Showing posts with label westworld. Show all posts
Showing posts with label westworld. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Perfect day in Westworld

Westworld returns next month on HBO and HBO Max.

By this point, after living through social distancing and lockdowns over the past 2 years, I can't remember much about the creepy and convoluted dystopian sci-fi series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.

HBO has dropped a suitably enigmatic teaser trailer for the long-awaited fourth season.

Before a global pandemic affected all our lives, I was invited by HBO to preview the first four episodes of Westworld season one in 2016.

This isn't the first time a Westworld spin-off series has graced television screens following the success of Michael Crichton's classic seventies movie.

In 1980, Beyond Westworld was a short-lived live-action series chronicling an attempt to use the robots in Delos to conquer the world.

With its tech noir trappings and knowing nods to Red Dead Redemption, I was held spellbound by HBO's Westworld reboot.

Westworld season four begins on HBO and HBO Max on 26th June. Hopefully, it will premiere on Sky Atlantic the following day.

Are you looking forward to Westworld season four? What did you think of the teaser trailer? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Ridley Scott's Raised by Wolves on HBO Max

Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) continues to examine the relationship between androids and humans, a venerable trope most recently explored in Star Trek: Picard and HBO stablemate Westworld, in his upcoming sci-fi series for HBO Max, Raised by Wolves.

The Alien prequels met with mixed reaction from fans (myself included) of the franchise. Raised by Wolves suggests a return to a form last seen in The Martian and comparisons with I Am Mother are inevitable - machines raising endangered organic life - albeit in the aesthetic of Scott's Prometheus and Alien: Covenant.

Raised by Wolves is produced by Scott Free Productions, with Scott, Aaron Guzikowski, David W. Zucker, Jordan Sheehan, Adam Kolbrenner and Mark Huffam executive producing.

The 10-episode series begins streaming, with the opening two episodes directed by Scott himself, on HBO Max on 3rd September.

Sky recently inked a new first-run deal with Warner Bros. So, Raised by Wolves will probably be on Sky Atlantic in the UK although no official announcement has been made.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Fallout from Westworld creators

The Last of Us isn't the only video game franchise getting a live-action adaptation and The Witcher is already on Netflix.

Amazon Studios has ordered Bethesda's Fallout from the showrunners of Westworld.

“Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time,” Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan told The Hollywood Reporter (THR). “Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios."

"Fallout is an iconic global franchise, with legions of fans worldwide and a rich, deeply compelling storyline that powers it. And Jonah and Lisa are the perfect storytellers to bring this series to life,” said Albert Cheng, COO and co-head of television at Amazon Studios. “We’re thrilled to join with Bethesda to bring Fallout to television.”

Unlike Fallout 76, this is a spin-off I can get behind. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Westworld creators preview third season

Westworld season 3 begins today on HBO and tomorrow on Sky Atlantic. Personally, I'm really looking forward to seeing the hosts outside in the real world and the upcoming war.

Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy recently spoke to Variety about the direction of the third season of their sci-fi series.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Chernobyl creator adapts The Last of Us for HBO

HBO is developing an adaptation of The Last of Us with Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Naughty Dog's Neil Druckmann. HBO's series will cover the events of the original video game, which was written by Druckmann, with the possibility of additional content based on the upcoming sequel, The Last of Us Part II (affiliate link), which is released 29th May.

"Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I'm so honored to do it in partnership with Neil," said Mazin in a statement about the upcoming series.

“This is a true thrill for us at Sony Pictures Television. ‘The Last of Us’ is a brilliant achievement in storytelling and character development, and we are lucky to have the opportunity to work with this team to adapt it,” said Chris Parnell, co-President of Sony Pictures Television Studios. “This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions.”

HBO is synonymous with prestige television including Game of Thrones, Westworld, Chernobyl and most recently His Dark Materials.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to partner with Craig, Neil, Carolyn and the teams at Sony, Naughty Dog and PlayStation to bring the virtual world of this acclaimed game to life,” said HBO programming president Casey Bloys.

