When I was growing up I was obsessed with science fiction movies. I even had a list that I had typed out (on a typewriter, not a computer) so that I could check off which ones I had seen and how many times I had seen them. Godzilla movies were my favorites, followed by the flying saucer movies from the 1950s. Another one I enjoyed greatly was Westworld, Michael Crichton's 1973 film about a futuristic amusement park that breaks down with fatal consequences. If the description sounds familiar, his Jurassic Park just recycled the concept with dinosaurs. While the Spielberg movie does a great job of capturing the awe of having thunder lizards walking the Earth once again, it lacks the sense of fun that Crichton brought to his earlier approach to the concept -- that is, before everything goes pear-shaped at the end.
This is why I was intrigued when I read that HBO was adapting the movie for television. It's not as though television hasn't taken a stab at it before (not that anyone remembers the lamentable Beyond Westworld, which was put out of its misery after only three episodes were aired), but HBO has developed quite the pedigree for quality programming. It didn't hurt either that the cast would include two of my favorite actors, Jeffrey Wright and the great Anthony Hopkins. The reports of production issues were a little worrisome, but I still had faith and the initial reviews were pretty positive. The only problem is that I don't subscribe to HBO, so it wasn't until I subscribed to HBO Now a couple of days ago that I finally had the chance to start watching it for myself.
Wow. Just, wow.
So far I'm in the middle of the fourth episode and I'm absolutely loving it. The conceptualization is great, the acting is terrific, and the plot is engrossing. My only problem is that I find it difficult to resist the lure of the Internet to find out what happens next, which has already spoiled a couple of things for me. Even then, though, it is helping me to appreciate how well constructed the show is. I'll probably have the whole season binge-watched by the weekend, after which I have a long wait ahead of me for season 2. If it's as good as the first one, though, it will be well worth it.