5 predictions for Westworld season 2: AKA me making stuff up

*Semi-spoilers but no major plot points of events from the first episode are discussed, just certain themes that appeared as well as the opening credits

Firstly, let me just say, WHAT A FIRST EPISODE. I feel like they did a pretty good job of getting people back up to speed with what happened in season 1, as well as giving us the play by play of what happened after that massive first season ending – without making it seem like they were trying to cover too much in one go. I feel like season openings can often feel like cramming before a big test, with too many topics covered, and too many reminders of the previous season.

I really appreciated the jumping timeline, as well as the focus characters – truly our core-three at this point; Dolores, Maeve, and Bernard. I also really liked that the first episode set up the seasons pace. With so many shows these days ­– especially HBO and Netflix ones – it seems like there’s this competition to be bigger and better than your last season, which can be hard when the storylines are as complex as Westworld.

Last season raised a lot of questions and explored a lot of topics common in speculative fiction, and this second season allows the show to go even deeper than most sci-fi does, so I have a few predictions on what we’ll see this season!

They’re all undoubtedly going to be 100% wrong, because I’ve never been good at this shit in my life, but hey, I thought it’d be fun, and it’s been a hot minute since you guys heard from me!

#1. Fertility/babies/maternal affection is going to be a big undercurrent theme for the season

westworld maeveI’m mainly basing this off the new opening credits, where a mother and baby are recurring. It would make sense for a next step in a new society to be exploring fertility and procreation. Obviously, this is closely linked with Maeve’s storyline, so she’ll be the main catalyst for this I imagine, although Bernard has his own fake-son situation to deal with and Dolores is a woman so like… Male writers… you know the drill…

What constitutes a family? A maternal link? What makes a real mother? Can the hosts procreate? Is it in their future and the next step for their survival? Fertility is a deeply sci-fi conversation, and it would be an interesting spin on the conversation around what it means to be “human” and “real”.

#2. The start of a new civilisationWestworld-dolores

I know Dolores is focussed on destroying humans (you do you, boo), but I have a feeling there’s still going to be exploration into this new civilisation. This goes further than fertility, and stems into philosophy, politics, economics, and community. This community needs each other to survive, but they’re also fundamentally different to our civilisation, so I’m excited to see how differently they create their world and society!

#3. Consciousness vs. conscience

Now that these hosts have consciousness – or some do? Maybe? – they’re soon going to have to grapple with what comes next. A conscience. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m here for a human bloodbath 100%. But soon enough, Dolores is going to start questioning morality. What does she hope to achieve? Is it enough to have consciousness, or must a conscience soon follow? Does a lack of conscience make you superior, or is it a useful tool? Does being alive, mean also caring for others? Of course, cold blooded killers live amongst humans (obviously a major point made in the first season) but I don’t believe that’s who Dolores is. As she said, she’s been forced to play the lovely ranchers daughter, and the murderous Wyatt, but her greatest role yet is that of herself. I don’t believe she’s wholly evil, which means we’re definitely going to find out about the growing moral compass amongst conscious hosts.

#4. What is reality anyway?

Westworld-doloresLast season we truly delved into the age-old sci-fi question of “what is free will”, but this season I predict we’re going to look more into “what even is reality?”. Now that Dolores and Maeve have discovered free will, what it is, and how to harness it, the question now for the hosts (and humans) is – what is reality anyway? This was what I gained from the conversations between Dolores and Arnold, as well as Bernard’s experiences throughout episode one. Reality is confusing. Just because something is “real”, doesn’t mean it’s a “reality”. Are our dreams just as important as reality? How do we know what’s really happening? I think they’ll really play this one out through dream sequences and timeline jumps but again – I really don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.

#5. The true price of data

zuckerberg facebookObviously, user-data is a massive conversation right now with the whole Zucc/Facebook situation, and I think that puts Westworld in a fantastic position to explore this topic. Westworld is, of course, privy to far more data that Facebook ever could be, but it is a close analogy. People act in a way on the internet, far differently than they would in “public” or the “real world”, and Facebook does store that data. Delos is obviously doing the same thing – what are they using it for? Probably advertising lesbereal. What are the moral implications? The legal implications? What does this mean for the users? What is the true price and value of data in this day and age? It’s a topic close to my heart, what with my social media advertising business, so I’m really excited to see where they go with it!

So, those are my thematic predictions! Note how I never made actual predictions on specific events – I ain’t that bold.

What do you think will be discussed this season? What do you hope you’ll see? Let me know! Let’s talk Westworld (please) (I’m begging you) (someone talk to me about this damn show)

My top 5 TV picks from 2016 – Not everything sucked last year, but almost

Top 5 TV shows of 2016 might sound like a difficult list to make, from a year that really just, well, sucked, but these 5 shows made me think all hope was not lost!

In a year that sucked, there were at least 5 shows that didn’t suck – my top 5 TV picks from 2016

 

 

There’s no denying it – 2016 was the pits.

 

And when I say this I don’t mean:

 

a) Every single individual on this planet had a bad year

 

Nor do I mean

 

b) Absolutely nothing good happened in 2016

 

I’m just being realistic about the fact that both I, and many other people, seemed to have a less than great year in comparison to previous ones. And on top of that, many great and cherished celebrities, scientists, and influencers of note didn’t make it to 2017, something that definitely isn’t a highlight.

 

Regardless, in a year that seemed to really just suck, I found some light in these 5 TV shows I’m going to talk about in this post. The fact that there weren’t more though… Well I’ve had years where I’d have had more than 5 shows to talk about, let’s just say that!

 

For possibly the first time, I can say this blog post is SPOILER FREE!

