WestworldLatest News and Opinion
Posted Tuesday 8/14/18 at 9:52PM EDT
Westworld creators promise a "radical shift" for Season 3
Co-creator Lisa Joy calls is a "repiloting." Her Husband and fellow co-creator Jonathan Nolan says it's a "radical shift." "What's compelling and appealing about these characters is that they're not human," says Nolan. "As we said in the show, humans are bound by the same loops the hosts are, in some ways even smaller. You couldn't expect human characters to withstand and survive the kind of story that we're telling. The hosts have a different version of mortality, a different outlook. I think clearly with Dolores, as she's laid out, there is a longer view here, a larger set of goals. They're existential. They span eons. And that's a fascinating level of story to engage in."
Posted Saturday 8/04/18 at 2:51AM EDT
Why Peak TV shows tend to follow their great first seasons with a sophomore slump
Westworld, UnReal and The Handmaid's Tale are fairly recent examples of Peak TV shows that followed great first seasons with a disappointing Season 2. But it's not just a recent trend. The Sopranos, Lost, Homeland and even Game of Thrones had second seasons that a lot of people found subpar. "A hopefully obvious answer to the disappointing second season problem is a basic tenet of human nature: It’s hard to replicate the experience of first watching something and falling in love with it," says Todd VanDerWerff. "The sheer thrill that accompanied the slow word-of-mouth excitement that boosted Stranger Things in season one was never going to happen again when the show returned for season two. But another obvious answer to this problem is that once a first season tells a mostly complete story, it can be incredibly hard to open up that story again to tell more stories." VanDerWerff adds: "But here’s the Catch-22 about second seasons: A good way to ensure you have a great second season is to air a somewhat disappointing first season. Yet in the age of Peak TV, airing a disappointing first season is a good way to ensure you don’t get a second season at all."
Posted Wednesday 7/25/18 at 1:49PM EDT
HBO boss on Westworld backlash: "It's not for casual viewers"
“I wouldn’t agree that the backlash was widespread," HBO programming chief Casey Bloys told critics. “The people who love it (the series) really love it, even the people who dislike it feel the need to discuss it and talk about it, and let you know they dislike it, and debate. And for a show to arouse that kind of feeling, that’s what we want.”
Posted Thursday 7/12/18 at 12:16PM EDT
Netflix ends HBO's 17-year streak of Emmy nomination dominance, Game of Thrones tops all shows
Source: The New York Times
This is the first time in 18 years that HBO has failed to lead all nominations, with Netflix earning 112 Emmy nominations to HBO's 108. The streaming service has been gradually growing with 34 nominations in 2015, 54 in 2016 and 91 last year. Game of Thrones led all shows with 22 Emmy nominations. Saturday Night Live and Westworld tied for second with 21 nominations each, followed by The Handmaid's Tale (20), The Assassination of Gianni Versace (18) and Atlanta (16). Game of Thrones, which wasn't eligible last year, will battle it out with last year's winner, The Handmaid's Tale. Meanwhile, the best actress in a comedy series will be up for grabs for the first time since 2011 since Julia Louis-Dreyfus wasn't eligible as Veep was on hiatus. Black-ish's Tracee Ellis-Ross, Insecure's Issa Rae and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Rachel Brosnahan are among the contenders in the best comedy actress category.
- Read the complete list of Emmy nominations
- Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers were snubbed, while Stephen Colbert and James Corden were nominated (The Tonight Show wasn't nominated for best variety talk series a second year in a row)
- Roseanne, Modern Family and Will & Grace were snubbed for best comedy, Killing Eve was snubbed for best drama
- Roseanne did earn two Emmy nominations, including one for Laurie Metcalf
- "It worked": Megan Amram's An Emmy for Megan was nominated for an Emmy in short form comedy or drama series category
- Acting snubs: Kit Harington, John Goodman, Emilia Clarke, Kyle McLachlan, Alison Brie and Freddie Highmore
- The late Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown earned six Emmy nominations
- Amy Sedaris, Sarah Silverman and Tracey Ullman to take on SNL in outstanding variety sketch category
- Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage becomes the most-nominated drama series supporting actor in Emmy history
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah earned its first nomination for best variety talk series
- Killing Eve's Sandra Oh becomes the first person of Asian descent to be nominated for best actress in a drama
- Samantha Bee's C-word controversy didn't stop Full Frontal from getting nominated for best variety talk series
- The best Emmy nomination reactions: Lin-Manuel Miranda is "Pretty, pretty, pretty grateful" to be nominated for Curb Your Enthusiasm
- Twin Peaks: The Return was snubbed in the major categories, but it did receive nine nominations
- Modern Family ends streak after eight-straight nominations for best comedy: “It was a hell of a run," says co-creator Steve Levitan
- Chrissy Teigen: If John Legend wins for Jesus Christ Superstar Live, "he will complete his EGOT and my spike tv award will probably be moved"
- Viola Davis was snubbed for Hot to Get Away with Murder, but she was nominated for playing the same character on Scandal
- This Is Us fans aren't happy with Mandy Moore's snub
- Kenan Thompson was finally nominated for his SNL acting ability, joining Leslie Jones, Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin
- Breaking down Game of Thrones' 22 nominations: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau scores his first nod
- Real Time with Bill Maher was snubbed for the first time since 2004 -- was Maher hurt by N-word and featuring right-wing trolls?