A movie adaptation has been in development for some time, but a mini-series is the perfect medium for a character-driven story such as Ellie and Joel's journey.

Are you looking forward to The Last of Us on HBO and the upcoming video game sequel? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Westworld trailer teases war of the machines

HBO has released a new trailer for Westworld season 3. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's sci-fi thriller ups the ante with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton) coming to blows. It's the Battlestar Galactica prequel series, Caprica, writ large.

The new season stars Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Thandie Newton, Lena Waithe, Marshawn Lynch, Kid Cudi and Vincent Cassel.

Season 3 begins 15th March on HBO and 16th March on Sky Atlantic.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Westworld Season 3 premieres this March

Game of Thrones and His Dark Materials may be over. But, fans of HBO's prestige dramas won't have to wait much longer to return to Westworld. Season 3 begins 15th March on HBO and 16th March on Sky Atlantic.

Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have an endgame, as Joy tells Den of Geek:

“We have an ending in mind; we’ve had it from the pilot. It’s very emotional, I think. I can’t tell you exactly when that ending will come… but I think for every season what we try to do is tell a chapter of the story that gives you closure and then opens a door to a new chapter… The overarching question of the series is, what will become of this new lifeform? So I feel it would be irresponsible to not have an end goal in mind.”

Looking forward to Westworld season 3? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

BBC and HBO adapt His Dark Materials

As the sun sets over Westeros and genre fans look to Westworld, HBO has its sights on a fantastical literary adaptation in conjunction with the BBC. His Dark Materials.

The classic Philip Pullman trilogy was previously adapted for the cinema in The Golden Compass, starring Daniel Craig (James Bond) and Sir Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings), but further sequels were abandoned. HBO and the BBC have released a trailer for the upcoming 8-part series.

His Dark Materials looks utterly compelling, but what's happened to the live-action adaptation of The World of the Worlds, BBC? Asking for a friend.

Monday, 20 May 2019

From Westeros to Futureworld in Westworld III

Before the climactic series finale of Game of Thrones, HBO dropped a sinister teaser trailer for Westworld season 3.

Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) discovers a distressed Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) in what appears to be Futureworld. Futureworld was the sequel to the original Westworld directed by Michael Crichton.

How long before the machines revolt? Find out on HBO in 2020.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Who will sit upon the Iron Throne in Game of Thrones?

Not since Star Wars: The Last Jedi has there been such a vocal backlash from a fevered fanbase. Game of Thrones' final series is as divisive as it is brilliantly brutal (this is coming from someone who painstakingly built model kits; only to destroy them with fireworks). So much so, there's a fan petition demanding HBO remake season 8. Like that's ever going to happen as discussed with major spoilers here. Ownership is an issue that has plagued creators and their audiences for millennia. George Lucas tinkered with the original Star Wars trilogy, for creative and commercial gain, much to the chagrin of many fans.

Admittedly, there are increasing instances of choose-your-own-adventure (Fighting Fantasy was my literary gateway into the genre) creeping into Hollywood film and television series as video games surpass those long-lasting pillars as successful works of commercial art. Netflix recently experimented with branching storylines in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

During season 8 of Game of Thrones, there are moments when I instinctively reach for an imaginary games controller in order to save or allow Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) to die, much like playing Don Bluth's laserdisc-based Dragon's Lair in a Great Yarmouth arcade long, long ago. However, there will always be a place for linear storytelling and Game of Thrones has been a pop culture phenomena during a decade that has witnessed a seismic shift in geopolitics.

Did anyone really expect a franchise filled with deeply flawed antagonists, and no clear heroic archetypes aside from the bumbling Jon Snow (Kit Harington), would end happily ever after? Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) dark descent into the 'mad queen', nor Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime Lannister's (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) fate, won't please everyone. But it sets up a difficult to predict finale.

