HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Mr. Robot: The Complete 1st Season
HTS Overall Score:85
USA network has really been trying to revamp their show lineup as of late. It used to be that they had a bunch of standard action/drama oriented shows that aimed straight at the average viewer audience. Don’t get me wrong, very few of their shows were bad, in fact many of them were EXCELLENT. Shows like “Royal Pains”, “Suits”, “Burn Notice” and “Covert Affairs” gained a wide audience and certainly had me watching every week. The last year or so the network has really changed its views as those shows have started drying up. The NBC/Uni based TV station has branched out into comedies, dark dramas and now a cyber/hacking show that sets itself apart from all of the rest by being one of the most ambitious and un-USA Network types of shows in the repertoire.
Social media, the internet, the digital network that has turned our very large world into a very small one. The fiber optic heroin that flows through our daily lives, encompassing our work, our entertainment, and our social interactions is something that we all look at with a sort of leery admiration. The digital age has made our lives so much easier than we ever could have imagined, but it has also taken something from us, and as much as we are loathe to admit, no matter how much life has changed, it has stayed ever the same. We stay up at night searching the internet for new clothes, new friends, and just for sheer boredom’s sake, and it has altered the way we interact with people. Although that scenario sounds frightening, humanity really hasn’t changed all that much. What took us hours of research in a library takes minutes on the web. What social interaction we have seemingly “lost”, was never really lost to begin with. People who are introverts used to go to the library and read, or stay cooped up at home listening to vinyl, and now they spend it online. Those who crave human attention still do so, and in many ways more than ever. So no matter how much we change, the basic core of our interactions still stay the same.
“Mr. Robot” takes a deep and disturbing look at the social media and internet footprint that we all leave upon this earth. The show follows Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), a seemingly innocuous tech at cyber a cyber security firm named Allsafe. A company that earns 4/5ths of its commissions from one company. A company called E-tech. E-tech is one of those giant conglomerate corporations that has embedded itself into every fiber and every avenue of life. Health, beauty, clothing, food, EVERYTHING that CAN be infiltrated, is infiltrated by the enormous corporation. Where does Elliot fit into this giant corporation? Well, Elliot is not your everyday normal guy. Even for a tech nerd he’s a bit strange. A computer genius (I mean that word literally rather than figuratively), Elliot is more of a social pariah (of his own making) than anyone else around him. Leading a double life, he works as a simple tech by day, but an incredibly skilled hacker acting as a social justice warrior at night. His life is soon turned upside down when he uncovers a hack into Allsafe that leads him to a mysterious hacking group known as fsociety.
His liaison and introduction into the group comes in the form of the mysterious Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), who reveals to Elliot that he wants to right the wrongs of society and wipe away E-corp’s ridiculous hold on the world. Wipe all of the credit card debt, student loans, mortgages, and reset the balance of power in society. Elliot both is repulsed and intrinsically attracted to the idea at the same time. He loathes E-corp, going so far as to call them Evil-Corp in his mind, but he also feels some sort of loyalty and responsibility to not only Allsafe, but the rest of the people who would lose their livelihood as a result of the power shift. However, as these things are pre-ordained, Elliot reluctantly agrees to work with fsociety, as long as they operate under his guidelines (or at least as much as they can considering Mr. Robot himself carries a lot more secrets behind that glib face than he ever reveals). Soon the troubled young hacker is going deeper down the rabbit hole than he ever thought imaginable.
“Mr. Robot” is a twofold name. While Christian Slater’s character holds the series title name, it is also a mirror title for Elliot. He is suffering from social anxiety and social withdrawal to an absolute extreme. Strung out on morphine to remove the pain of actually FEELING what goes on in life around him and the loneliness that creates inside, he is withdrawn and socially awkward to the point of seeming to BE a robot. His mannerisms, his monotone vocal patterns, all display telltale robotic overtones to them. To take it a step further, the whole idea of being mindless robots addicted to the power and glamour of the digital age is a key element of the show. A key element that is actually the inciting reason for fsociety’s entire existence.
While the series deals with hacking and the super hacks of Elliot and fsociety, the series doubles a dark and disturbing character drama. Take away the idea that this is some sci-fi superhero show as the description seems to imply, this is a DEEP and dark look at the impact that the digital age has brought about, and how the shift of power and greed has changed, yet still remained the same. Evil-Corp (E-corp for the rest of you) carries on its shoulders the image of the devil, with its corporate hooks in everything and everyone, but when you peel back that blustery veil you see that the people running it are just that…people. However, the reasons behind their dark and sundry image in the show is BECAUSE of those very same people. People driven by greed and the lust for power in an age that makes manipulating so many people so much easier due to the rise of technology.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62713[/img]The one thing that unifies the USA Network shows, despite their differences, is the general “look” of the shows. Even though “Mr. Robot” is the most “Un-USA Network” show in their lineup, it still carries that unique look that each of their series boasts in the image department. Thankfully “Mr. Robot” has been given a Blu-ray release, as many of their other shows are still relegated to DVD land or Digital HD. The show sports the same glossy, almost slightly over brightened image that bonds it to the rest of the USA shows, but it also manages to carve out a niche of it’s own. The darker portions of the show look seedy and nasty, with slight yellow and brown pushes that deviate from the normal bright, clean and glossy look of the outdoor scenes. When Elliot is at Allshare, things are sterile and almost blue/white, and when he leaves outside the rest of the world is shiny and bright, but when we get to look inside the REAL Elliot, the tone changes to a much darker hue. Complete with the aforementioned yellow and brown push that mimics the seedy drug infested world that Elliot is a part of. Blacks are deep and inky and I only noticed some minor crush here and there, while the rest of the picture is stunningly detailed and well worth watching.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62721[/img]Even though it’s a drama, “Mr. Robot” sports a very robust and engaging DTS-HD MA 5.1 track on the discs. Filled with a tense and nail biting score, it blends some incredibly strong vocals (of which Elliot’s is the most common as he both acts in the series as well as narrates) with the pulsing, pounding score that vibrates throughout the entire experience. Dialog is crisp and clean, without any abnormalities or aberrations to my ears. Surrounds actually get quite a bit of activity as Elliot moves throughout the busy city, with traffic roaring on all sides, the mumble of voices from all around him, as well as the cacophony of noises that permeates Elliot’s paranoid mind. LFE is powerful and pulsing, adding to the weight of simple objects such as a garbage truck over to the bridge, to the eerie and almost electronic score.
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
“Mr. Robot” is a show that took me completely by surprise. I honestly had never even heard of the show until I saw the press release. It looked intriguing, but the premise seemed to remind me very much of “Person of Interest” but on a slightly smaller and dirtier setting. Color me three shades of surprised when I dug into the series and found myself totally in awe at what I was watching. The first couple of episodes are interesting, albeit more than a bit drenched in paranoia and conspiracy theories, but by the third episode I was really enjoying the show. The 4th episodes pretty much kicked my feet out from under me and I was sliding all the way down the rabbit hole with Elliot and could not stop watching until the riveting season finale. To say I enjoyed “Mr. Robot: The Complete 1st Season” is an understatement and I can’t recommend it enough, especially if you are a fan of USA network’s shows and the direction they are taking the station the last 1 or 2 years. A must watch TV show.
Starring: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday
Created by: Sam Esmail
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Rated: Not Rated
Runtime: 483 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 12th 2016
Buy Mr. Robot: The Complete 1st Season On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Check it Out
More about Mike