once because there were something like "1400" active scenarios in play. My favorite throwaway detail is when the family with the kid said they're crossing into the "adult" side of Westworld. I love the idea that there are Peckinpah sections and Bonanza sections of the park.

    Personally, I'm really interested to see how the show would explore racism.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  15. #15
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    I think Irish's breakdown is pretty spot-on. I also wondered how the players avoid shooting each other, although I imagine they'll cover that eventually.

    The only thing I would add is that this show sorely needs a sense of humor. Everything was so deadly serious and the show felt stilted because of it. I'd like to see the actors relax into the characters a little bit more, as opposed to everything being slavishly in service of communicating the premise. It feels that they are in danger of falling into the trap of exploring artificial life and forgetting what actual humanity looks like.

    Still, I'll be watching more.
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  16. #16
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I wonder how that played to someone who hasn't seen the movie and didn't watch every promo HBO released. Did it make sense?
    Well, that's me — I haven't seen the movie, saw only snippets of commercials, and read only one interview answer. It was pretty clear. I was able to predict that James Marsden was a robot before the reveal, but I guess that was fairly obvious. I didn't realize this was basically an amusement park for the id, though. I had heard it was "Jurassic Park but with robots," so I thought it was about witnessing the spectacle of advanced AI. That quote I shared earlier talks about how technology facilitates, or provides an avenue for, odious behaviour but I didn't think that this was actually going to be the express purpose of the place.

    Technically, I guess the idea is that it allows people to play a live-action RPG, but everyone seems to be aware that many attendees aren't going there to simply fulfill the anodyne parts of the scripted experiences. Also, opportunities for illicit behaviour are deliberately woven into the narratives being provided by management. So, it seems like the people running the park don't really care about guests deviating from the script. One can either be a "griefer," as you put it, or find a criminal outlet within the actual stories. Either way, it's that outlet that they're knowingly selling — at least to one (sizeable?) section of their clientele, anyway.

    My fear is that this'll be another show that jerks around the audience by constantly teasing some end result that can never actually happen. In this case, a robot uprising.
    I got the opposite sense, but it's a distinct possibility that I'll be wrong. I actually expect the show to deliver on this eventually. It will probably take a few seasons, but I think we're going to see the scales tipped significantly and the show will undergo some kind of paradigm shift and begin to feel like something else. Hopkins' line about humanity being finished, and Wood swatting the fly, lays down a very clear foundation. That struck me as legitimate foreshadowing, rather than a deceptive promise that will have to be deferred. At the very least, I expect the management and the park itself to be totally undone at some point, and, after that, the paradigm shift will involve the robots seamlessly integrating themselves into society. If that's how things play out, I expect the drama will focus on competing ideologies between the robots who want to blend in and those whose thirst for vengeance isn't quenched. On the surface, this sounds kind of cliche, but I'm assuming there will be lots of interesting wrinkles and complexities thrown in.

    They don't even have a complete model of their world. They're just past being Abe Lincoln in the Hall of Presidents or the Country Bear Jamboree. They're far enough from human to be creepy by not close enough to be relatable.
    I think it's clear that this will change pretty dramatically as the show unfolds. The reverie update is one notch in that direction, and that will provide a lot of opportunities for making the robots seem more sophisticated and thoughtful. That first sign of rebellion at the very end is a miniature example of the way the development will play out — incremental steps toward autonomy and agency, etc.
    Last edited by Gittes; 10-03-2016 at 07:10 PM.

