There was a time when TV showed hackers as basement-dwelling nerds whose key skill was switching between two computers reeeeeally quickly. When it began last year, Amazon Prime cyber-thriller Mr Robot hard reset that image. Its tone is dark, its script is smart and Christian Slater is gripping.
WHAT IS MR ROBOT ABOUT?
Elliot Alderson works at New York cyber security company Allsafe as a security engineer. He suffers from anxiety, depression and morphine addiction – and US actor Rami Malek plays him with dead-eyed intensity. Initially, he uses his skills to hack social media accounts and find out more about his drug dealer or therapist. But as his vigilante status grows, he’s recruited to the mysterious anarchist group fsociety (their spelling). Their target is E Corp, who just so happen to be Allsafe’s biggest client.
WHO IS MR ROBOT?
The charismatic ringleader of a gang of hackers who plot to bring down major corporations one firewall at a time, played by True Romance actor Christian Slater. The group don’t wear Anonymous masks, but that’s all that separates them from their real-life counterparts.
WHAT’S GONNA GO DOWN IN SEASON 2?
A year on from the E Corp hack and the FBI is investigating. They suspect an inside job, and devious E Corp executive Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström) is the main suspect. Elliot, meanwhile, has a three-day gap in his memory. Much of season two will focus on trying to plug that gap, which conveniently occurred during the hack. This means his mysterious family history being explored.
The show’s website features what appears to be a message to fans from the hackers. It reads: “We lit the fuse of revolution. Now we decide if it sputters and dies, or truly ignites.” New characters in the second run include rapper Joey Bada$$ as Leon, a friend of Elliot’s.
WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT IT, EXACTLY?
We live in a world where data is valuable and hackers and scammers are out to break through flimsy passwords and access it all. That’s the gist of the paranoia Mr Robot plays on. It’s an unashamedly anti-corporate show, taking shots at late Apple boss Steve Jobs, among others, and has found itself mirroring real life. For example, the first series mentioned the hack of dating-site-for-married-people Ashley Madison before it happened in real life.
ANY FAMOUS FANS?
With its themes of national security and controversial morals, Mr Robot has caught the attention of Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked classified documents from the National Security Agency in 2013. He tweets about the show, and Malek has said: “When you realise how much he knows about government spying tactics… it feels like we’re doing a very accurate job.”
Mr Robot Season Two is available via Amazon Prime this Friday (July 15)