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article imageOp-Ed: Why Mr. Robot is the best TV series of 2015

By David Silverberg     Sep 3, 2015 in Entertainment
When a show like Mr. Robot comes along, the world takes notice. As the debut season wrapped up last night, the passionate fandom over this series is well-deserved: the writing is sharp, the cinematography is stunning, and the big reveals drop jaws.
Don't worry, I'm not here to unveil the spoilers that will have you shaking your fist at me. Instead, I want to share with you the rare delight in finding a TV show that practically feels like Breaking Bad 2.0: Right from the pilot, I was hooked on Mr. Robot.
(Note that its season finale aired last night on USA Today)
A quick plot summary: Mr. Robot centres on Elliot [Rami Malek], a cyber-security expert and hacker who spends his off-work hours uncovering the crimes of those he finds despicable, such as a child pornographer in the pilot. Elliot knows how to gain access to computer files and servers, using hacking techniques that never leave a trail. For all his superheroism, Elliot can't socialize with people at work or at bars, and the viewer is unsure if he's suffering from a mental health disorder or feeling the after-effects of his hard drug use.
Screenshot from the Mr. Robot TV show
Screenshot from the Mr. Robot TV show
Courtesy USA Networks
When Elliot gets involved with a hacktivist group called fsociety, Mr. Robot picks up the pace and never stops gunning the engine. Christian Slater riffs off his Hackers role as the leader of fsociety, and Elliot gets quickly embroiled in their plot to take down the world economy.
The plot sounds basic enough, but what piqued my interest right from the pilot was how detailed and accurate the dev and cybersecurity details were in both dialogue and narration. I've scoured the Net to corroborate this gut feeling, and many pro hackers claim this show is finally getting it right. They're not just throwing out terms like "source info" and "honeypot servers" to sound tech-savvy; they use all the hacking details in the right context, which comes as no surprise once you learn that Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail used to work in IT and dabbled in hacking.
Part of what makes Mr. Robot so watchable is the writing. Esmail and his team craft dialogue that is both believable and crackling. Elliot's autistic personality is extremely realistic, as is the tension between company executives at E Corp and AllSafe, the two firms in the crosshairs of fsociety. It's the kind of writing that doesn't make you roll your eyes (looking at you, [i]The Strain[/i]), and it's generally supported by excellent acting performances, especially Malek as Elliot.
The direction is something special too. Some shots are so exquisite, it reminds me of those Breaking Bad shots laden with clues or misdirection. In fact, some of the cinematography is so gorgeous I almost want to watch the season again right now to see how certain shots are framed, what I might have missed.
Most importantly, Mr. Robot takes a critical look at how technology has overrun our lives and how we've been complacent in the face of corporate greed and economic chaos. We shrug off Enron tragedies and CEO overcompensation. I like how Grantland characterized Mr. Robot: "It holds up a black mirror to societal ugliness and doesn’t flinch at the reflection. But it also talks to us — often quite literally — in a way that encourages us to talk back."
And once you finish the first season of this astounding series (don't worry, a second season has been announced), you'll indeed want to talk about this show with your friends. You'll want to analyze what's real, what's fantasy, what the show teaches us about our own moral fibre.
There are few shows that offer more than just momentary entertainment. Mr. Robot is one of them. And season two can't come soon enough for us Robot heads.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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