Sci-Fi Nerd: Commentary, reflection and accolades from a fan’s point of view on all things sci-fi and fantasy on a daily schedule of themes:
Modern Classics Monday
Throwback Thursday, and
Earlier this year, like a lot of other genre fans, i fell in love with a new tv series, that seemingly came out of nowhere, and stole our hearts and minds.
I’m not the only one that felt the impact this show made (written and produced by Sam Esmail) when it premiered. The critics and genre fans alike went crazy, and USA Network, where the show airs, liked it so much they placed a second season order before the show’s first season had premiered. Its too early to call it the best show on television. only time, and history can determine that lofty designation, but it sure made an impression on a lot of critics and people who were desperate to know “what will happen next?”. I was hooked in the first episode as soon as the protagonist hacker extraordinaire, Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) uttered that soliloquy in his therapist’s office. (see video below)
This speech set the tone for what was to come, and felt the same way it felt when you were a kid and it was time to rip off the band-aid and you know the scab is going come off with it. I think, in a way, that’s a big part of this series’ appeal, in the same way we are willing to experience a little discomfort in exchange for that look at the visceral stuff that lies beneath the skin, this show holds the promise to tear away the nice comforting bandage we use to cover up the truth it conveniently covers about our world and existence.
The series did not disappoint. It quickly established itself as a sometimes surreal, none-to-gentle tumble down the rabbit hole, like a violent ride on an out of control tilt-a-whirl machine full of twists and turns designed to leave the viewer dizzy and bruised, but still eager for more. It’s a no-holds-barred look at mental illness, and drug use and how these taboo topics are dealt with in the modern world. It has become all too “normal” for people these days to repeatedly self medicate in order to deal with reality. It also seems to be maybe saying it takes a crazy person to change the world and wake the rest of us up to what we have become accustomed to thinking of as being “normal”.
The rest of the cast that occupies Elliot’s world, because we really only see the world through his eyes, are an interesting group. These other characters serve mostly as a backdrop that sometimes actually intrudes into his insanity to help form a more complete picture of his world, and sometimes advance the the plot of this sometimes disturbing narrative. Characters of note include:
Mr Robot/Edward Alderson: – Elliot’s dad, and the apparent leader of the hacker group fsociety (Christian Slater)
Darleen: Elliot’s sister and fellow hacker (Carly Chaikin)
Angela Moss: Elliot’s childhood friend who works with him at Allsafe (Portia Doubleday)
Tyrell Wellick: a psychotic executive who begins the series as an employee of E Corp. aka “Evil Corp.” (Martin Wallstrom). It is also worthy to note Tyrell has a very scary wife, who seems to be even crazier than he is, and I suspect we will see more of her in the second season of the show.
I have come to think of the series as a modern cyberpunk take on a classic gothic tale, complete with Elliot as a modern day Hamlet being haunted by the ghost of his father. (I strongly suspected he wasn’t real, and just a figment of Elliot’s fevered brain after 2 or 3 episodes). The series also owes a lot of its appeal to a gradually unfolding mystery, regarding Elliot’s relationships with the other key characters, and the huge hack of Evil Corp. that Fsociety has just managed to pull off at the end of season one, and like many fans, I am eager to know what’s going to happen next in season 2.
The cyberpunk aspect of the show is another reason I kept coming back for more also. Not only because it forms a basic fundamental part of the plot, and is a big part of what makes Elliot special, but because of the way its portrayed. There is no obligatory look inside the computer where we are taken on a ride that portrays wires and circuits. Refreshingly, there are only shots of people sitting at keyboards this time around. A nice touch that keeps the show more grounded in the way things really are done in our present day computer age. Another thing i really like about the series is the air of kookiness it exudes that reminds me at times times of Twin Peaks.
This is a great series, a reminder that most of the good stuff we get to see in movies and on tv are a matter of things coming together in the right way, at the right time. A combination of part dumb luck, part good timing, and some really talented people. Like many others, I am really looking forward to season 2, and very curious what will unfold as the story continues. Despite being on the dark side, this series is so much fun it makes me giggle when i think about it.
No specific date for season two has been announced.