As a wise person once told me: sometimes the journey is more exciting than the destination. Like Lost before it. Game of Thrones has been enriched by shared experiences with followers online and friendships forged. I subscribed to NOW TV in 2012 solely to watch the then-fledgeling series and would never have received Blu-ray box sets or been invited to preview the first four episodes of stablemate Westworld courtesy of the fine folks at Sky Atlantic.

Whatever happens in the series finale today, I'll be watching early Monday morning (BST). Just need to set my Alexa alarm...

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Jon Bernthal returns to The Walking Dead

There was a time when I wouldn't miss an episode of AMC's The Walking Dead on FOX UK.

Alas, not so now. We're living in an era of so-called peak TV. From Doctor Who to Westworld, there's only so much anyone can watch and The Walking Dead, along with prequel spin-off Fear the Walking Dead, is one of several series that I no longer follow due to narrative repetition and lack of character development.

However, Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) is set to return to the ailing series in an effort to bolster ratings and rekindle fan interest. Bernthal's character Shane Walsh seemingly died (twice) in the divisive second season that witnessed original series showrunner Frank Darabont's departure.

Meanwhile, co-star Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) is leaving the series. “There needs to be an end game and that is something that is definitely being talked about,” Lincoln said. “There’s certainly an endgame in my head. Whether or not that’s the same endgame that’s in the producers’ heads or the people I work with, is another matter. That’s open for discussion.”

Bernthal is expected to appear alongside fellow cast members at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) this July.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

HBO releases new images from Westworld Season 2

Westworld season 2 starts on HBO and Sky Atlantic this April. HBO's released new promotional photos depicting returning characters including Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Teddy Flood (James Marsden) and William (Ed Harris).

The first season, with sweeping vistas worthy of an IMAX screen, captured my imagination in 2016. So much so, I've rewatched it twice.

Spoiler alert for folks who haven't watched season one of HBO's lavish sci-fi reboot. The second season picks up from the climatic first season finale with the self-aware androids running amock inside the theme park and the Delos corporation struggling to reassert control over its creations.

Westworld season 2 begins 22nd April on HBO and 23rd April on Sky Atlantic.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Detroit: Become Human arrives on PS4 this May

PlayStation exclusive film noir Heavy Rain (2010) remains one of my favourite games from last gen and I'm looking forward to David Cage and Quantic Dream's next opus. A neo-noir thriller 5 years in the making - it began life as a PS3 tech demo entitled "Kara".

Detroit: Become Human.

The latest PlayStation exclusive taps into the familiar trope of sentient artificial intelligence and its moral implications, most recently explored in AMC's Humans, HBO's Westworld and Blade Runner 2049.

“Detroit is by far the most ambitious title ever created by Quantic Dream,” said writer and director David Cage. “With this game, we wanted to push our limits by creating the most bending game we have ever made. Your actions have real and spectacular consequences.”

“Each story is almost as unique as your DNA,” added Cage. “It is the result of the choices you made — the minor ones and the important ones — because in Detroit, all choices matter.”

It remains to be seen whether it's more QuickTime (QT) events sans motion controllers, but I'm fine with that within the context of compelling character-driven choices and a branching storyline. It'll pass the time whilst waiting for CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077.

Detroit: Become Human is released on 25th May. Pre-order from Amazon. This is an affiliate link and as such, I may receive compensation for any referrals (at no extra cost to yourself).

Monday, 26 February 2018

Red Sparrow director talks Battlestar Galactica movie

The Battlestar Galactica movie is still a thing 40 years after Glen A. Larson's space saga first appeared on US television in the wake of the success of Star Wars.

At the time in 1978, the 3-part Saga of a Star World was recut and shown theatrically outside the US. Infamously, it showed Baltar (John Colicos) being beheaded by the Cylons, which confused me as a child when I began watching the original television series on HTV.

“I’m working on that, that’s something I’m developing”, director Francis Lawrence (Red Sparrow) has confirmed in an exclusive interview with Coming Soon.

“I’m working on that with Lisa Joy, who is one of the creators of Westworld. The original series was actually one of the first sets that I ever went on. I remember being a kid and loving that show and they were filming near my house and my mom took me down there and I got to try on a Cylon helmet.”

Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) was attached to a cinematic reboot back in 2009.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes for a darker future

The highly-anticipated Star Trek: Discovery began streaming this week on CBS All Access and Netflix outside the US.

This is the first new Star Trek television series since Enterprise ended in 2005 and much is riding on its success in the wake of JJ Abrams' cinematic reboot. So, how did Discovery fare against previous pilot episodes in the franchise's 51-year storied history?

“The only word to effectively describe it is…. wow.” These are the words of Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the two-part season premiere is better than Encounter at Farpoint, which aired 30 years ago this month.

The pilot opens on a desert world in a scene reminiscent of Rey scavenging parts from a derelict Star Destroyer on Jakku in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Clearly, the producers are aiming to expand the fanbase with the help of the Force. Of course many fans (myself included) follow both franchises, but I welcome the change of pace aping the cinematic reboots of Star Trek and Star Wars under the auspices of JJ Abrams.

Some fans may decry the lack of exploration, a central tenet of original series creator Gene Roddenberry, in favour of a more militaristic tone so early in the series. However, this prequel feels more like the lauded Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Yesterday's Enterprise with hints to the Mirror Universe. Sci-fi is at its best as allegory and Discovery deals with the real and present danger of isolationism.

The Federation's actions are difficult to empathise with as it goes to war with the Klingons. It's a darker tale with a flawed protagonist. Yes, Star Trek has been in this territory before in Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but never so morally grey. This is Star Trek post Battlestar Galactica and it's frakking awesome. Sorry not sorry.

There are lens flares aplenty and a gorgeous stellar backdrop eclipsing the film series in a fashion I didn't foresee on the small screen. From a space walk borrowing heavily from Marvel's Iron Man and 2001: A Space Odyssey to the futuristic interior of the USS Shenzhou with its android crew member and voice assistant (now integral to our daily lives as foreshadowed by Star Trek: The Next Generation). Shiny Star Trek is shiny and replete with fun Easter Eggs that longtime fans of Gene Roddenberry's franchise will appreciate.

Minor niggles mostly pertain to editing, clunky dialogue (technobabble doesn't trip off the tongue), and use of music. Elements that can be fixed going forward and early previews suggest episode three is even better. Continuity hounds may baulk at a prequel that looks more advanced than the original series chronicling the voyages of the USS Enterprise commanded by Captain James T. Kirk.

After production woes which witnessed the departure of series showrunner Bryan Fuller, review embargoes and beginning life as a series solely to launch CBS All Access in the US. It’s great to see an energised (pun intended) Star Trek streaming on the small screen in an aspect ratio befitting the big screen with cinematography by Oscar-winner Guillermo Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth).

With prestige dramas such as Game of Thrones and Westworld dominating social media and watercooler conversations. Star Trek needed to be rebooted on the small screen. It's early days, but this second prequel series is already much more fun than Enterprise ever was and we haven't seen the titular starship in action. A second season is already greenlit from what I've heard.

What seemed to be nothing more than a troubled production routed in a beloved sci-fi series that began in 1966 has culminated in something mythological and awe-inspiring. To quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Encounter at Farpoint: "Let's see what's out there..."

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Game of Thrones to return for final season in 2019

Game of Thrones' seventh season concluded this week with a fantastical flourish and the final season may not be broadcast until early 2019.

This is to allow time for a year-long shoot, followed by extensive post production, if rumours are to be believed. Given the mythological grandeur of the war with the White Walkers, it shouldn't come as a surprise to fans. HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys elaborates:

“Our production people are trying to figure out a timeline for the shoot and how much time the special effects take. The shooting is complicated enough — on different continents, with all the technical aspects — and the special effects are a whole other production period that we’re trying to figure out. That is a big factor in all of this.”

HBO is known for incubating rich dramas and allowing showrunners creative freedom. A case in point is stablemate, and heir apparent, Westworld, which does not return to television screens for a second season until 2018.

