Westworld, because it's good that it's been canceled

Westworld, because it's good that it's been canceled


The cancellation of a series is never good news in itself but many, at the announcement that Westworld will not have more episodes, breathed a sigh of relief. The complex and visionary HBO series was officially canceled, three months after its fourth season came to an end. According to Variety, the decision was made for various reasons, including the huge budget needed to finance this production in the face of a drop in the ratings of the latest episodes aired. Although its creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (meanwhile busy with their new contract with Prime Video) had declared that they hoped for a fifth and final season, Hbo preferred to pull the plug in a perspective not only of cost reduction but also of a complete revision of the content strategy following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger.

But there are those who add to these “practical” reasons also a reflection on the quality of the series itself. At its debut, in autumn 2016, Westworld had won the public by its enigmatic, ruthless and visionary trend: the idea of ​​an amusement park where everything was allowed and animated by robotic hosts, who then begin to develop a conscience, had captivated the spectators, struck by a decidedly unusual narrative construction. Starting from the second season the field of the story has begun to expand, introducing new parks and also the real world, further complicating the narrative strands and the game of identities. Although the first season set audience records surpassing the record of True Detective in 2014, the following ones saw a progressive erosion of the audience, from 12 to 4 million viewers.

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Many early stage fans said they were little surprised by the decision not to continue the series. Season 4 ended with protagonist Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) announcing a willingness to relaunch the original park in order to see if hosts were able to create a better world than humans, but the literal feeling was that of falling into the umpteenth loop, to use a metaphor so dear to the screenwriters. More and more complex machinations, humans who have become robots, entire scenes passed through illusions, consciences spread over multiple characters, continuous turnarounds, timelines of increasingly difficult collocation have soon transformed from brilliant ideas to expedients for their own sake. The themes that made the first Westworld a work of great depth, such as free will and the ability to control primary impulses, have also been lost in what has become a kind of dystopian gigantism. The open but somewhat definitive ending of Season 4 allows Westworld to be dismissed not at its best, but at least with some dignity. This until the next loop, of course.

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