One of the biggest surprises of 2015 for me, Mr. Robot hooked me from day one until it’s satisfying season 1 conclusion last night. Probably the darkest show I’ve seen on a television network full of colorful geniuses like Monk, Psych and Burn Notice, USA Network really upped their game on Mr. Robot. It’s worth your time to check it out.
The brainchild of Sam Esmail (Mockingbird, Comet), Mr. Robot follows a troubled hacker who doesn’t only hack websites, but people. How else can someone who can’t talk to others get to know them? Hack them of course! Concerned your friends are hiding something? Look at their e-mail and social media accounts. Does your therapist seem pre-occupied? Maybe she’s started dating again, let’s see who she’s met. Does someone important to you have a cheating significant other? Blackmail them. Elliot, played by Rami Malek (Night at the Museum), is not your typical TV show personality. He’s not charismatic, he’s not a straight forward hero, but he is every bit as engaging as any TV show character I’ve ever met. I couldn’t help but align myself with his twisted, troubled, opiate-addicted misanthrope.
Despite a protagonist who serves more as as an anti-hero than hero, Mr. Robot has a clear Fight Club-esque goal: Social Change through financial revolution. Our society, in bondage to debt needs to be force fed change. fSociety, a group of hackers run by the titular Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), want to be the agents of this change. Their target? E(vil) Corp, a large conglomerate with their hands in every aspect of our society including banking, security and media. Our protagonist Elliot, who speaks more in his mind than to people, is thrust into fSociety’s midst upon a “chance” meeting with Mr. Robot. If his inner monologue could act, fSociety is what it would create. Each character, who are themselves every bit as interesting and bleak as Elliot, are equally integral to the story as it unravels over it’s ten episode arch.
Praise aside, it should be noted that many of the topics breached in Mr. Robot are not appropriate for all ages. The prevalent presence of drug use, language (though bleeped), violence, infidelity and sex were unexpected on a network that usually skews much more towards family audiences. The only silver lining to the inclusion of these themes is that none of them are shown in a positive light. No action is without consequence and many lives are left in tatters due to decisions made. Including a character who’s life falls apart after he shares his infidelity with his wife only to be outed further by the Ashley Madison hack. That being said, use your discretion before jumping head first into Mr. Robot.
From “eps1.0_hellofriend.mov” to “eps1.9_zer0-day.avi”, Mr. Robot remains engaging and interesting and has risen to the top of my list of favorite shows of 2015. It has already been setup for a second season and I can’t wait.
Have you seen Mr. Robot? What did you think about it? let us know in the comments below.