  17. #17
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    I also wondered how the players avoid shooting each other, although I imagine they'll cover that eventually.
    In the movie the guests aren't given real six-shooters. They're high-tech weapons with temperature detectors that make them only work on inanimate objects. But this was always an incredibly flimsy explanation that I don't think Crichton ever thought completely through. He never explained how guests are supposed to not get hurt when they get into drunken saloon brawls, or how the swords work in Medieval World, or why they would possibly give the robots real guns that can harm guests. It really didn't make any sense. The part where Marsten could shoot Ed Harris but not wound him raised some questions, but it was already more base-covering than the movie ever did.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  18. #18
    Anyway, I mostly like the premiere and I can see the potential. I mean, I wasn't fond of every single decision in the whole hour, but, for the most part, it did strike me as being a really finessed, carefully presented episode. I rather liked the sense of just being dropped into the park, figuring things out, getting a sense of the dynamic between the characters, teases of the bigger picture, etc.

    One of the exceptions to that finesse is the way the editing was a little awkward near the beginning of the episode. There were shots that felt like they needed to breathe for a moment or two more, but they ended up cutting away much quicker than I expected. Also, some of those sweeping, extreme long shots of the surrounding vista felt off somehow — something about the sudden reaches for geographical scope and wonder came across as kind of inorganic and half-baked.

    The part of the story involving Wood's father being perplexed by that photograph was just tremendous, though. Wood's programmed response — "that doesn't look like anything to me" — was haunting. Evan Rachel Wood knocked that line out of the...park. That whole exchange was enveloped in these really eerie and tragic vibes, and that was amplified further when you see that he stayed up all night studying this picture, and actually managed to arrive at this troubling, insane revelation about his own existence. It was certainly one of the most unsettling and well-executed moments in the episode.
    Last edited by Gittes; 10-03-2016 at 06:54 PM.

  19. #19
    - - - - - Irish's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    It's Jonathan Nolan. Of course! This is a pilot episode, and if it's like the other good TV shows, it might not really hit a stride to move forward until episode three or four, I figure.
    I liked all your points, but this one struck me -- even something like Nolan's Person of Interest started out as a fairly grounded procedural, though. It was The Equalizer with a techno twist. They didn't layer in the super-freaky AI-to-human convergence stuff until they were a few seasons in (50+ eps).

    Quote Quoting Spinal (view post)
    The only thing I would add is that this show sorely needs a sense of humor.
    This is one of my biggest pet peeves with almost all prestige cable dramas. Even under dire circumstance (like The Walking Dead), people would develop a certain gallows humor and crack jokes. But nobody ever does on these shows. Maybe the producers are afraid that if anybody in the audience laughs, they'll take the premises less seriously.

    Quote Quoting Gittes (view post)
    I actually expect the show to deliver on this eventually. It will probably take a few seasons, but I think we're going to see the scales tipped significantly and the show will undergo some kind of paradigm shift and begin to feel like something else.
    They can't, because the show would effectively be over at that point. I'd expect a tease to lead to resolution in a feature film, but TV is a more narratively conservative medium. If they tease out a big plot point and actually resolve it, the audience might leave (or at least that's the fear).

    I can't think of too many shows that survived huge paradigm shifts half way through their runs.

    I think it's clear that this will change pretty dramatically as the show unfolds. The reverie update is one notch in that direction, and that will provide a lot of opportunities for making the robots seem more sophisticated and thoughtful.
    But why would the audience stick around and wait for them to become autonomous? I wanna care about the character now, not 5 or 10 episodes from now.

    The weakness of the pilot, to me, was that it put all its faith in the premise and not in characters or story. That's a huge red flag.

    Quote Quoting Gittes (view post)
    The part of the story involving Wood's father being perplexed by that photograph was just tremendous, though. Wood's programmed response — "that doesn't look like anything to me" — was haunting.
    I liked that exchange too, but it's also part of what I meant about models. The Wood character doesn't have a mental model that allows her to speculate about anything in her world. She's working off a script and only mimics human responses. "That doesn't look like anything to me" sounds like a natural language processing version of "syntax error" or "command not found." She's like a 3-D version Alexa or Siri, unable to react extemporaneously.

    I guess that's okay for a concept in a short story but it sure doesn't make for a very compelling character, or even a hook for a series.

