Get ready to grab some popcorn and zip up your black hoodie, because “Mr. Robot” returns with its Season 2 premiere on July 13 (10 p.m. USA). If you haven’t yet watched Season 1 of “Mr. Robot,” close the blinds and binge-watch this show, which masterfully captures the spirit of hacktivist culture in a world that has witnessed the rise of Anonymous, the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.
Title: “Mr. Robot”
Year it began: 2015
Where it can be seen: USA Network; Amazon Prime
Who’s in it: Rami Malek; Christian Slater; Carly Chaikin; Portia Doubleday; Martin Wallström
Typical episode length: 45 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 10
Brief plot description: The show focuses on Elliot Alderson, a cybersecurity engineer who spends his off-hours as a vigilante hacker. Living alone in New York, the socially anxious Elliot often addresses the audience as his imaginary friend. After meeting a mysterious anarchist named Mr. Robot, Elliot becomes associated with Fsociety, a shadowy hacktivist group working to infiltrate the networks of E Corp, a massive financial conglomerate. As Fsociety’s plot accelerates, Elliot struggles to make sense of the many players involved.
Why it’s worth watching: Each episode of “Mr. Robot” offers a powerful cinematic experience, thanks to the boldness and seriousness of creator and showrunner Sam Esmail. “Mr. Robot” manages to be both dreamlike and realistic, conveying the paranoia and power of a financial system built on income inequality and digital vulnerability. Malek delivers a breathtaking performance as the unreliable hacker-narrator Elliot, whose fantasies and memories bleed into the show’s reality. Standout performances of this wonderfully cast show include Slater’s unhinged rebel Mr. Robot, Chaikin’s anarchic malware coder Darlene, Doubleday’s subtly intense Angela Moss, and Wallström’s quasi-psychotic executive (and computer expert) Tyrell Wellick. The show’s presentation of hacking culture is both engaging and meticulously detailed, offering authentic portrayals of a hacker’s expertise with software, hardware and social engineering skills.
– Randy P. Schiff