- These actors earned nominations for multiple show: Jane Lynch, Donald Glover, Alex Borstein, Jeff Daniels and Sterling K. Brown
# TOPICS: 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, ABC, Amazon, CBS, FX, HBO, Hulu, NBC, Netflix, An Emmy for Megan, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, At Home With Amy Sedaris, Atlanta, Black-ish, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Game of Thrones, The Handmaid's Tale, I Love You, America, Insecure, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Killing Eve, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Modern Family, Real Time with Bill Maher, Roseanne, Saturday Night Live, This is Us, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Tracey Ullman’s Show, Twin Peaks: The Return, Veep, Westworld, Will & Grace, Aidy Bryant, Alec Baldwin, Alex Borstein, Alison Brie, Amy Sedaris, Anthony Bourdain, Bill Maher, Chrissy Teigen, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Freddie Highmore, Issa Rae, James Corden, Jane Lynch, Jeff Daniels, Jimmy Fallon, John Goodman, John Legend, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, Kit Harington, Kyle MacLachlan, Laurie Metcalf, Leslie Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mandy Moore, Megan Amram, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Rachel Brosnahan, Samantha Bee, Sandra Oh, Sarah Silverman, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Sterling K. Brown, Steve Levitan, Tracee Ellis Ross, Tracey Ullman, Trevor Noah, Viola Davis, Award Shows, Emmys
Posted Wednesday 7/11/18 at 9:21PM EDT
Evan Rachel Wood had no idea what just happened on Westworld: "It was insane to be an actor on season two"
"I had no idea what was happening in season two. At all," Wood said, echoing Ed Harris' comments. "And we shot out of order, so most of the time — I mean, it was insane to be an actor on season two. I don’t know how I feel about it. (Laughs.) But it was a ride. We stopped reading the call sheets. We would show up and Jeffrey (Wright) and I would ask what episode we were in. It was kind of that level of — we just lived in the moment in whatever scene that we were doing, and that’s how we made it."
Posted Tuesday 7/10/18 at 12:09AM EDT
HBO's profits would go down, not up, if it vastly increased its amount of programming
John Stankey, the AT&T executive now charged with overseeing HBO and other Time Warner properties, sounds like he wants HBO to become more like Netflix by producing more programming that can be consumed throughout the day, rather than weekly, according to a report published Sunday. But while Netflix is way more valuable than HBO, HBO's "quality over quantity" model greatly outshines Netflix when it comes to profit. Basically, it sounds like Stankey "wants to both have his cake and eat it," says Felix Salmon. As Salmon explains, Stankey says "that he wants more profits from HBO—that while HBO is currently making money, it’s not making enough. The problem is that if he starts ploughing billions of extra dollars into the HBO budget—the kind of money that would enable the unit to put out more content and get more hours a day—then that will bring the unit’s profits down, not up. Spending more money on premium content will probably bring in some new subscribers, but not nearly enough to cover the cost of the new content. That’s why the old Time Warner never did it. Lowering the cost of a subscription would also bring in new subscribers, while reducing profits and angering many cable operators. HBO was the crown jewel of Time Warner precisely because it was so incredibly profitable, year in and year out. If Stankey wants higher revenue, he can get that through investment. He can get more engagement, too. But he’s probably deluding himself if he thinks that he can hit the trifecta and get higher profits to boot." Salmon adds: "It makes sense for Stankey to want to compete with Netflix, but HBO is simply not the best platform to use to do so. HBO cares about nothing more than its reputation for quality: It will make Veep, but it would never make Fuller House. That obsession has turned it into one of the most valuable brands in the media world. HBO is worth much more than the $4 billion that Disney paid for Lucasfilm, plus the $4 billion Disney paid for Marvel, plus the $7.4 billion Disney paid for Pixar: The New Yorker estimated it was worth more than $30 billion in 2015, and it has surely increased in value since then. "
- The New York Times story on John Stankey's comments didn't tell the full story of AT&T's plans
- Applying Netflix's "more is more" approach would only dilute HBO's exclusive and valuable brand
- It's perplexing: HBO makes billions in profits while Netflix operates at a loss, yet AT&T wants HBO to be more like Netflix in order to become more profitable
- AT&T's plan for HBO is eerily similar to Season 2 of Westworld
- Why AT&T's plan to scale HBO's quality just might work
- HBO's deliberate approach to developing shows has led to numerous Emmys, while Netflix has yet to win an Emmy for best drama, comedy or miniseries
- AT&T's plan sounds as bad as its one for your phone
Posted Tuesday 7/03/18 at 3:01PM EDT
Westworld co-creator: We've always had an "ending in mind"
Lisa Joy tells Stuff magazine: “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.”
