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USA Network is home to some classic shows — from current faves like "Temptation Island" to dearly departed series like "Monk" and "Suits." But there is one past USA Network show that holds a special place in our hearts: "Mr. Robot."
The series, created by Sam Esmail and starring future Oscar winner Rami Malek, is all about a young man working as a cybersecurity engineer who becomes a hacker for a shadowy organization looking to overturn the corporate order of the world. There are so many aspects of "Mr. Robot" that helped it earn a legion of devoted fans: Here's why you should consider making it your next binge-watch.
"Hacking" is something that's briefly shown in so many movies and TV shows, either to quickly move the plot along or to stand-in as some nefarious villain's weapon. It's hardly ever true to life. "Mr. Robot" is a more authentic look at what the world of cyber-hacking really looks like — and in this case, it's hard to tell whether the hackers are the good guys, the bad guys, or both.
"Mr. Robot" is also led by an unreliable narrator, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who has mental health struggles. It's hard to tell when his paranoia is justified, which makes his journey working for a group of "hacktivists" run by anarchist "Mr. Robot" (Christian Slater) so compelling.
Spoiler alert: The ending of Season 1 shocked viewers when Mr. Robot's real identity was revealed. While it was a jaw-dropping twist, it wasn't one that came out of nowhere; looking back, the signs were everywhere. It was a tradition "Mr. Robot" continued throughout its four seasons. While there are often gasp-worthy twists fans didn't see coming, in retrospect, every one was subtly telegraphed beforehand. That makes the big moments all the more effective — when you can tell the writers always knew what they were doing and weren't just aiming for shock value.
One thing fans and critics alike loved about "Mr. Robot" was its willingness to experiment with the television form. The Season 3 episode “eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00,” for example, is shot to look like a single continuous take, a directing style that builds the anxiety and keeps you right in the moment. Another episode, “Method Not Allowed,” features almost no dialogue. It opens with Elliot's sister Darlene (Carly Chaikin) telling him they don't have to talk — then the episode goes silent. In Season 2, another episode is styled to be an '80s sitcom format, all to get viewers deeper into Elliot's unstable mental state.
These episode constructs never feel gimmicky — instead they elevate the show and help viewers better understand Elliot and his world.
It's impossible to imagine "Mr. Robot" without Rami Malek. As the lead character, Elliot, Malek creates a complex character viewers can both understand and root for, despite his obsessive paranoia, his intense social anxiety, and his general anger toward the world. Malek brilliantly makes him seem like more than TV character, but a real and authetnic person. It's no wonder he won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for the first season of the show.
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