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TV - Apr 5, 2018

Six wild Westworld factoids you need to know

If you missed out on the first season of HBO’s acclaimed western-meets-sci-fi drama series, here’s your chance to catch up before Season Two begins

The robots are back to dominate the small screen. Set in a seemingly real amusement park where visitors can play out their wildest western-themed fantasies amid surprisingly sentient androids, Westworld plunges into the eerie possibilities that artificial intelligence (AI) presents. With Season Two premiering on April 22, now’s the perfect time to catch up – if you haven’t already – on Season One, available for free on Rogers On Demand.

But before you start your binge-watching marathon, get a load of these must-know factoids.

1. Westworld broke all kinds of records

Thought Game of Thrones was a massive hit? Westworld’s success surpassed that of everyone’s favourite medieval drama, raking in millions of viewers per episode across multiple platforms. The show currently ranks as the most-watched debut season in TMN and HBO Canada history and the most-watched new series on Canadian speciality channels in 2016. What’s more: it’s received 22 Emmy® nominations – including acting noms for Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins – the most of any drama series in 2017.

2. What might have been . . .

The show boasts a stellar A-list cast, but before actors like Hopkins and Wright landed their gigs, other names were tossed around in the selection process. Early on, creators discussed having western-film veteran Clint Eastwood portray the Man in the Black until the role went to Ed Harris. Gary Oldman was considered for Wright’s character Bernard, and at one point Christopher Plummer was a possible candidate for Hopkins’s starring role as Dr. Robert Ford.

3. It was written by a guy who created another creepy theme park

Westworld is based on the eponymous 1973 film, which was written by American novelist Michael Crichton. Sound familiar? We’ll give you a hint: he also wrote another theme-park story featuring cloned dinosaurs.

4. Speaking of multiple theme parks . . .

Delos Inc. – the fictional company that runs Westworld – has its own real-life website (run by HBO). According to the site, which has now gone viral, the company owns a grand total of six theme parks, including Westworld, for people to experience at their convenience and pleasure. How long will it be until we see them all?

5. Inspired by video games

Fun fact for gaming addicts: Westworld showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy found inspiration for the show’s narrative from video games like Red Dead Redemption, BioShock Infinite and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Red Dead Redemption is a western-themed action game; BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter game set in the early 20th century; The Elder Scrolls V is an action-packed role-playing game. All of these elements and themes are used in the show.

6. Super Bowl commercial of nostalgia?

Did you catch Westworld’s epic Super Bowl trailer? It was created as a parody of traditional Super Bowl commercials of the past that featured the beauty of the U.S. Midwestern landscape and slow-motion clips of animal agriculture. These simplistic, nature-focused shots were juxtaposed against scenes from a significant battle sequence, not unlike what people witness when they attend a football match.

Get ready for the Season 2 premiere of Westworld by checking out the first season – now for free, only on Rogers On Demand (channel 100): look for it in the Freeview folder. This is also your chance to subscribe to TMN/HBO for $9.98 for your first four months – visit www.rogers.com/tmn for details.

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