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

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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, EW.com, Twitch, Crave Online, IMDb, THR.com, TheVerge.com, Telemundo.com, Terra.com and Latina.com.

Watch the full pilot below:

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About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.