The first episode of HBO’s Westworld is now available to watch completely free–no HBO subscription required. All you have to do is visit this HBO site and enter your birthdate and email.
Episode 1, which premiered on October 2 and had strong ratings, is titled “The Original.” It introduces the futuristic world where people can pay to visit a highly sophisticated amusement park of sorts inhabited by lifelike robots known as hosts.
In other news about Westworld, showrunner Jonathan Nolan has talked more about the program’s video game inspirations.
“A lot of interesting storytelling that’s happening right now is in video games–which literally didn’t exist when Michael Crichton was writing the original film,” he told Vice. “Now, video games are a bigger industry than film or TV. I’ve never worked in that industry, but we have friends who have, and I was fascinated by the concept of writing a story in which the protagonists’ actions aren’t part of the story. In games like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption, or the sandbox games that Bioware make, morality is a variable. How do you write a story in which the hero’s moral component exists on a spectrum? That’s a fascinating challenge.”
Nolan also talked about how NPCs in video games can “have their own lives.” He’s fascinated by that concept.
“In Skyrim, when you walk into a village, you aren’t necessarily the most important person there. The NPCs have lives that happen whether you’re there or not. I was listening to directors’ commentary from Ken Levine about building Bioshock Infinite and the affection that game developers and designers develop for their characters,” he said. “It’s a qualitatively different relationship than the one screenwriters have with their characters, because video game characters don’t just recite dialogue–they do sh**, and the players interact with them. It’s a relationship that I think Crichton anticipated to some degree, but it’s become much more complicated than even he could imagine.”
Critics recently posted their reviews for the first four episodes; reviews are mostly positive. There will be 10 episodes in Season 1, airing every Sunday evening at 9 PM on HBO.
In other news, HBO has released a new “In the Weeks Ahead” video that contains footage from upcoming Westworld episodes. If you haven’t seen the first episode, maybe don’t watch.
Westworld stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and Thandie Newton. As mentioned, it’s based on Crichton’s 1973 movie of the same name.