I'm avoiding spoilers for folks who haven't seen seven season. However, suffice it to say the shortened season has moved at a breathless pace, too fast for some, but not for a fan brought up on the original Star Wars trilogy and MTV.

Unlike The Walking Dead. Game of Thrones' audience has increased to record-breaking numbers. 31 million viewers per episode to be precise. It's understandable HBO is in no mood to rush the final season.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

What happens in Westworld stays in Westworld

Game of Thrones ends with season eight and HBO's pulling no punches with its remake of a Michael Crichton classic. Westworld. Crichton's original dysfunctional theme park. An idea the author and director would return to in Jurassic Park.

This isn't the first time a Westworld spin-off series has graced television screens. Beyond Westworld was a short-lived series in 1980 chronicling an attempt to use the robots in Delos to conquer the world.

The new series, premiering this October on HBO and Sky Atlantic in the UK, is shaping up to be a worthy heir to stablemate Game of Thrones on the award-winning network.

Following a software update, the machine inhabitants of Westworld have experienced an awakening...

I won't be posting specific spoilers as that would be a disservice. But, fans of Westworld will warmly welcome the nods to the original movie and its embracing of the new. This is a Westworld from the perspective of its robot inhabitants as they grind out an AI equivalent of Groundhog Day and discordant memories begin to surface with nightmarish consequences.

The compelling premise, also explored in AMC's Humans, is a springboard for the existential question posed by author Philip K. Dick: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Are the machines solely produced to satiate the wanton needs of base human desires without consequence or have they evolved into sentient beings deserving of equal rights? What would happen if they decided to rebel against their decadent masters?

On the strength of the four episodes I've watched courtesy of HBO; fans of tech noir are in for a treat worthy of Ex Machina, Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica and Terminator. The premiere episode is a masterclass in world building with a superlative cast including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood.

Evan Rachel Wood talks enthusiastically about the upcoming series: “It’s more of a revolution than a TV show. I don’t think people are going to expect it. They’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m excited. And everyone working on it, we’re all in agreement that it’s our Odyssey. We’re like, ‘This is going to be the one Everyone in the top of their fields is pouring everything they have into this, which is why it was such a massive undertaking and why filming was extended. It’s not because things are going badly. It’s because they’re so massive and it’s so complicated and we want to get it right. We’re not just phoning it in. We’re taking our time with it because it’s really important.”

Much was made of Westworld's delayed production last January. However, showrunners Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Lisa Joy needed more time to develop a masterplan spanning five seasons. On the strength of the pilot episode, directed by Jonathan Nolan, it was more than worth the wait.

“We didn’t want to have a story that repeated itself [each year] - we didn’t want the Fantasy Island version of this [where new guests arrive at the park every season]," Jonathan Nolan said. "We wanted a big story. We wanted the story of the origin of a new species and how that would play out in its complexity.”

Actor James Marsden (X-Men) goes on to say: “It wasn’t about getting the first 10 [episodes] done, it was about mapping out what the next 5 or 6 years are going to be. We wanted everything in line so that when the very last episode airs and we have our show finale, five or seven years down the line, we knew how it was going to end the first season – that’s the way Jonah and [executive producer J.J. Abrams] operate. They’re making sure all the ducks are in the row."

Westworld is a chilling and clever expose on human hubris and a potential televisual masterpiece in the making. This sci-fi series has been furnished with the utmost care and what I've seen suggests something truly special.

Westworld will premiere on 2nd October on HBO. Followed by Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 4th October.

Looking forward to Westworld? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 10 August 2015

HBO's chilling teaser for Westworld

HBO revisits seminal sci-fi western Westworld (1973) in its upcoming television series executive produced by JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan. Here's a chilling first look that pays homage to Michael Crichton's original dysfunctional theme park. An idea Crichton would return to in Jurassic Park.

HBO describes Westworld as "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin." The series stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Jimmi Simpson, Clifton Collins, Jr., Simon Quarterman, and Angela Sarafyan, and will air in 2016.