TV Review: USA Network’s ‘MR. ROBOT’ Redefines Good Television


11146569_913773262022951_4232384404809680435_nPreston Barta // Features Editor

MR. ROBOT | 60 min | TV-14
Creator: Sam Esmail
Cast: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday, Armand Schultz, Martin Wallström, Gloria Reuben and Bruce Altman

Hacking and technological scares are not new to the world of television and film. It’s a subject that has been covered countless times. However, how computers and technology are depicted in the two mediums remains a problem. Most shows completely overstate the capabilities, or they’re just plain irrational. Very rarely is it ever taken remotely serious. Enter MR. ROBOT, USA Networks’ new thriller series that hits all the right keystrokes.

This summer, USA invites audiences to journey down the cyber rabbit hole, where we follow a cyber-security engineer named Elliot (an excellent Rami Malek) who spends his nights hacking into people’s personal accounts, exposing their hidden crimes. He’s like the Robin Hood of the Internet, and you’ll see how much truth is in that statement as the show progresses.

But who is Mr. Robot? We’ve seen USA advertise the question all over the net. Well, we’ll let that continue to remain a mystery for now (until you see the series opener).

MR. ROBOT hacks into USA Network's summer TV lineup. Pictured: Rami Malek and Christian Slater. Photo courtesy of USA Network.

MR. ROBOT hacks into USA Network’s summer TV lineup. Pictured: Rami Malek and Christian Slater. Photo courtesy of USA Network.

The show’s pilot premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival back in March, which went on to take home the coveted Audience Award, and with good reason. There’s something strikingly magnetic about MR. ROBOT— it immerses you into a mood and atmosphere without feeling the need to ground that mood in anything but itself, and it looks great doing it in the process (especially with its gorgeous cinematography and pulsing music throughout). The aesthetics are well balanced by the engaging performances and poetic, Aaron Sorkin-like dialogue from creator/executive producer Sam Esmail.

MR. ROBOT shows grand promise of a great new show for audiences to eat up in a post-BREAKING BAD world. It premieres on USA later next month and I’m already looking forward to where the show will go from here. Esmail crafts a thriller that presents hacking in a non-ridiculous manner. I just hope he finds the right audience so we can continue to see what more comes from his genius pen.

The pilot episode (directed by THE GIRL WITH DRAGON TATTOO‘s Niels Arden Oplev) is available for streaming today ahead of its linear debut on June 24 on both English and Hispanic VOD, Digital and TVE Platforms Including: Xfinity On Demand, iTunes, Amazon, XBOX, Google Play, Vudu, PlayStation, M-GO, YouTube, Hulu,, Twitch, Crave Online, IMDb,,,, and

Watch the full pilot below:

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About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.