I’ve never been a big television watching person. There are a few shows I watch here and there, became a fan of a handful, but for the most part I’ve stood on the sidelines as the big shows throughout the past few years have come and gone. (Name a mega popular show and chances are – I haven’t watched it and nor do I really care to either.) I’m not against television, I just need it to be something unique for it to interest me personally.
Late at night when I’m writing if I don’t have music on, I have my tv on for background noise. It was during these times that I kept catching the teaser for a new USA Network show, Mr. Robot. At first I didn’t give it much notice. Some of it’s promo even seemed hokey. The more the trailer was replayed the more I found myself watching it with newfound attention. I couldn’t figure out what the show was about (a purposeful, but smart move from producers) and it left me wondering. My attention was actually piqued from a 60-second teaser. Mr. Robot seemed different, so I gave it a try. I am so happy I did.
I knew I was hooked only a few minutes into the first episode. With three down now, it’s basically a full blown obsession. I don’t think I’ve ever had a series intrigue me as much as Mr. Robot has done so quickly. (The closest contender would be the first season of True Detective.) I’ve admittedly watched each episode that has aired multiple times. It’s THAT good!
The premise of Mr. Robot is about Elliot, a socially awkward and possibly delusional hacker who uses his free time to be a vigilante of sorts. During the premiere, he begins to be recruited by a mysterious group called fSociety. A band of outsiders who are sick and tired of the way things work in our day and age. fSociety has set out to take down E-Corp (rightfully nicknamed Evil Corp) by establishing the largest hack the world has ever witnessed and Elliot is the lynch pin to the entire operation.
I can’t wait to see where the story lines and characters go. It’s such a smart show that’s unlike anything I’ve seen before and keeps me putting pieces together each week. It’s a psychological thriller that’s equal parts realistic and unnerving.
Elliot’s internal monologue in his therapist’s office (via)
I’m not alone in my enjoyment of Mr. Robot it seems. It was renewed for a second season before it even aired – but no worries, as it dominated the ratings and still has grown in viewers each week. No other scripted cable tv premiere in 2015 has scored as high except for Better Call Saul and they already had a built in fan base. That’s failing to account for the long list of accolades and rave reviews from critics and fans alike.
Still not convinced Mr. Robot is worth the shot? Here are the biggest appeals of the show to me.
5 Reasons Mr. Robot is Compelling Television
- Unreliable Character Narration – Am I real? Is anything real? After watching a few episodes I feel like I’m questioning everything I’ve learned about the show. Elliot is the main narrator, but in his voiceovers even he wonders what is reality and what is fiction. It’s all woven together so flawlessly with the perfectly placed psychological elements it leaves you watching for the smallest glimpses of clues. It’s like playing the grown up version of Harriet the Spy.
- Complex Characters + Ace Acting – Slow clap for Rami Malek who plays Elliot. Where was he before this show? (
Answer, playing the Egyptian Prince in Night at The Museum but we’ll skip that part.) The way Malek portrays Elliot is raw and captivating. Elliot “connects” with those around him by hacking his loved ones and learning all their personal details because that is the only way he feels he can form a bond. You really get to feel like you’re seeing the world from his point of view and when a major part of the character is closed off that’s a difficult feat. It goes farther than that though. Every single character has been built with complexity and their story lines are slowly being built and connecting. It doesn’t feel garbled or overshadowed. In fact the diverse cast is what compels the show forward. For example, I thought Shayla was a complete throw away character after the first episode who we’d never see again, but she’s becoming an integral component.
- Use of Music – We’ve discussed I’m a music girl no? When someone can take a different art form and add select music to increase the emotion, point, or effect I am sold. Mr. Robot nails that. With everything from Mozart to Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” the songs have been perfectly placed for another layer of intricacy that I adore.
- Cultural Critique – The entire show is one big discussion of society. One of my favorite things is dissecting the world through a pop culture lens. Many people aren’t up for big analyses, but something like this challenges our everyday thoughts and makes us at least think about things around us. So far Mr. Robot has tackled the vast proportion of debt, greed, and loneliness in the social media age. It’s pretty spot on with how it handles it too – not forcefully shoved in your face, but an undercurrent of the episode’s story lines.
- Cinematography – GOODNESS THIS! There have been so many moments while watching Mr. Robot where I have found myself commenting on how excellent the framing of scenes have been. I’m not normally a person who finds the need to discuss that unless it’s truly something else. While I’d find myself raving about many shots, there’s one in particular that really stands out. After a character snorts morphine off a mirror and makes eye contact with the camera, but via the mirror. I had chills guys, CHILLS. If you’re a big film buff, you’ll find creator Sam Esmail giving nods to some of the greatest sequences on film. A pop culture easter egg heaven.
Check the trailer below that originally got me hooked and if you’re interested check your local listings for USA Network and Mr. Robot on Wednesday nights! (Also Tweet/Comment/Owl me to let me know you’re watching it too so we can discuss it all together.)
Have you watched Mr. Robot? What is your favorite part? If not, do you think you’ll give it a try?
P.S. – If Mr. Robot isn’t for you, check out my other must-watch tv recommendation of Shameless.
Until next time,