Does Westworld really need the Game of Thrones-style sex and gore?

The q pop culture panel discusses the week's biggest entertainment stories.
HBO's new series Westworld is being touted as the next Game of Thrones. (HBO Canada)

Our q pop culture panellists — this week, Rachel Giese of Chatelaine, Esquire columnist Stephen Marche and CBC Radio 2's Amanda Parris — take on the worthy, contentious, and crazy stories from the week in arts and entertainment.

At issue today:

  • Luke Cage: After being introduced in last year's Jessica Jones series, Luke Cage was given his own Netflix series, which premiered this past weekend. Stephen hails the series as "one of the best" among all the Marvel franchises. It's the first Marvel series to star a black male lead, and Amanda notes the timing of the show is perhaps "an offering of healing to certain communities" in the midst of ongoing movements like Black Lives Matter. She adds, "to have a superhero who wears a hoodie, who has bullets bounce off his back ... it's a very interesting moment to have this type of a hero right now."
  • Westworld: HBO's new sci-fi series is being touted as the next Game of Thrones — but it also shares its penchant for sexualized violence. While Stephen argues that audiences gravitate to sex and violence, Rachel and Amanda contend that this level of "uncomfortable" viewing is not entirely necessary. "I love the ideas it raises, but I find watching it not to be an easy thing," says Rachel, who wonders what it means to be a consumer of violence. "I think, for me, there's a certain point where I can't see the buckets of blood, I can't see another woman be dragged off to be raped."