Tuesday, 15 September 2015

TV: Mr. Robot

"Put simply, Mr. Robot is essential viewing."

Rami Malek plays hacker Elliot Alderson in Mr Robot.
There are some TV shows which build up slowly and perhaps by the end of the first season or later you realise you love the show.  Then there are other shows which capture your interest fairly quickly and by the end of the first episode you're a fan.  And then there are shows which firmly grab your attention right from the opening scene.  Mr. Robot falls into this final category, and within the first few minutes I was already confident I was going to love this show.

To outline the basic plot, Mr. Robot is a 'hactivist' (played by Christian Slater) who assembles a team of underground hackers known as fsociety to go after and bring down E Corp, one of the world's biggest corporations.  The story is told from the perspective of Elliot Alderson, a cyber-security programmer and talented hacker whose father was killed by E Corp's policy of putting corporate greed over human life, so E Corp are therefore appropriately referred to as Evil Corp throughout the series.

There are some clever twists along the way; some unexpected and also one big twist that most viewers will probably work out for themselves in advance of the big 'reveal'.  But with Mr. Robot, the foreseeable 'twist' is told with such brilliant story-telling that even though you expect it coming, it still adds to the overall intrigue.  And when it's finally revealed, although you're not surprised, it adds layers to the story and you're excited for how things will now progress.

To go off-topic for a moment, Will Smith once offered a philosophical quote on the time he turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix, when he commented, "I watched Keanu's performance, and very rarely do I say this, but I would have messed it up.  At that point I wasn't smart enough as an actor to let the movie be, whereas Keanu was smart enough to just let it be."  I totally get what Will's saying, and that's sort of how I feel about Rami Malek's performance as Elliot.  He understands the role perfectly and one of the factors in his brilliant performance is the way he knows when to provide the perfect emotional portrayal of what his character is going through, and when to step back and just let the story take the spotlight.

But in truth it's unfair to single out one aspect of Mr. Robot for praise over another, because everything about it is superbly executed.  The characters, the writing, the acting, the directing, the plot, intriguing sub-plots, interesting supporting characters, even the soundtrack ... pretty much all the ingredients fit together perfectly to produce an extremely addictive TV show.

Other fans have commented that Mr. Robot takes ideas from other TV shows and movies, and you will recognise some of the themes and ideas used, but they're all blended together in a unique way to make Mr. Robot one of the best TV shows of the last few years.  One slight concern when a show has such an impressive initial season, can be whether future seasons will maintain the momentum, but the reassuring news is that series creator Sam Esmail has indicated he has an overall outline for Mr. Robot, with an ending around four or five seasons away.  So there's a lot of story still to look forward to!

Mr. Robot is a technothriller, but it should appeal to anyone who appreciates thoroughly absorbing and gripping drama.  In recent years there have been a number of TV shows which have hooked me and had me looking forward to each week's episode, but few have captured my enthusiasm quite as emphatically as Mr. Robot.  Put simply, Mr. Robot is essential viewing.

Mr. Robot is now available to watch online and on demand:

Follow Mr. Robot on twitter and facebook:
Twitter: @whoismrrobot
Facebook:  facebook.com/whoismrrobot

Please note, all promotional images used on this blog remain the copyright of the respective publishers and are used in accordance with 'Fair Use' legislation for review purposes.

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