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Westworld

WestworldThe future: vacationgoers flock to Delos, where, for a thousand dollars a day, they can experience the dangers and delights of bygone eras in one of three large-scale simulations populated entirely by robots – Medieval World, Roman World, or Western World. Chicago lawyer Peter Martin decides to give the old west a try, and meets John Blane, a fellow vacationer who has visited Western World in the past, on the hovercraft flight to Delos. When they arrive, they don appropriate old west clothes and are issued real six shooters, though they’re modified so the vacation-goers can’t shoot each other, only the robots. Outfitted for their new lives as lawless cowboys, Martin and Blane step into…

The Old West: The frontier of 1880s America proves to be less luxurious than Martin expects. But after his first shootout with a mysterious gunslingers – a robot, of course – he begins to see the appeal; when Blane introduces him to robot women programmed to submit to paying customers’ sexual advances, he sees even more appeal. Other vacationers in the Roman and Medieval Worlds experience similar delights with a clear conscience, since the “locals” they are fighting, killing, or seducing are merely robots; any robots “killed” in action are repaired and returned to their scenarios. But some of the robots show increasing signs of malfunction, including disobeying their programming. The freshly repaired mysterious gunslinger kills Blane and pursues Martin even beyond the boundaries of Western World. Martin has no future to return to unless he can escape or find a way to kill his seemingly impervious pursuer.

written by Michael Crichton
directed by Michael Crichton
music by Fred Karlin

WestworldCast: Yul Brynner (The Gunslinger), Richard Benjamin (Peter Martin), James Brolin (John Blane), Norman Bartold (Mediaval Knight), Alan Oppenheimer (Chief Supervisor), Victoria Shaw (Medieval Queen), Dick Van Patten (Banker), Linda Scott (Arlette), Steve Franken (Technician), Michael Mikler (Black Knight), Terry Wilson (Sheriff), Majel Barrett (Miss Carrie), Anne Randall (Daphne), Julie Marcus (Girl in dungeon)

WestworldNotes: The opening “TV interview” segment setting up the movie’s backstory was a very late addition to the movie, and was written by a non-union advertising executive due to a Writers’ Guild strike taking place late in production. Having scored a success with The Andromeda Strain (adapted from his own novel), Crichton made his big-screen directing debut here in addition to having written the script. (He had already directed a TV movie called Pursuit which had aired in 1972 on ABC.) With MGM calling the shots on casting, budget, and a final edit of the script, Crichton had only a month and a little over a million dollars to shoot Westworld. (Despite this, Richard Benjamin, better known for comedy roles, considers it one of his better movie-making experiences. Benjamin would go on to star in the ’70s NBC sci-fi spoof, Quark.)

WestworldWestworld also offers a rare non-Star-Trek role for Majel Barrett, the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Yul Brynner appears in one of his final film roles before returning to the stage full-time; he would put in a cameo appearance in 1976’s sequel film, Futureworld, which which Crichton was not involved even at the story level.

LogBook entry and review by Earl Green Continue reading

Westworld Destroyed

Beyond WestworldWestworld has fallen. Security consultant John Moore, who set up security measures for Westworld before it opened, is brought in to help Delos Corporation account for all of the robots left over from Westworld. Simon Quaid, a brilliant but twisted cyberneticist who helped Joseph Oppenheimer create the Westworld robots, is fully capable of reprogramming any of them to do his bidding – including infiltrating the crew of a Navy nuclear submarine. Moore gets a crash course in how the robots work, and how there’s no one handy wait to shut them all down: different robots have different programs, hardware and abilities for different tasks, and a different way must be found to shut down each one. Moore and a member of Delos, Laura Garvey, get special clearance to be aboard the sub before it ships out to sea…and once there, even if the robot is found, Moore will have to improvise quickly to keep it from nuking the mainland United States.

written by Lou Shaw
directed by Ted Post
music by George Romanis

Beyond WestworldCast: Jim McMullan (John Moore), James Wainwright (Simon Quaid), Judith Chapman (Laura Garvey), William Jordan (Joseph Oppenheimer), Stewart Moss (Foley), Dennis Holahan (Captain Farrell), Morgan Paull (Parker), John Kirby (Dudley), Paul Henry Itkin (Horton), Mo Lauren (Jan), Nancy McCurry (Roberta), Nicholas Guest (Sailor), Larry Levine (Technician), Cassandra Peterson (Dance Hall Girl), Edward A. Coch Jr. (Chubby Gunman), Alex Kubik (Gunfighter)

