Decrypted, Ars Technica's TV podcast

Welcome to Decrypted, Ars Technica's weekly podcast that follows TV shows like Mr. Robot and Westworld. We'll be diving into the shows in a way only Ars can—which is to say it'll be thorough, we'll talk with experts, and no detail is too minute or nerdy. // Mr. Robot S2 starts 7/13/16. Show is produced and hosted by Nathan Mattise. // Westworld S1 starts 10/2/16. Show is produced and hosted by Annalee Newitz, co-produced by Jennifer Hahn.
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Decrypted, Ars Technica's TV podcast


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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 29, 2016

This week's guest is Norman Chan, co-founder of Tested, where he writes and makes videos about science, technology, and pop culture. He is a huge fan of Westworld, and has some fascinating observations about which robot characters are the most realistic.

Topics discussed: The big reveal about Arnold (and what this says about Ford's plans); timeframes and robot memory (this is a lot more complex than a "dual timeline" theory); long loops and short loops (and OMG we are starting to think a lot about Matrix: Reloaded); what the robot revolution will really be like (and how maybe we don't really want to see the robots leave Westworld); how the show really sells us on robots (it's not the effects; it's the acting); robot therapy (which involves nuking your memories); Maeve's incredible scene with Bernard (one of the most intense moments in the show so far); what needs to get resolved this season and what we are OK with leaving until season 2 (seriously we don't mind waiting to know more about the Delos plot).

Nov 22, 2016

Topics discussed: Why the MIB is really looking for the maze (he wants a game with consequences), what makes the gameplay in Westworld so unsatisfying (there's no Minecraft element to it), Jane's so-crazy-it-just-might-work theory about who the MIB really is (and what the maze really is too!), how many timelines are floating around inside Dolores' head (yes we are finally coming around to the multiple timeline idea), whether it's cheating on your partner if you have sex with a robot (it's more complicated than you might think), how many people are actually robots (it could be everybody), Maeve's incredible new story-changing abilities (she's the ultimate gamer now), the tragedy of loops (and the horror of memory), how Westworld invites viewers to interact with the series like it's a game (and stay up late reading theories on Reddit), and whether there's something inherently limiting about the Western story (maybe we're about to see Futureworld soon?).

Nov 15, 2016

Topics discussed: Metafiction (AKA fiction about fiction), what the hell with the Bernard reveal (really, what the hell), the challenge of telling a story that feels familiar yet surprising (and how Westworld did it), whether the robots are just like humans or radically different (yes and no), Ford's real motivations (it's complicated), how intellectual property might be the enemy of storytelling (or maybe not), whether stories can be dangerous (sometimes), what characters and ideas got Yu excited about writing for Westworld (hint: Bernard and metafiction), and why Felix is so important (he shows us a side of Westworld that no one else can).

Nov 8, 2016

Topics discussed: The unregistered robots (Ford's robot family is seriously creepy), the true meaning of the maze (and why Teddy has gotten so boring), Maeve's attribute matrix (and the greatest scene in the entire show), what it means to be trapped in a narrative (male and female roles for robots are both terrible), when will a guy have sex with a male robot (it can't happen soon enough), why the park offers no romance stories or female-centric adventures (what? ladies don't want sex?), and how Dolores and Maeve are trapped in the middle of an argument between Ford and Arnold (plus they are the ultimate victims of gaslighting).

Nov 1, 2016

Topics discussed: The state of Dolores' mind (Arnold and a bunch of other things are in her head), Ford's freaky conversation with the MIB (a treat to watch), the economics of Westworld (it's hemorrhaging cash), the economics of the real world (MIB says it's peachy, but the poor med tech Felix is terrified he'll lose his job), the two faces of Lawrence (El Lazo!), what's going on in Pariah (and are the Confederados linked to Wyatt?), how guns work in Westworld (here's what we've figured out so far), why it's important that the bots use GPS (we have to be on Earth, under open sky), and how the two most popular fan theories about Westworld just got nuked (bye bye double timeline).