 

5) Humans

top 5 TV shows of 2016

Ok we’re going to start with number 5, but even if it’s at the bottom (top) of the list, Humans is still a big mention! This scifi season 2 has a charming nature that sits good-naturedly on top of it’s absolutely unsettling content. Humans has this fantastic way of touching on the complexities of AI gaining consciousness, and their integration (or segregation) within human society, without overcomplicating themes or messages. Its messages are accessible, but important, and use the AI characters as allegories to discuss previous and current human societal issues, such as classism, as well as body autonomy for, in particular, women. The cast are all superb actors, and well-suited to their roles, as well as diverse and well-rounded – from well-known actors, to the bright eyed newbies. It’s a delightfully unnerving show and I’m excited to see where it will continue to go!

 

4) Luke Cage

top 5 TV shows of 2016

Honestly, did you think I was going to manage a list of favourite TV shows without mentioning a superhero one? While DC has been dominating the superhero realm of television, Marvel continues to creep in there, especially with its Netflix series. I watch Agents of SHIELD mind you, but I don’t think it’s going to be making any top 5’s of mine any time soon. Luke Cage however, brought me as much joy and exhilaration as Jessica Jones did last year, and I continue to be floored by the ways the creators of these Marvel/Netflix shows use colour, angles, and motifs to carry the individual shows beyond the simple techniques other superhero shows use, as well as tie the 3 Netflix series together. The use of yellow lighting, the 90’s hip-hop-esque music, and the 70’s-reminiscent fashion all brought together a sense of the community, atmosphere, and tensions this show touches on. A standout superhero show (that could even be argued as not a superhero show at all), that I hope doesn’t go the same downwards route that I found Daredevil going in its second season.

 

3) Stranger Things

top 5 TV shows of 2016

By now you’ve probably realised, I’m no indie-viewer, no standout obscurest, so I was no more immune to the Stranger Things charm than anyone else. I love horrors, I love scifi, I love 80’s music, and I love obnoxious film and nostalgia references. Strangers Things hit all the right spots and there really isn’t anything I need to say about it that hasn’t already been said. It was paced well, it had the perfect amount of sweet childhood friendship to counteract the dark themes, and it pulled at all the right heartstrings. But I think, for me, what really put it here, at number 3 of all the too-many shows I watched this year, is the group of child-actors who not only brought the show to life, but also pulled off one of the best, most engaging press tours I have seen in many years. They were enchanting, exciting, hilarious, and unbeatably talented, and I’m watching Stranger Things as much to enjoy the show and see what happens next, as I am to see where these amazingly talented young actors will go.

 

2) Brooklyn 99

top 5 TV shows of 2016

Never once in my life have I ever said anything remotely close to “my favourite genre is comedy”, or “my favourite movie/tv show this year was a comedy”. Not because I hate fun, or I have no sense of humour (I hope), but because I have an unbelievably low tolerance for second-hand embarrassment, and an even lower tolerance for humour that relies on mocking another person for their race, culture, sexuality, gender, mental or physical health, or basically any humour relying on the incredibly lazy technique of mocking other people for things they can’t help about themselves. Oh, and I’m not fond of slapstick either. I’ve found it pretty damn hard over the years to find a show or movie in the comedy genre that doesn’t rely on one or more of these comedy techniques, but then, down from the heavens above, an angel came forth to me. One, with the makings of being your very-average, no-different, cop comedy, but was put together by the most diverse cast I think I’ve ever seen in a sitcom, and that uses humour that 100% matches mine. Jake Peralta, you have saved my soul, and I will die by your feminist, understanding if slightly misguided at times, very much hilarious side, should that day ever come. At only roughly 20 minutes an episode there’s really no reason not to give this show a try, so like, go do that.

 

1) Westworld

top 5 TV shows of 2016

For hours and days, I have scratched my head, not only over how to write a blog on this show, but also on this show in general. I’ve watched it twice, since I started in November, and I can honestly say I still… Don’t get it. Where Humans is easily digestible, light, and approachable (while still disturbing), Westworld is just, absolutely a maze in itself (perhaps the maze wasn’t meant for me and my small mind). The film major in me so badly wants to be able to discuss in depth the themes, plot twists, and characters, but when it comes down to talking about the show, I just simply can’t seem to wrap my head around it. And yet, in all my confusion, I can say without a doubt, that with only 1 season under its belt, Westworld is not only my favourite show of the year, but possibly of my adult life! (Shows like Friends don’t count because that’s a nostalgic thing. Sshhhh). This show has you sitting on edge, deeply unnerved, 100% unsure of how you stand on the consciousness of AI, while simultaneously delivering some of the best acting and writing I have ever seen from a TV show. It has you sitting there debating with yourself about your own sense of morality and ethics, as well as any prior knowledge you might have about previous AI fiction. Let me tell you, Isaac Asimov would’ve been able to provide you with a lengthy, meaty, and substantial blog post to flesh out this show, but I sure as shit cannot. All I can tell you is to give this show a try, because it’s damn bloody good. I’m just not smart enough to tell you why!

 

And with that confusing, useless, utterly insubstantial piece on the greatest visual masterpiece of 2016, I conclude my top 5 list of shows from last year!!

 

Honourable mentions go to:

 

  • Cisco Ramon/Carlos Valdes’s performance in Flash (as well as extended CW/DC universes)
  • Elektra and The Punisher in the otherwise dull second season of Daredevil
  • The Christmas/Holiday special of Sense8
  • Sansa Starks performance in the ever-deviating TV adaption of Game of Thrones

 

And with that, this pretty much wraps up all of what brought me joy in 2016! I’m excited for what media I’ll get to consume this year, although I truly have not held my breath over anything yet.