Notes: Produced by Star Trek veterans John Meredyth Lucas and Fred Freiberger, Beyond Westworld actually has very little to do with Westworld itself; it uses Westworld as a “home base” for its recurring villain, and features “control room” footage from the 1973 movie. Perhaps most curiously of all, where Westworld took place in an unspecified future era where hovercraft travel is the norm, Beyond Westworld curiously rewinds things and places it in a setting much closer to the modern day. And yes, that is a pre-Elvira Cassandra Beyond WestworldPeterson in a background part, and you do hear the familiar Enterprise bridge background sound effects in the Westworld control room – just the latest of a long string of appearances in other series since Star Trek had gone off the air in 1969. Somewhat unenviably stepping into the shoes of Yul Brynner for the small screen is actor Alex Kubik in an early TV role; he went on to appear in CHiPS, Airwolf, The Dukes Of Hazzard and Knight Rider.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

My Brother’s Keeper

Beyond WestworldWeighed down by gambling debts, Nick Stoner is a rarity: an heir to an oil fortune who’s out of money. His sober-minded brother Dean runs the family business, and has bailed Nick out of trouble repeatedly. But someone else knows about this dynamic: Quaid zeroes in on Nick, offering to clear all of his debts permanently. All Rick has to do is sign over the entire oil operation to Quaid, and he happily signs his name since, as only half-heir, the family fortune isn’t his to give away – the agreement is invalid. It’s not until later that he realizes that a hit will now be out on Dean; if his brother dies mysteriously, Nick really has handed Stoner Oil over to Quaid. John Moore and Delos are contacted, since Quaid almost certainly has robots in place to carry out the hit on Dean. With Special Agent Pam Williams helping undercover, Moore has to figure out which member of a pro football team owned by Dean Stoner is the killer.

teleplay by Lou Shaw
story by Howard Dimsdale
directed by Rod Holcomb
music by George Romanis

Beyond WestworldCast: Jim McMullan (John Moore), James Wainwright (Simon Quaid), Connie Sellecca (Pamela Williams), William Jordan (Joseph Oppenheimer), Christopher Connelly (Nick Stoner), Jeff Cooper (Dean Stoner), Denny Miller (Earl Case), John Shearn (Jason), Jack Carter (Charles Vincent), Delvin Williams (End), Anthony A.D. Davis (Mike Roth), Bobby Van (Danny), Severn Darden (Foley), Ann McCurry (Roberta), Greg Lewis (Stickman), Inga Nielsen (Woman), William Elliott (Police Offier), Ben Fuhrman (Security Guard), David Bedell (Reporter)

Notes: Replacing the female lead in this first post-pilot episode is future Greatest American Hero co-star Connie Sellecca. Her character has a past with Moore (apparently both a working and a romantic past) and a past with Quaid (from prior work at Delos). Former Dobie Gillis star and game show host Bobby Beyond WestworldVan makes one of his final appearances here, shortly before his death of a malignant brain tumor in July 1980 (he had been diagnosed in 1979 and continued working). One of the former stars of Wagon Train, Denny Miller (1934-2014) also appeared in Voyagers!, Buck Rogers In The 25th Century, Quark, The Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica, and the original V miniseries. Real football players Anthony Davis (formerly of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the L.A. Rams and the Houston Oilers) and Delvin Williams (San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins) appear as members of Dean Stoner’s unspecified (but presumably pro) football team.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Sound Of Terror

Beyond WestworldThe rock band Power & Ruth has a loyal following and a social conscience, stopping to play an impromptu anti-nuke protest concert just outside of a nuclear power plant. But during that gig, someone breaks into the plant and steals uranium. A robot replica is suspected, and Delos once again puts Moore and Pam on the case. Posing as Power & Ruth’s new PR agents, the two get to know each member of the band, trying to work out which member of the band or its road crew is most like a uranium-stealing robot. In the meantime, Quaid awaits delivery of the uranium, which he plans to hand over to an unscrupulous Middle Eastern dictator who will have no qualms about using it as a weapon.

written by Martin Roth
directed by Paul Stanley
music by George Romanis
songs written and performed by Ronee Blakley

Beyond WestworldCast: Jim McMullan (John Moore), James Wainwright (Simon Quaid), Connie Sellecca (Pamela Williams), William Jordan (Joseph Oppenheimer), Ronee Blakley (Ruth Avery), Lawrence Casey (Ryder), Dirk Blocker (Mace), Ed Bernard (Doctor), Rene Auberjonois (Power), Severn Darden (Foley), Ann McCurry (Roberta), Louis Welch (Bobby Lee), Robert Ayers (Spooner), Dewayne Jessie (Lingo), Sirri Murad (Hakim Fadar), Mary Carver (Head Nurse)

