BY ERIN QUALEY
On a recent episode of Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast, he interviewed Mr. Robot stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater about the success of the show. Hardwick is always adorkable, but he geeked out so hard over these two that I thought he might just lose his pop-culture loving mind.
He also mentioned something that had been ratting around in my brain ever since I started watching Mr. Robot. Is Mr. Robot the next Breaking Bad?
Ever since critical darling Breaking Bad signed off in September 2013, viewers have been looking for that next addictive show. You know the type. The show that you’re proud to proclaim from the rooftops is “your” show. The one that you watch time and time again, obsessing over twists, Easter eggs, and what’s to come. The characters are well drawn, well-loved, and the plot is so complex that you have hour long conversations with friends about the show. We love to be confused, shoved down an exhilarating rollercoaster of bewilderment and childlike wonder.
These types of shows pull at both our minds and hearts. Breaking Bad focused on Walter White’s ever present struggle with pride and fear – and now Mr. Robot has been tackling the ever relatable topic of depression and loneliness. Establishing characters with genuinely flawed personalities makes a show one that we’re more likely to revisit again and again.
Sure, there are other shows that fill the Breaking Bad void on TV. The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are fan favorites, but neither are rooted in the “real” world, and, face it, both deal more with shock and awe rather than showcasing naturalistic psychological twists of human behavior.
So far Mr. Robot seems to hit all the requirements to be the “new” Breaking Bad, but there’s one more thing. The showrunner. Both Breaking Bad and Mr. Robot were created by dedicated masterminds who pulled the strings behind the scenes. AMC and USA Network were smart to let Vince Gilligan and Sam Esmail call the shots, and run the shows the way they saw fit, with very little interference. A singular, obsessive vision can go a long way toward making a show great.
Mr. Robot Season Two wish list – an episode directed by Vince Gilligan. A girl can dream, can’t she?