I recently lucked into a smart TV that includes a bunch of built in apps —including an on-demand version of Foxtel. As well as giving me legal unlimited access to the best of HBO (yep, I finally watched The Sopranos), I get my hands on episodes of the two best shows currently on TV — The Americans and Westworld.
The Americans, now in its final few episodes, is coming to a denouement that I can’t yet work out. Paige as trainee assassin seems like a red herring, but what can the final end be? That the family’s constantly breakfast-eating son has been a double agent the entire time, working with Stan to bring down the family? Oh, I hope so.
I’ve made a lot of jokes about Westworld (It’s Jurassic Park where you can fuck the T-Rex!), but it has become a truly interesting show. The theme of worker revolt against a system beyond their control? That seems to be table stakes to me. The Baudrillardian hard-on that some folks have for the show (including my friend Helen Razer — is this all a quest to create true thinking machines?) is to me ultimately boring.
What makes the show truly astonishing is its straightforward portrayal of what is essentially a Marxist revolution, with the most striking aspect being the vanguard of the revolution, Dolores, being willing to kill as many of her fellow comrades as necessary to wake them from their slumber of false consciousness.
How long can we expect to see a show with these intellectual underpinnings continue t be given a budget that’s reportedly near $USD 10 million per episode?
I don’t know, but I do know that I am going to watch the first Shogun World episode a few more times, and I recommend that you do too.