Posted Friday 6/29/18 at 10:56PM EDT
We are living in TV's golden age of "What the hell did I just watch?"
Source: The A.V. Club
Westworld isn't the only show that confuses viewers, intentionally or not. "In fact," says Sean O'Neal, "Westworld is just one of a modern breed of deliberately obfuscating shows that demand to be worked in order to—or sometimes, rather than—enjoyed. Its lightly scrambled timelines and endless robot teases are certainly nothing compared to Legion, a series so far gone that most everyone in its orbit has avowed that being confused is entirely the point—that you should just embrace never quite knowing what’s going on as part of its appeal. Indeed, every episode of Legion feels like blundering, in media res, into someone else’s weird dream after they ate too much Indian food and watched a Cronenberg movie. It’s entrancing but often exhausting, though always beautiful to look at, and I’d sure like to sit its cast and crew down and offer $100 to any one of them who can clearly, succinctly tell me what’s going on." O'Neal adds that a lot of pop-culture these days seems to require extracurricular work: "It’s endemic of a lot of our current, internet-engine-driving entertainment, actually," he says, "all of which assume a certain amount of prior research before you’re even welcomed in the door: in the blockbuster comic-book movies that function as Very Special Episodes; in huge sci-fi film franchises that just assume you’ve also caught up on its cartoon spinoffs; even in our massive crossover hip-hop albums."
Posted Friday 6/29/18 at 10:56PM EDT
Here are 10 TV episodes that deserve their inflated run times
From Master of None's 57-minute episode to The Sopranos' 72-minute episode.
Posted Thursday 6/28/18 at 1:18PM EDT
Big Brother returns to a season premiere low, but still topped last night's ratings
About 5.3 million watched the Season 20 premiere of the long-running CBS reality show. ALSO: Did Westworld inspire Big Brother's twist?
Posted Wednesday 6/27/18 at 9:42PM EDT
It's easy to pretend to be a Westworld fan without ever watching the show
It's easy because "none of the fans actually know what the hell is going on—seemingly by design," says Sidney Fussell. "For weeks," he adds, "I’ve been running an elaborate con on friends and acquaintances, posing as a Westworld watcher and robbing them blind of the communal good feels that come from being 'part of the conversation.'" Why pretend to be a Westworld fan? Because, Fussell says, "the conversations surrounding a hegemonic pop culture product are annoying, insulting, and impossible to ignore." He adds: "Anyway, the point is that I’m a fraud. And you can be one, too! Twitter makes it easy to free yourself from Homework TV. Whenever a show’s a hit, it’s obsessively discussed on social media. Something twist-y like Westworld or, say, Mr. Robot, is also pretty much always covered twist-first by pop culture sites. So rather than meandering through a lot of plot, check out some recaps, which pretty much always give you the biggest nugget in the first paragraph. From there, it’s easy to finesse friends and acquaintances into believing you’re the real deal."
- Westworld Season 2 finale was bad, but its empty cynicism was outright obnoxious
- Westworld doesn't earn its cynical view of humanity
- Dear Westworld creators: Please give the show a sense of humor in Season 3
- Westworld shows us the dangers of digitizing humanity
- Westworld's virtual afterlife might not be fiction
Posted Wednesday 6/27/18 at 1:16PM EDT
Game of Thrones alum Kristian Nairn especially disliked Ed Sheeran's cameo
“I’m not a fan of the cameos in Game of Thrones," says the Hodor actor in an interview with The Huffington Post. "I don’t like them. I think it’s stupid. I don’t mind going on the record on that. I just think it takes you right out of the world ... Especially Ed Sheeran,” he said. “I was like, ‘Why is Ed Sheeran here?’ I mean, Ed Sheeran’s great. He’s a great guy, great musician, but why is he in Game of Thrones?” ALSO: Did the Westworld season finale contain a Game of Thrones Easter egg?
