Westworld is an American science fiction Western and dystopian television series created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. Produced by HBO, it is based on the 1973 film of the same name (written and directed by Michael Crichton) and, to a lesser extent, the film's 1976 sequel Futureworld. The story begins in Westworld, a fictional, technologically advanced Wild-West-themed amusement park populated by android "hosts". The park caters to high-paying "guests" who may indulge their wildest fantasies within the park without fear of retaliation from the hosts, who are prevented by their programming from harming humans. Later on, the series' plot expands to the real world, in the mid-21st century, where people's lives are driven and controlled by a powerful artificial intelligence named Rehoboam.
Nolan and Joy serve as executive producers, along with J. J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub, and Bryan Burk. The first season was broadcast between October 2 and December 4, 2016; it comprised ten episodes. In November 2016, HBO renewed the series for a ten-episode second season, which was broadcast from April 22 to June 24, 2018. Westworld's debut on HBO had the network's highest viewership ratings for a premiere since the first episode of True Detective in 2014. Moreover, the series ranks as the most-watched first season of any HBO original series. An eight-episode third season premiered on March 15, 2020 and concluded on May 3, 2020. In April 2020, HBO renewed the series for a fourth season.
The series has received mostly positive reviews from critics, with particular praise having been given for its visuals, story, and acting. The show maintained good reviews for the third season, but was less critically acclaimed than the first two.
Around 2058, Delos Inc. operates several themed parks, including the American Old West-themed Westworld. Each environment is populated by "hosts": androids, indistinguishable from humans, programmed to fulfill the guests' every desire, including violent and sexual ends, but unable to harm the guests. The operators create narratives for these hosts to repeat each day while interacting with guests, but wiping their memories each cycle.
In the first season, Dr. Robert Ford, who had developed the host technology along with Arnold Weber, implements a new "Reverie" update that causes some hosts, including Dolores Abernathy and Maeve Millay, to gain sentience. As Delos programming lead Bernard Lowe and executive board director Charlotte Hale try to debug the problem, the "Man in Black" tries to find "the maze" he believes Arnold left for him. Bernard discovers he himself is a host based upon Arnold, who had died in an earlier attempt to protect the hosts of Westworld, in whom he saw the potential for sentience, believing they would be abused by Delos. The first season ends as Dr. Ford announces a new story just as Dolores kills him.
Dolores' revolution continues in the second season as she and other enlightened hosts massacre other human guests and Delos employees stranded in the park. Dolores takes an exceedingly confused Bernard to locate the Forge, a databank where Delos had secretly been recording all behavior from human guests to create algorithms for them as an attempt towards human immortality. Maeve seeks out her "daughter" despite knowing she is a host, and helps her and several other hosts to escape to the Sublime, a virtual space that humans cannot access. As Delos forces secure the park, Bernard creates a Charlotte-host for Dolores, who subsequently is able to evacuate from the park with five host cores in addition to Bernard's. William struggles with his human identity after killing his daughter Emily, unsure if she was part of Dr. Ford's challenge.
Within the third season, Dolores has recreated her host body, Bernard's host copy, and that of others including a new Charlotte host. She seeks out information on Rehoboam, an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed by Incite, Inc., and plans to take the fight to its creator, Engerraund Serac. Bernard, who is still believed to be human by the rest of the world, is blamed for the Westworld massacre, and he takes on a new identity while trying to understand what Dolores's plans are. Maeve is sought by Serac to help in his fight against Dolores, who he believes will bring down his plans for Rehoboam.