  20. #20
    - - - - - Irish's Avatar
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    Oh, one more fear: That they will pull some Battlestar Galactica bullshit and one or more "people" in the control center and labs (like Jeffrey Wright) will turn out to be androids.

  21. #21
    Piss off, ghost! number8's Avatar
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    People seem to be programmed (heh) by science-fiction to expect that once robots become self-aware, the natural course of action for them would be to revolt by violent means. But the more interesting outcome--and I really, really get the sense that this is where the show is going to go, based on Dolores' lie in the pilot and the emphasis on aligning our empathy with the hosts rather than the guests--is for them to hide their awareness out of self-preservation, and instead learning to build a real life for themselves within the given parameters of the park. It's certainly a more sustainable way to go for longform drama.
    Quote Quoting Donald Glover
    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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  22. #22
    - - - - - Irish's Avatar
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    Somebody on Wired commented that robots in scifi movies are almost always represented in two ways: killer monsters or oppressed underclass. If they audience expects that, they've been trained to expect it. (This is part of the reason why I find AI based stories so dull, and also that most of them freely riff on ideas that PKD explored 50 years ago).

    Neither the movie or the show (so far) addresses the fact that everybody in the park, robot and human, must be constantly monitored in order for the park to function at all, and how that might change guest behavior. (The movie's fantasy appeal is that it's sex tourism with cosplay).

    So I dunno how the robots would build any sort of life in that environment. That idea is, more or less, the first series of Humans. I dunno how many people in the US saw that (I think it's on Netflix now), but the producers at HBO must certainly be aware of it. I also dunno how they go down that route with coming off super trite, and without, presumably, representing the human world more fully. A robot society is only meaningful in the ways it contrasts against human society.

  23. #23
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Oh, one more fear: That they will pull some Battlestar Galactica bullshit and one or more "people" in the control center and labs (like Jeffrey Wright) will turn out to be androids.
    A Star is Born (Cooper, 2018) ***
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    Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018) **1/2
    The Three Musketeers (Niblo, 1921) **
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  24. #24
    Quote Quoting number8 (view post)
    People seem to be programmed (heh) by science-fiction to expect that once robots become self-aware, the natural course of action for them would be to revolt by violent means. But the more interesting outcome--and I really, really get the sense that this is where the show is going to go, based on Dolores' lie in the pilot and the emphasis on aligning our empathy with the hosts rather than the guests--is for them to hide their awareness out of self-preservation, and instead learning to build a real life for themselves within the given parameters of the park. It's certainly a more sustainable way to go for longform drama.
    I understand how that could be more sustainable, but the show seems to be activating the idea of an impending revolt in a really conspicuous way. The prospect of a reprisal, violent or otherwise, is being underlined in red ink again and again. I think a slow gestation of sorts is in the cards, but I'm not sure that the longterm goal will be to eke out some kind of existence within the confines of a world where they are continuously subject to all kinds of horrors (and now, thanks to the update, they will be made to consciously relive and recall all of this). If they hang back for a while, I think the principal reason will be to gather allies, detect weaknesses, make plans, and more closely understand their dilemma (and, perhaps, have their sympathies confused by learning more about their captors/tormentors/creators). I do think retributive justice is the endgame, even if this may not necessarily take outright violent forms.

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    They can't, because the show would effectively be over at that point. I'd expect a tease to lead to resolution in a feature film, but TV is a more narratively conservative medium. If they tease out a big plot point and actually resolve it, the audience might leave (or at least that's the fear).
    Admittedly, it seems a bit early to even define the paradigm from which the writers might deviate, or to lay claim to a sure sense of the identity of the show…but, as long as these established characters are at the centre, and the tension between robots and humans endures, I don't see why the series couldn't sustain some radical shifts (particularly if we're talking about developments in the penultimate or final season).

