Violent ends: What to watch after ‘Westworld’ season 3 has finished
With season two of Westworld careering towards its end, you’re going to have a lot more time on your hands to ponder what exactly a dystopian future might look like.
Will it be filled with robots that only know about human behavior from our tweets? Will it be a world where the President is a megalomaniac who used to be the host of a reality TV show? Will it be like Idaho but only filled with Amish robots? Who knows? Well, some people think they do and they’ve even made TV shows about it for you to feast your eyes upon.
So now that there’s a Westworld-shaped hole left in your weekly viewing schedule, why not check out some of these shows to see if they’re a good fit for the terrifying future that awaits us.
Black Mirror (2011 – )
If you haven’t seen it already, we’ll just assume you live in a cave – but then how did you watch Westworld? Black Mirror features stand-alone episodes that are sharp, suspenseful, satirical tales that explore techno-paranoia, with the show’s title referring to the many black mirrors we now look into – phone, laptop, or Death Metal gig bathroom mirror.
The show is also a contemporary reworking of The Twilight Zone in many ways with stories that tap into the collective unease about the modern world.
Electric Dreams (2017 – )
This anthology sci-fi series is based on the works of Philip K. Dick 50s short stories. But while each of its ten episodes is based on one of Dick’s stories, it does use them (often quite loosely) as a jumping off point to explore contemporary or futuristic situations in which people find good reason to question the nature of their realities. Much like how it must feel to be a contestant on The Price is Right.
Altered Carbon (2018 – )
Altered Carbon is set in the 25th century when the human mind has been digitized and the soul itself is transferable from one body to the next. Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) – a former elite interstellar warrior known as an Envoy who has been imprisoned for 250 years – is downloaded into a future he’d previously tried to stop.
Wealthy businessman Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) offers him the chance to live again if he can solve the mystery of Bancroft’s murder. That might all sound a bit screwy, but if you’ve managed to get through Westworld without many questions, you should be good to go.
Humans (2015 – 2018)
Humans is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a Synth – a highly-developed robotic servant eerily similar to its live counterpart. In the hope of transforming the way they live, one strained suburban family purchases a refurbished synth only to discover that sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences – a bit like having a cat.
Mr. Robot (2015 – )
Mr. Robot follows Elliot (Rami Malek), a young programmer who works as a cyber-security engineer by day and as a vigilante hacker by night – though he’s likely free to hang out most weekends if you give him enough notice.
Elliot finds himself at a crossroads when the mysterious leader of an underground hacker group (Christian Slater) recruits him to destroy the firm he is paid to protect. A dream offer for most of us, especially anyone who has ever worked or is currently working at a Denny’s.
Almost Human (2013 – 2014)
In 2048, police officer John Kennex (Karl Urban) wakes up from a 17-month coma without his girlfriend, his partner, and one of his legs (a bit like he’s spent a weekend in Tijuana). While Kennex survived a catastrophic attack on the police department, his partner, relationship, and one limb did not.
Now outfitted with highly sophisticated synthetic appendage – along with depression, trauma onset OCD, and PTSD – Kennex is persuaded to come back to work. And as all cops are now required to work with a robot, Kennex must overcome his aversion to androids and get accustomed to his new partner – a discontinued android with unexpected emotional responses.
Numb3rs (2005 – 2010)
In the Los Angeles office of the FBI, Special Agent Don Eppes (Rob Morrow) and his team investigate critical and baffling crimes with a special edge.
That advantage is Don’s brother Charles Eppes (David Krumholtz) – a brilliant universalist mathematician who uses the science of mathematics with its complex equations to ferret out the most tricky criminals. And all your brother can do is belch the National Anthem, which in fairness is impressive in a different kind of way.
Orphan Black (2013 – 2017)
Orphan Black follows outsider, orphan, and street-wise chameleon Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) who after witnessing a woman’s suicide, assumes the stranger’s identity – who happens to look just like her.
Expecting to solve all her problems by cleaning out the dead woman’s savings, Sarah is instead thrust headlong into a kaleidoscopic mystery as she realizes the dizzying truth that she and the dead woman are clones – so taking the money was probably fine, right? – and there are more of them out there along with an assassin whose job it is to kill them.
Battlestar Galactica (2004 – 2009)
Battlestar Galactica was the hugely successful reimagining of the 1978 show of the same name. It garnered massive amounts of critical acclaim, was nominated for a boat load of Emmys, and was even placed on Time’s “100 Best TV Shows” ever.
So it’s a pretty safe bet that if you liked Westworld, you might just like Battlestar Galactica too. Although you will then have to break to your parents that you’re a fully fledged nerd after watching every single episode in one weekend.