HBO is on the brink of debuting your new Sunday night TV obsession. After originally being picked up to series in 2013, "Westworld" hit a huge scheduling snag -- going on an official production hiatus earlier this year -- which made us wonder if the high concept program would ever see the light of day.
Thankfully it is finally hitting small-screens everywhere and from what we've seen, fans will not be disappointed. But, while the idea of a story that blends the science fiction and western genres is nothing new, we wanted to give you a brief explainer behind the new television series as there is some interesting history behind HBO's new show.
Way ahead of its time, "Westworld" was first presented to audiences in 1973 as a movie. Not only was Michael Crichton the writer of the script -- yes, the same Michael Crichton who dreamed up many bestsellers, including "Jurassic Park" -- he also made his directorial debut on the project.
In the movie version of "Westworld," visitors had the options of not just visiting the area of the theme park known as West World, but also two other regions: Roman World and Medieval World. From the footage we've viewed, we get the impression the new HBO series is making the old west its main focus. But who knows what will happen down the line?
Crichton's movie was enough of a hit that a sequel hit theaters in 1976 called "Futureworld." Starring Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner, with Yul Brynner reprising his role as The Gunslinger, the story took a turn into bonkers territory and didn't at all live up to the cult movie goodness of its predecessor.
With no room for another sequel, CBS stepped in and brought the familiar story to television. "Beyond Westworld" hit the small-screen in 1980 and the execution fell flat with audiences. Television wasn't ready to return to the high tech old west. After five episodes on the air, CBS pulled the plug.
It's been 43 years since Michael Crichton first invited audiences to "Westworld" and the doors to the theme park are about to open once again. Can HBO succeed where CBS failed? All signs are pointing to a resounding yes.
"Westworld" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.