    The robot uprising could manifest in at least two ways (we may see one or the other, or both). The destruction of the park and some kind of comeuppance for key figures in the upper echelon of the organization seems inevitable. Something on a much larger scale is also possible. Although, this would require some interesting creative maneuvering and, probably, time jumps. In that case, the show would reverse the balance: humans would be outnumbered by AI and certain figures from both sides would continue to elicit our interest and sympathy, albeit in different ways. I'm partly persuaded by this idea because of something I came across in an interview — something about the writers being interested in really changing things up from season to season.

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I can't think of too many shows that survived huge paradigm shifts half way through their runs.
    Fair point. I'm having a hard time thinking of an extreme example beyond Reboot, the CGI-animated television show from the 90s. Mad Men experienced something of a paradigm shift after S3, but I don't think you would necessarily consider it to be a "huge" one.

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    But why would the audience stick around and wait for them to become autonomous? I wanna care about the character now, not 5 or 10 episodes from now.
    I care about them already. Besides, now that the reverie update has been put in place, it seems that the robots can make rather huge leaps toward autonomy as a result of certain catalysts. The photograph brought us very quickly to that confrontation between Ford and Dolores' father, whose expressed pain and scorn was, as the characters point out, far more than a bit of minor improvisational excess.

    Side-note: I wonder if that photograph was deliberately planted, and, beyond the reverie update, what kind of actions are being done to facilitate these advancements.

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    The weakness of the pilot, to me, was that it put all its faith in the premise and not in characters or story. That's a huge red flag.
    I don't think this claim is borne out by characters like Ford, Dolores, and Dolores' father. The script provides key moments for us to consider the particular interest of these characters, and, in each case, the performances are adding other dimensions. Hopkins is doing that vaguely narcotized, morosely pensive thing that he excels at, but it's working well. He speaks volumes without saying much in that scene with the outmoded robot — the self-loathing going on there is interesting. IMDb tells me that Louis Herthum is the guy playing Peter Abernathy, Dolores's father, and he brought a convincing mixture of confusion and fury to his performance. See below for my thoughts on Wood's performance.

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I liked that exchange too, but it's also part of what I meant about models. The Wood character doesn't have a mental model that allows her to speculate about anything in her world. She's working off a script and only mimics human responses. "That doesn't look like anything to me" sounds like a natural language processing version of "syntax error" or "command not found." She's like a 3-D version Alexa or Siri, unable to react extemporaneously.
    The disquiet and magic of that scene lies in Wood's delivery. It's not just Siri-esque automatism. She carefully peppers in just the right amount of unease and doubt — it's subtle, but it's there — when she reiterates that line. I think we see a similar patina of discomfort when she walks away from the family earlier in the episode, after the little boy asks her if she is "one of them." She calibrates her performance just right so that we can understand that the reverie update is allowing her to interrogate her existence in new ways. In the case of Wood and a few others, there's richness in the dissonance between the programmed behaviour and the human spontaneity that the actors are folding into the performances.
    Last edited by Gittes; 10-03-2016 at 08:37 PM.

  25. #25
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    I admit that one hook that grabbed me is the way the robots aren't immediately shown as possessing what we (and sci-fi tropes) understand to be artificial intelligence. I like that we see how they're stuck in a Groundhog Day loop spouting rigorously scripted lines verbatim, and I like how the writer character explicitly says that he prefers the Uncanny Valley to true AI. Existential self-examination that happens to intentional sentience is a well explored territory, but I like that this is starting with the idea that the genesis of sentience is borne out of the improvisational reactions between scripted behavior. It leans more "video game" than "smart devices," which provides a richer analogy to be mined in the exploration of what living a life is, versus what thinking you're alive is.
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    I was actually just reading about Matt Damon and he’s like, ‘There’s a culture of outrage.’ I’m like, ‘Well, they have a reason to be outraged.’ I think it’s a lot of dudes just being scared. They’re like, ‘What if I did something and I didn’t realize it?’ I’m like, ‘Deal with it.’
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