Mr. Robot: The Best Portrayal of Hackers Ever (Season 1)

Before Mr. Robot’s season one, dramatizing what hackers do was always a problem for film and TV. How do you make a guy typing on a computer console riveting? Past solutions include making the graphics of the actual hacking fantastical (Hackers, Swordfish), thus taking artistic license. Mr. Robot takes no such shortcuts, and the result is not only refreshing but one of the most engaging new shows airing right now.

How do they solve the problem? One answer is characterization. The show isn’t so much about the hacking (although there is plenty) but making the people who do it and their relationships fascinating, especially among Elliot, our hero, and his nemesis/champion Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Another answer is the realism: the show has technical advisors who know their stuff and even execute mock hacks to see if they’re achievable before okaying them for the show.

Part Fight Club, part psychological thriller, and part corporate espionage–the show intensely portrays anarchism and unrest along with the corporate-political reality we all experience on a daily basis. It also depicts the hardships of alienation and mental health. Besides a strange and an unnecessary detour the show takes with two ill-advised subplots, season one is smooth sailing with well-integrated techno-drama. The style is unique and cinematic, the acting is top-notch, and the story first rate. This show is for the Anonymous generation. I haven’t been so riveted by an opening title sequence like this since Lost. 


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M. J. Kelley

M. J. is an award-winning short fiction writer and author of a forthcoming nonfiction book. He loves science fiction, humor, & literary fiction and is the director of Write Draft Critique: the Virtual Writer Workshop.

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