HBO’s Next Sex & Violence Show Might Be Westworld

Oh the think pieces this will yield.

When HBO’s Westworld adaptation was announced I felt it could either elevate our discussions on consent through the eyes of artificial intelligence (as many AI stories before it have done) or it could easily fall into sex and violence for the sake of sex and violence.

It seemed in the wake of their other popular series heading off air, HBO were looking for a replacement and trying to turn it up to 11 with the next series. Sadly this first trailer does nothing to dissuade me from that thinking and might even have me more concerned about the inevitable “it’s not rape if it’s a robot” arguments.

You may remember the network got into some hot water last year when casting was looking for actors who “‘may be required to perform genital-to-genital touching, simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching, contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude, pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back, [and] ride on someone’s back while you are both fully nude.’ Less strenuously, others might simply ‘have [their] genitals painted.’”

What do you think? Will Westworld start off with debauchery but turn into an actual cautionary tale of right and wrong or will it just promote sexual violence?

The new series is set to debut in the Fall, was created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy with J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk serving as executive producers. It stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, and James Marsden.

4 Responses to “HBO’s Next Sex & Violence Show Might Be Westworld

  1. I’m looking forward to it.

  2. VindicaSean says:

    What I remember about the original movie WESTWORLD is that issues of consent *do* come up in the film. But because it’s a movie from the 1970s, it’s an issue raised in an odd way. The AI in the film all start acting wonky (with Yul Brenner’s gunslinger refusing to lay down after getting out-drawn in Westworld). My hazy memory of the movie has it that there’s a guy basically acting out a Henry VIII fantasy in a MedivealWorld setting, and his “wenches” put up considerably more of a fight than this creepy tech-tourist had gotten used to (I think they kill him, and he totally deserves it because seriously). So, the seed is there for that kind of stuff to come up.

    But all anyone ever really remembers of that movie is Yul Brenner going all Metallo on some cowboys. So it could go either way.

  3. I was excited about this show when I first heard about it, but then came those news about actors having to, basically, do porn, and that quickly killed my interest, exactly because I don’t think the discussions will go anywhere near the right direction.

    Honestly, right now, I’m afraid it’s just going to be another “sex & violence” standard HBO show, just sci-fi, instead of fantasy (like GoT). Also, I think this will be way too much male-centric, just like most of Nolan’s other works. I just hope Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton can get some good (and respectful) material to work with.

    (Of course, it’s also probably going to be HBO’s next money maker. Let’s just hope anything productive comes out of it – regarding consent)

  4. Adrian says:

    My hot take is that while I’m heartened by the presence of J.J. Abrams (he earned my trust from things he’s said during Star Wars), I’m not so sure about Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Nolan. They’re both accomplished show writers but I haven’t watched Person of Interest or Burn Notice, so I don’t know if they’ve tackled these themes before or how they handled them. I’m inclined to think they would understand and appreciate the nuances of say, sexuality versus sexualization, that they’re smarter on that front than GoT’s D&D, but I probably shouldn’t assume.

    In any case, I’m going to guess there will be some iffy parts in the first couple episodes, before we know where he show stands, and we won’t be able to make a definitive take until at least a few episodes in. By which point, they will have us in their trap.