“Mr. Robot” is one of the best TV shows currently airing, and it has earned that title through clever writing, fascinating characters and a story that subverts any sense of what the audience thinks it could be from the beginning of the show.
The serialized drama premiered June 24, 2015 on the cable network USA and just recently finished its second season.
It follows protagonist Elliot Alderson, a security engineer at the fictional company Allsafe Cybersecurity in New York City.
He winds up teaming with the hacktivist group “Fsociety”, whose goal is to bring down E Corp, a corporation that essentially owns the fictionalized version of our world.
And if that sounds complicated, believe me, you have no idea.
The description I provided just barely scratches the surface of the show and the conspiracy that the members of “Fsociety” become crucially linked to in their goal to bring down E Corp over the course of the show.
One of the best things about the show is the fascinatingly human characters presented to the audience and how I felt like they were real people They have valid concerns and drives, and felt like I could relate with all of them.
Anderson, who is portrayed by Rami Malek, is an outsider in every sense of the word and his life isn’t something that anyone should strive for: he doesn’t like talking to or even interacting with other people. While that may be part of his social anxiety (as he says in the show), Malek’s performance sells the fact that Anderson is just about as alien as anyone living in New York City could be from the people that live around him.
I’m not the only fan of this incredibly heavy, yet brilliant show. The New York Times was certainly a fan of it, which Times contributor Neil Drummer emphasized in his article “Looking Back on ‘Mr. Robot’ and a Season of Hacker Drama.”
“It is that sort of stubbornly confident storytelling that has made Mr. Robot[…]one of the most acclaimed shows of the summer,” Drummer said.
“Even though Mr. Robot only premiered a little less than a year and a half ago, it’s already being praised for its storytelling. Critics have praised Mr. Malek’s performance, the show’s hacker-world verisimilitude and its visual aesthetic,” Drummer additionally said.
Mr. Robot’s second season, which could have flopped when compared to the season of “True Detective” that came before it, took the premise of the show and continued to extrapolate on it, providing some answers to questions that were asked in the first season, but also asking more questions than were answered.
However, even though I felt Mr. Robot continued to be a dark and brilliant show in its second season, not everyone felt the same, which resulted in a drop off of watchers.
Brandon Katz, a contributor to Forbes, talked about that fact in his article “Why is ‘Mr. Robot’ Deleting Viewers in Season Two?”
“Despite not being your typical cable program, season one averaged a solid 1.4 million Live+Same Day viewers[,] [while after] the end of Mr. Robot’s sophomore run, the show [found] itself averaging a forgettable 736,000 weekly eyeballs while receiving mixed reviews from critics,” Katz said.
Reading that, I was shocked because while the plot of the second season did have its ups-and-downs from week to week, the theme and tone of the show remained the same. To hear all the praise I thought it continued to get from critics, I believed the show was doing well.
But it appeared Katz was right when he said, “Unfortunately, season two has not carried that momentum over.”
Not everyone who was watching the show in season one continued to watch it in its second season, which made me discouraged about the future of the show.
That feeling was only heightened when I asked students here on Cal Lutheran’s Spine if they had watched Mr. Robot, only one of them said yes; while a few students said they’d heard of the show, more than half hadn’t heard of it. I figured this was predominantly due to how new the show is, but it still wasn’t a good sign.
And while I can’t reveal any significant plot points in Mr. Robot for fear of spoilers, the bottom line is this: everyone, should watch this show because it makes you think and question the authenticity of the world we all live in, which is something that more media needs to do to overcome low ratings.
The show deserves more credit.