I saw the original West World movie starring Richard Benjamin and Yul Brenner.  It’s amazing and for 1973, even more so.  I knew, as soon as they announced the TV show, it would be a problem.  I watched the first episode and here are my thoughts.

The Good:  There’s no denying that the production values are top notch.  Quality actors, including Ed Harris and sets from the future and the Wild West.  Unfortunately, that’s all window dressing.  Just because your car has a good paint job, doesn’t mean it’s going to run well.

The Bad:  Let’s break it down.

The TV show is going to just spend longer doing what the movie did:  The pay off in the movie is huge.  Watching this episode is like seeing the first ten minutes of the movie.  We get it.  The robots are going to malfunction, they thing they’re human, etc, etc.  Anthony Hopkins isn’t needed to sell that well trod path.

The technology isn’t good:  In 1973, the idea that you would have to open up a robot to fix its programming made sense.  In 2016, when you can go to the Apple store and they can reset your iPad back to default without ever touching it or barely touching, now makes that obsolete.  This is supposed to be the future and they’re STILL using tablets.  Why on Earth would they need to open up the robot’s head?  The science is powerful weak and this is supposed to be sci-fi.  The visuals are there, where’s the writing?

The players can’t get hurt:  As a game, I couldn’t think of anything more boring.  That would be like playing Grand Theft Auto and making yourself indestructible.  There has to be a penalty for players who indiscriminately shoot and kill everything or else all they’re going to do is indiscriminately shoot and kill everything.  (After they’re done having sex with it, of course.)  And how could they really make it that safe?  People fell off horses and died back in the Wild West.  How do the robots not shoot the players, but shoot other robots?  We see bullets penetrate the robots.

Bad planning:  (Spoiler alert)  When one of the robots find something from “the future”, it causes him to malfunction.  Wouldn’t that always be a problem in the park?  I mean, you can tell people on vacation not to bring their cellphones and whatnot, but people on vacation are famous for not listening.  What’s to stop them from just ignoring the instructions and bringing whatever they want?  And if that’s going to be explained in a later episode, then it really should’ve been in the first one.

One Long Stall:  The TV series is just one long stall.  Once you get to the robots killing people, it’s over.  There’s hints in the first episode that there’s more to “the game” and “the company”, but that’s not really about the park.  Once you get outside the park, it’s really over.  Once you deal with the robot-that-wants-to-be-human issue, it’s over.  And allowing the robots to take over at all is a little like letting your PC jump up and steal your car.  It can’t happen because you can just switch it off, even in the unlikely event that it did.  How can the robots NOT have a switch?

I have to admit, I didn’t really go into this with open eyes.  My entire reaction is “Meh”.  There’s better sci-fi out there.  I recommend you see the movie.  It’s awesome.