Classic cool vs evil story

Drama-thriller series Mr Robot had been bubbling away recently as the topic of morning conversation among the cool kids in the Otago Daily Times newsroom.

Most of the chatter was around hero Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), his big googly eyes and the way he wore his black hoody up as he walked anonymously around the streets of New York looking paranoid and cool at the same time.

Malek stars in the series as a cybersecurity engineer and hacker who suffers from social anxiety disorder and clinical depression, and also takes too much morphine as he tries to cope.

He is recruited by an insurrectionary anarchist known as ``Mr Robot'', played by Christian Slater, to join a group of hack-tivists whose aim is to wipe all debt by attacking the system of the evil E Corp.

The show was first broadcast in May 2015, receiving critical acclaim and winning numerous awards, and can be found on Lightbox in New Zealand.

It also has a brilliant sound track which includes the second movement of Beethoven's seventh symphony, one of this column's all-time favourite pieces.

There is plenty of thrilling drama and awful people for Elliot to combat in Mr Robot, as he negotiates a world of power and paranoia while trying to deal with his numerous psychological complications.

But it is, perhaps, his conversations in numerous asides to the audience where he explains the goings-on in his mind, and the way he lies in a deadpan way to cover up his inner world that is most enjoyable about Malek's performance.

Wikipedia says show creator Sam Esmail has acknowledged American Psycho, Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange and The Matrix as influences.

But then Elliot does mention in one episode Wikipedia is always wrong, so you might have to take all that with a grain of salt.

Yes, there are holes here and there in the storyline, and yes Mr Robot is, at times, slightly silly, but the show is well worth a watch whether you are keen on paranoid cyber anarchists vs evil corporation thrillers or not.

It is also good for binge viewing.

On Saturday, the 17th series of University Challenge returns to Prime at 6pm.

The 16th series was broadcast late last year, and while the quiz show compered by the very nice Tom Conroy was entertaining and full of excellent questions and facts and the like, it fell down somewhat by not being won by the University of Otago.

Instead, some university or other in Auckland beat some university or other in Canterbury, an inauspicious end to the series.

We hope this year the right team wins, something that would mean University Challenge would rise in our estimation.


Hello, I'm from Otago, where we no longer make connections in the Arts courses.

On Rialto, you will find the Swedish flora thriller, 'Jordskott', about an evil Forest that takes revenge against the pulp and paper industry, turning people into shrubbery. It is astonishing, and not funny at all.

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