Sunday, June 28, 2015

Pilot Review: Mr. Robot

Mr. Robot (USA)
Premiered June 24 at 9pm

I’m not sure where to start with my review of this two-hour pilot that truly feels like a movie in itself. I can’t say that I loved it, but I was deeply intrigued by it. Its style is enormously creative and fully appropriate for its subject matter. Its most electric element, without a doubt, is star Rami Malek. I was trying to remember where I first saw Malek, who I remember as an emotionless music-obsessed killer in an episode of “Alcatraz” and as a loyal devotee in “The Master.” A bit of IMDB research reveals that “The Pacific” was his first major project, which I remembered as soon as I saw it. Malek has an incredible disposition, so quiet and assuming – and often awkward and creepy – that he is the perfect person to play a hacker who sees the world in such a technical way that it prohibits him from experiencing it normally. The most memorable moment for me was when he saw things happening at the end of the episode and threw his hands up in disbelieving celebration in Times Square only to be apprehended by several men in sharp suits. Asking the audience if they were seeing this was a formidable way to end the episode, which makes watching the next hour all but impossible to resist, even if the majority of this show wasn’t firing entirely on all cylinders. Regarding the rest of the cast, Christian Slater is a strong choice for his eccentric role, and I’m also pleased to see Portia Doubleday, who broke out in “Youth in Revolt” a few years ago, in what appears to be a prominent part as Angela. I’m interested to see what this show becomes, but I think it’s one of the most intense and thought-provoking pilots I’ve seen in a while.

How will it work as a series? I wouldn’t consider the second hour of this double-decker start to be a representative example of what the show is going to be like, especially since it was contained in the same overall arc. I’ll have to wait until week two and episode three to see whether this show is as worthwhile as its debut offering suggested.
How long will it last? Well, that’s the good news. This show did so well when USA put it online ahead of time that it actually got renewed the morning the show premiered for a second season of at least ten episodes. That bodes very well, and unless the show’s quality slumps, I think it could have a long and prolific future.

Pilot grade: B+

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