After building up a sizable amount of positive buzz from the critics, HBO’s Westworld is returning with huge ambitions and equally large runtimes. The second season is packing in multiple worlds of imagination and violent pleasure, so it makes sense that squeezing it all into the typical 60-minute runtime for an episode of prestige TV wasn’t going to work out. Now we know for a fact that audiences can expect to be parked in front of their screens for a while longer over the course of the season.
Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy spoke with EW, telling them that much of the season takes advantage of HBO’s lack of commercials and more lenient and flexible runtimes.
“The second season the premiere is a little over 70 minutes,” Nolan says. “The fourth episode — which is one of my favorites — is a little longer than an hour. And the finale is just going to keep going and going — it’s a bit of an epic.”
Like the Energizer Bunny, the Westworld finale just won’t quit. And the Westworld creative team is selling it as a good thing, so it’s likely packed with explosive standoffs, breathtaking reveals, and clarifying solutions. Or it could just be a lot of setup for Season 3. Pirate World? Gladiator World?
While the episodes may be longer, critics haven’t minded at all — in fact, some of the longer episodes have gotten the most praise. That means the team is using its time wisely and not simply overpacking episodes full of misdirections — something that irked some critics during its debut season. Now, with the Man in Black and the rest of the returning crew facing down new and complex happenings, more could certainly mean better.
The HBO mystery robo-western returns this Sunday, April 22.