Tuesday, June 21, 2016

HBO's West World Television Show - Sin, Synthetics, and Six Guns

'Boy Have We Got a Vacation For You' read the original poster for West World back in '73. I had heard they were releasing a remake of the movie as a television series.

So back in August of 2015 the first teasers for HBO's West World remake series broke based on the original Michael Criterion movie from 1973. I'm huge fan of the West World movies because it was the source of the crossover adventures for Gamma World 1st edition/ Metamorphosis Alpha & Boot Hill.The new one looks most compelling and interesting to say the least. It takes many of the original ideas and themes notches them up to eleven.

Now today the second teaser trailer broke today and it was even better.The themes are expanded upon and we get a bit of the philosophy behind the action. We get a healthy dose of Nihilism of the original movie which is intact and in charge here along with lots of sex, violence, and more. Basically West World has always taken the Hollywood and classic shtick of the Old Western movie and used it too make social commentary with androids. Its connections with rpgs are long and somewhat interesting. The original film stars Yul Brynner as an android in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, and Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as guests of the park.

Going all of the way back to the original Boot Hill Rpg, I've known DM's to mix and match West World's themes and elements into the mix of various games. The idea that the 'Ancients' had parks where the rich would come to indulge in all manner of decadent pleasure debauchery is at the heart and soul of West World's story. Roman World a sort of sword and sandal theme park version of ancient Pompeii is in there tucked into the background. Then there's Medieval World, which is based on daily life in medieval Europe and one of the primary places where android wizards and like into our Gamma World games. Finally there was the iconic West World with Yul Brynner's gun fighter model of android  popping up numerous times over the years and the dangerous Black Knight model  from Medieval World appearing in various Metamorphosis Alpha/OD&D crossovers. 

We got Future World in Seventy Five as a sort of direct squeal to West World expanding the Disney like park theme with androids with more attractions, expanded settings, and a plot of world domination by Delos. Wiki has a good break down; 
"Futureworld is a 1976 American science fiction thriller film directed by Richard T. Heffron and written by Mayo Simon and George Schenck. It is a sequel to the 1973 Michael Crichton film Westworld. The sequel stars Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill, Stuart Margolin, John Ryan, and Yul Brynner, who makes a cameo appearance in a dream sequence. Other than Brynner, none of the cast members from the original film appear, and original writer-director Crichton was not involved"

Basically world leaders were going to be replace by androids and they'd try to take over the world. We took the basic premise in one of my groups back in the early Eighties added in the Gamma World timeline and used the whole thing for TSR's Top Secret.

The end of the line came when Beyond West World hit the small screen in 1980, it was another of those attempts to bring science fiction into the era when the audience wasn't ready for it. The show really was ahead of its time in both make up and execution. Here's the problem the show couldn't make up its mind if it wanted to be a spy show or a science fiction drama. It was a show that had lots of potential but wasn't given a chance to be brought into its own:"

It featured Jim McMullan as Security Chief John Moore of the Delos Corporation. The story revolved around John Moore having to stop the evil scientist, Quaid, as he planned to use the robots in Delos to try to take over the world. Despite being nominated for two Emmys (Outstanding Achievement In Makeup, and Outstanding Art Direction For A Series), only five episodes were produced, and only three of them were aired before cancellation"

The show did create a perfect nemesis that has over the years appeared over & over again in the form of Delos the rival android manufacturing corporation to the Weyland-Yutani mega corporation. But with West World it always comes back to Boot Hill its where I began with the game and where it ends for me.

So now its going to be a game of let's see how this new show plays out and will it have the ratings to get into Roman World and 
Medieval World for its second & third seasons respective? Will there be a surge in the number of DM's using the various settings of West World  that we've seen in the past?

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