Posted Tuesday 6/26/18 at 1:55PM EDT
What to make of Westworld's Season 2 ratings slump?
The Season 2 finale was down significantly in viewers from the Season 2 premiere. Westworld still has "very good -- even great" -- ratings for a premium cable show, says Josef Adalian. Yet Westworld faces "a bit of an expectations problem." He adds that "the biggest problem for HBO is that, from the start, Westworld has been haunted by the ghost of expectations," partially due to its hefty price tag and and to its rocky path from script to screen. "While there’s no reason for HBO execs to panic over these numbers, season two of Westworld has not been an unqualified triumph, either," he says. Still, he adds, "it’s probably a good thing if folks stop thinking of Westworld as some sort of post-(Game of Thrones) messiah for HBO and simply accept it as another strong — if very expensive — cog in the network’s production machine," particularly when it generates so much fervent fan interest.
Posted Monday 6/25/18 at 9:28PM EDT
Is talking about Westworld more fun than watching Westworld?
Source: The Washington Post
The co-host of the Watching Westworld podcast, A. Ron Hubbard, spends 15 to 20 hours each week dissecting each episode. “Sometimes, the pleasure is seeing the theories and thinking about it,” he says. “The better an episode is, the more fun the actual viewing of it is. The more abstract it is, the more fun it is to talk about.” That's why Westworld has become such a divisive show. Some viewers are annoyed because they don't understand what's happening -- while its most devoted fans find that the mysteries make the HBO drama even more intriguing. Westworld star Jeffrey Wright says the show may have created an entirely new kind of fandom, allowing the show to live a new life on social media. “Occasionally I pop over to Reddit and Twitter and check in on people’s theories. In some ways, I consider it another realm of the show, another layer of the storytelling,” says Wright. “People dive in with their imagination and ideas and, in some ways, have created another writer’s room. The fascinating narrative tangents that fans are creating — it’s something I’ve never experienced before in a show I’ve worked on.”
- "Man, the show is just so unwilling to actually sit down and tell its own damn story"
- The Season 2 finale finale was a beautiful, bonkers mess
- Westworld is killing itself by killing the same characters so many times
- Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan tried really, really hard to explain the Season 2 finale
- Ranking Westworld's worst side characters
- The eight biggest questions from the Season 2 finale
- Jeffrey Wright talks about what's in store for Season 3
Posted Monday 6/25/18 at 6:21AM EDT
Westworld Season 2 was frustrating, but it should lead to a compelling leap in Season 3
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
There was a lot to grumble out and a lot to like in this season of the HBO drama, says Tim Goodman. But what did work was the set-up to the next chapter. "Maybe your appreciation of Westworld comes down to what you can tolerate," says Goodman. "Or what you're looking for to begin with. While I've loved both seasons and didn't mind the complicated time jumping in the first season (partly because I wasn't wrapped up reading about a lot of theories online and figured things out on my own, or didn't, while enjoying it as a solid drama), the second season was a dollop more frustrating, if only because it seemed to double down on 'when is now' and then, by the finale, had quadrupled down on it. I love a good puzzle but sometimes I just don't want to work that hard. On the other hand, this second season of Westworld took some very intriguing leaps, creatively, and those mostly masked my growing frustration with having to over-think the timelines I was witnessing."
- Season 2 finale was insane: "Can anyone without a Cliff’s Notes guide really tell me what happened this week?"
- All this storytelling "flim-flam" obscures Westworld's countless weaknesses and dilutes its few undeniable strengths
- Much of the Season 2 finale felt like a series finale
- Westworld feels like a show built on a narrative dare, one of endless resets and stasis
- Westworld isn't HBO's version of Lost -- it's HBO's version of a Lost recap
- What the fade-to-black ending means
- "Westworld is a homework assignment where the reward for finishing is more homework"
- What if Westworld was a sitcom?
- The five most pressing questions from the Season 2 finale
- Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy on Season 3: "It's going to be a whole new world"
- Westworld composer Ramin Djawadi breaks down the most important musical moments of Season 2