Just over five months ago, WIRE brought together a group of hardcore Game of Thrones fans to discuss the show's sixth season finale. One of our concerns was the news that the series would be concluding following its eighth season. That was followed by the report that both seasons would have significantly fewer numbers of episodes. So now that Game of Thrones is ending, what will be HBOs cash cow? All signs are pointing towards the Western-Sci-Fi-Mystery-Psychological-Thriller that is Westworld.
If you haven't picked up on HBO's newest program, the story takes place in a Western-themed amusement park populated by uncannily human-like androids. Wealthy clients flock to the park to immerse themselves into the environment and, well, do as they wish with the guests - befriend them, have sex with them, shoot them in the face. (Not always in that order). While their memories are wiped each day, a significant software update causes the androids to begin remembering past event. Given their not-so-thrilling memories of their human overlords, they begin to rebel. Thus begins a storyline full of twists, turns and lots of questions.
One of the most crucial details to Westworld is its soundtrack. No, it's not an Ennio Morricone facsimile by any means. The soundtrack manages to capture the sense of mystery and nostalgia that envelops the Westworld environment. Its mysterious tones will strike first-time viewers during the opening credits. Throughout the Game of Thrones program, we gave a shoutout to Ramin Djawadi, who scored the marvelous soundtrack to the series finale, The Winds of Winter. Djawadi returned to HBO this year to work on the Westworld theme song - a hauntingly cold, yet marvelous composure skillfully designed to chill you to your bones.
Within its first season, Westworld seamlessly blends classic hits with a Western flair. The first episode is complemented by Paint it Black and Black Hole Sun, which both pay tribute to the mystery surrounding the Man in Black character, and also inspires a sensation of nostalgia from the audience. If you're reading this college radio station blog, chances are you know the Soundgarden hit and most certainly are familiar with the Rolling Stone ballad. These, and several other alternative hits throughout the series are redesigned as Western ballads - complimented by organs, pianos, banjos, drums and dobros. Its a harmonious transition that works wonders for the atmosphere of the show.
Westworld's first season ended with critical acclaim. The final episode - while we won't go into the details - was called "shocking", "gruesome", and given the remark, "George R.R. Martin would be proud". Its conclusion was brilliantly paired with Radiohead's Exit Music (for a Film), a song that echoes a heart-wrenching chorus. Whoever wins in the end - humans or androids - we hope that they choke. Congratulations, HBO, you have another hit on your hands.
Catch our Westworld Finale Talk program this Saturday (12/10) at 3 PM during our 24-hour Charity broadcast! You won't want to miss it.