Notes: This was the final episode of Beyond Westworld aired by CBS; the show’s dismal ratings were a threat to the remainder of CBS’ Wednesday night schedule in spring 1980 (taken up by the CBS Wednesday night movie), and the series was yanked with only two additional unaired episodes (The Lion and Takeover) having been produced. Beyond WestworldRene Auberjonois shapeshifted into the role of a rock star here, mere months before starting a regular stint on the sitcom Benson (and many years before starring in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Odo). Ronnie Sue Blakley had risen to stardom in the movie Nashville (1975), for which she was nominated for an Oscar; she later starred in A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), and in between made numerous TV guest appearances in the likes of Highway To Heaven, The Love Boat, Vega$ and Tales From The Darkside. She had a very real recording career in addition to her acting career, releasing several albums between 1972 and 2012, and wrote and performed her own songs in this episode. Like her character here, often played in support of political causes, including the presidential campaigns of Walter Mondale and Jerry Brown; unlike her character, she probably didn’t run into any killer nuke robots.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Original

WestworldVacationgoers flock to a futuristic, robot-populated amusement park, where, for a hefty fee, they can experience the dangers and delights of bygone eras – indulgences that tend to focus on sex, violence, or both. The robotic “hosts” are constantly maintained by a team of technicians, programmers, and scenario writers, and after each scenario reset, the robots’ memories are wiped…or at least, that’s the plan. Some of the robots begin exhibiting signs of a crippling existential awareness, to the point of total breakdown. It doesn’t help matters that a black-clad visitor to the park has made it his mission to torture various robots to the brink of total failure, searching for a “deeper level of the game”. As Dr. Ford, the creator of Westworld’s robots, diagnoses a troubling case of this existential breakdown, the robot he is examining demonstrates a disturbing awareness of who, what, and where it is…and promises revenge upon its creators. Another robot, the oldest one in the entire park, returns to her existence as farmgirl Dolores Abernathy, but she too has experienced an awakening. Despite these and other failures, Westworld remains open to paying guests.

telepaly by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
story by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy and Michael Crichton
directed by Jonathan Nolan
music by Ramin Djawadi

WestworldCast: Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), Thandie Newton (Maeve Millay), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard Lowe), James Marsden (Teddy Flood), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Armistice), Luke Hemsworth (Stubbs), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Theresa Cullen), Simon Quarterman (Lee Sizemore), Rodrigo Santoro (Hector Escaton), Angela Sarafyan (Clementine Pennyfeather), Shannon Woodward (Elsie Hughes), Ed Harris (The Man in Black), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Louis Herthum (Peter Abernathy), Steven Ogg (Rebus), Michael Wincott (Old Bill), Eddie Rouse (Kissy), Brian Howe (Sheriff Pickett), Demetrius Grosse (Deputy Foss), Ptolemy Slocum (Sylvester), Leonardo Nam (Lutz), Kyle Bornheimer (Clarence), Bradford Tatum (Bartender / New Abernathy), Lena Georgas (Lori), Currie Graham (Craig), Timothy Lee DePriest (Walter), Jeff Daniel Phillips (Tenderloin), Bridgid Coulter (Mother of Young Boy), Regi Davis (Father of Young Boy), Mataeo Mingo (Boy of 8), Trevante Rhodes (Bachelor), Micky Shiloah (Bachelor), Keller Wortham (Bachelor), Olivia May (Hooker), Jackie Moore (Hooker), Alex Marshall-Brown (Hooker), Jeffrey Muller (Man on Train), Brook Kerr (Woman on Train), Bradley Snedeker (Passenger), Patrick Quinlan (Passenger), Bianca Lopez (Diagnostic Programmer), WestworldMolly Schreiber (Bachelorette), Stefanie Chin (Girlfriend), Joshua Sawtell (Controller), Nihan Gur (Female Laughing Host)

Notes: Actor Eddie Rouse (American Gangster, Pineapple Express), died of liver failure several weeks after filming his role in the Westworld pilot in 2014. The character of Kissy was meant to be a recurring role for him; the pilot episode is dedicated to his memory.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Chestnut

WestworldNew players arrive at Westworld, ready to try their hand at lawless frontier life. William, coaxed into visiting Westworld by his wife’s brother, is reluctant to indulge in the seedier side of the park’s offerings, whereas most of the park’s typical storylines and diversions are simply too tame for his brother-in-law, who urges him to go “black hat”. A chance exchange between Dolores and Maeve fills Maeve’s head with strange thoughts, and like Dolores, she begins remembering past scenarios that have supposedly been wiped from her memory. Westworld’s board of directors grows restless about return business, and an ambitious young scenarist devises and proposes a new plotline for the park, which Ford promptly shoots down on the ground that obvious, tawdry thrills are not what Westworld is about. As she is being cleaned and prepared for another day’s duty in the park, Maeve awakens in a strange new world – one in which she sees fellow hosts being treated like objects.

