My Favorite Things of 2016 - Day #4

I miss Person of Interest. Even if it ended when it should have, before any creative rot set in, I still miss it.

Thankfully creator Jonathon Nolan, and his creative partner Lisa Joy, had another tale about the repercussions of Artificial Intelligence ready for us to enjoy. Westworld has been another resounding success for both it's creators and for HBO, which has another tent-pole genre show to keep hold of the Games of Thrones crowd.

As we head into the season finale this evening, it seemed fitting to mention why this was my favorite show on TV this year.

There was always going to be a risk that this show could have disappeared down a LOST style rabbit hole of misdirection and unanswered questions. JJ Abrams presence as executive producer didn't exactly help mitigate that fear as we headed into the first season.

Instead, what we have is a series of wonderfully executed reveals. They ask questions of the audience, and then answer them. Even if you think you have figured out the next 'twist' (and the internet is excelling at just that), I find it rarely ruins the experience. Each of the pivotal moments are delivered with such brilliant pacing and performance that they are still gripping.

Why does it work?

The cast. Pure and simple.

If you credit Game of Thrones with doing a good job of casting, Westworld has done an exceptional one. At it's core Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Antony Hopkins, and Jeffery Wright are all at the absolute top of their game. That's high praise indeed for the likes of Hopkins, although honestly, Wood and Newton are the true revelations here.

Then you have excellent turns by the likes of Ed Harris, James Mardsen, Jimmi Simpson, and Ben Barnes breathing life into what could have been one dimensional characters. Even the background characters sport a talented supporting cast of character parts and bit players, that all seem to hit their marks perfectly.

This might be the best casting that I've seen, even for a high production cable show.

Such a cast allows the scripts to truly blossom, characters to emerge fully realized, and the reveals to be delivered with a precision rarely achieved on the small screen.

You should absolutely be watching this show.