BY HARRI SARGEANT
Because our democracy isn’t going to hack itself.
Mr. Robot is television’s breakout summer hit and USA Network’s latest offering has delighted critics and fans alike with its refreshingly unique take on hackers, capitalism, and mental health. Following a drug addicted vigilante hacker with a social anxiety disorder and clinical depression, the show explores some controversial debates in dynamic ways.
But, of course, you knew all of that already. You know Elliot Alderson is the best new protagonist of 2015, and that Mr. Robot features a diverse and likeable cast of supporting characters, as well as the most delightfully psychotic villain to hit the small screen since Sherlock‘s Moriarty. You know it has some of the most intelligent writing, ingenious directing, and some of the most jaw-dropping twists in the industry. But your friends don’t. And we know how it is, your friends will never listen to your recommendations. But fear not, because we’ve got your back. Just send them here, and by the time they’ve finished reading this article they’ll be the newest members of f-society.
Been sent here by your friend, after weeks of them nagging at you to watch it? Prepare to be convinced…
You’ve never seen anything like it
And no, we’re not just talking about the hip and trendy hacking sub-genre. Though it’s worth noting, this isn’t just another CSI: Cyber. There’s no clichéd tropes, and it’s not all just people staring at computer screens – this show is about characters, their motivations, and their morals. But what makes it truly unique is its entire approach to big issues.
Unlike the rest of television, Mr. Robot is critical of capitalism, corporations, and our society in general. What’s more, it celebrates hacktivism and people power, and doesn’t demonize drug users. Whether or not you agree with this outlook is irrelevant, the fact that the show goes against the grain of the rest of the industry offers a unique perspective on the world.
A relatable A protagonist that taps into our cynical side
Elliot Alderson is a profoundly troubled young man, suffering from social anxiety disorders and clinical depression. We experience most of the show’s action through Elliot’s eyes, playing his imaginary friend as we listen to his cutting narration of every development. And the character taps into the cynical psyche that all of us have but usually keep to ourselves: our disdain for the sheep-like behaviour of other people, our troubles and doubts about everyday social interactions, and our general apathy for everyone and everything. As a lead, Elliot is more refreshing and interesting than anyone you’ve seen before.
A unique way to tell a story
Even if you were to forget all of Mr. Robot‘s numerous other strengths, the way it tells its story is reason to watch the show alone. Elliot despises E Corp, the jack-of-all-trades corporation that caters to society’s every whim (but of course, does sinister things with all the data it has), choosing instead to call it Evil Corp.
Once he’s established that fact, every single character (including the company’s own board members) refer to it as Evil Corp. Elliot also hates the F-word, so every instance of it is part censored. These tiny details really make the process of watching the show really interesting, with the audience really feeling like they’re getting inside the hacker’s head
Twists and turns
Following on from our previous point, the fact that we experience most of the show through Elliot’s eyes means we have ourselves an unreliable narrator. This means the show can get away with plenty of twists and turns, keeping even the most eagle eyed viewers guessing. Sure, the more perceptive of viewers may be able to pick up on the clues woven into the plot, but you’ll still find the rug is pulled from beneath your feet in one episode – only to be pulled the other way in the next instalment.
A plan for the future
Creator Sam Esmail has stated that he has a five year plan for Mr. Robot. This means the show has a defined beginning, middle, and end. Unlike many dramas which show great promise but either run out of steam or are dragged on and on until you WANT them to end, Mr. Robot is taking the Breaking Bad approach of a pre-determined endgame. Sure, it’s still early days – but Mr. Robot has the advantage of a promising premise AND a creator who values the integrity of their story.
Bonus: Ships Ahoy!
If you’re a fan who is inclined to ship their favorite characters, you’ll find there’s plenty of pairings to get behind. Be it Tyrelliot, Angelliot, or any other combination, you’ll find plenty of gifs and fan art on tumblr to satisfy your OTP needs.