written by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy
directed by Richard J. Lewis
music by Ramin Djawadi

WestworldCast: Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), Thandie Newton (Maeve Millay), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard Lowe), James Marsden (Teddy Flood), Ben Barnes (Logan), Clifton Collins Jr. (Lawrence), Luke Hemsworth (Stubbs), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Theresa Cullen), Simon Quarterman (Lee Sizemore), Angela Sarafyan (Clementine Pennyfeather), Jimmi Simpson (William), Shannon Woodward (Elsie Hughes), Ed Harris (The Man in Black), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Ptolemy Slocum (Sylvester), Leonardo Nam (Lutz), Talulah Riley (Angela), Louis Herthum (Peter Abernathy), Oliver Bell (Little Boy), Izabella Alvarez (Lawrence’s Daughter), Olga Aguilar (Lawrence’s Wife), Price Carson (Barkeep), Christopher Cedeno (Last Gunman), Sal Lopez (Cigarillo), Will Pinson Rose (Behavior Tech), Eric Ramey (Narrative Tech), Nanrisa Induk Lee (Narrative Tech), Carlos E. Campos (Surveillance Tech), Tai Bennett (Controller), Diana Toshiko (Costumer), Kiki McCleary (Stewardess), Jackie Moore (Mariposa Girl), Nathalia Castellon (Mariposa Girl), Patrick Gorman (Eye Patch), Josh Clark (Sheriff Reid), Granville Ames (Union Recruiter), Bradley Fisher (Mariposa Bartender), Tim Fox (Burley Guest), Christine Weatherup (Female Guest), Lucas Peterson (Shy Guest), Michael L. Bash (Spellbound Guest), Jasmyn Rae (Homestead Girl)

WestworldNotes: Making the first of two appearances in the first season of Westworld is actor Josh Clark, who appeared as Lt. Carey in several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and, ironically, as another sheriff in several episodes of Heroes. He’s also appeared in Babylon 5, Millennium, Mad Men, and Agents Of SHIELD. Granville Ames is a fellow veteran of both Babylon 5 and the Star Trek franchise.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

The Stray

WestworldHaving spent a day in Westworld, William finally gets into character and shoots down a bandit, discovering in the process that he himself can’t be killed, even if he’s shot. Dolores and Maeve continue remembering brutal past incidents that they should be incapable of remembering. Bernard confronts Ford about the odd behavior of some of the hosts, learning that Ford’s original partner, a man named Arnold, tried to imbue the hosts with true consciousness, but died in the park before he could succeed, with all records of the incident scrubbed from Westworld’s official history. Ford develops a new narrative of his own, involving a hunt for a savage outlaw named Wyatt, while two Westworld employees go searching for a “stray” host who has mysteriously gone off-program. Dolores also breaks free of her programming, tired of being brutalized by visitors, discovering in the process that they can be killed.

written by Daniel T. Thomsen & Lisa Joy
directed by Neil Marshall
music by Ramin Djawadi

WestworldCast: Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy), Thandie Newton (Maeve Millay), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard Lowe), James Marsden (Teddy Flood), Ben Barnes (Logan), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Armistice), Luke Hemsworth (Stubbs), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Theresa Cullen), Simon Quarterman (Lee Sizemore), Angela Sarafyan (Clementine Pennyfeather), Jimmi Simpson (William), Shannon Woodward (Elsie Hughes), Ed Harris (The Man in Black), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Robert Ford), Louis Herthum (Old Peter Abernathy), Bradford Tatum (New Peter Abernathy), Steven Ogg (Rebus), Bojana Novakovic (Marti), Talulah Riley (Angela), Gina Torres (Lauren), Brian Howe (Sheriff Pickett), Demetrius Grosse (Deputy Foss), Eddie Shin (Henry), Chris Browning (Holden), Timothy DePriest (Old Waiter), Ward Roberts (New Waiter), Bruno Gunn (Walrus), Darrel Cherney (Horace), Kanin Howell (Ivan), Paul-Mikel Williams (Charlie), Tait Fletcher (Woodcutter), Tom Proctor (Cookie), Travis Johns (Python Cowboy), Joshua Dov (Python Cowboy), Chris Mollica (Sinister Guest), Dusty Sorg (Sketchy Guest), Travis Hammer (Leering Guest), Paul Fox (Young Doctor), Sorin Brouwers (Wyatt), Con Schell (Deputy Rodgers), Bradley Fisher (Mariposa Bartender), Shvona Chung (Field Tech), Sheldon Coolman (Field Tech)

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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