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Television

Why Real Techies are Plugging In to USA Network's Mr. Robot

After just two episodes into its debut season, USA Network’s dynamic new hacker series Mr. Robot has phished its way to the top of the cable charts.

Still fresh out of the box with only two episodes in the books, Mr. Robot has already engineered an impressive ascent and has quickly become the second-highest-rated new scripted cable drama of the year. The latest episode attracted an impressive 3.2 million viewers, a 13 percent surge from the premiere. Plus, the network estimates the pilot episode was viewed 3 million times across multiple non-linear platforms in the four weeks leading up to its linear TV debut.

Audiences and critics alike have been won over by the show's blend of drama with an authentic hacker street-cred. Following the pilot episode, Forbes boldly declared that blueprints have been drawn for Mr. Robot to become not only "the best show of the summer," but also "a modern classic."

Mr. Robot follows Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek)—corporate cyber engineer by day and highly skilled hacker by night. Elliot tops the list of most eligible recruits for an underground hacker group called Fsociety. The group’s anarchist mastermind Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) hungers for Elliot’s insider knowledge to help destroy the very company he is paid to protect. Already suffering from social anxiety and depression, Elliot’s morals are pitted against his longing for the exclusivity promised by membership in a hacker group seeking to bring down evil corporations. Mr. Robot’s innovative premise and complexity has earned it a big thumbs-up from Cinema Blend, which called the show "damn near perfect."

Mr. Robot's rule actually took root with tech-savvy audiences months ago. In March, the series received the Audience Award for Episodic Television at South by SouthWest. While Hollywood’s unrealistic portrayals of hacking have endlessly frustrated real techies for years, this award welcomes Mr. Robot to the scene as a game changer. After curtailing its initial skepticism for the show, The Verge announced, "finally, a hacker series that won’t make you facepalm."

For USA, Mr. Robot is an edgy, strategic addition to the Comcast NBCUniversal portfolio aimed at adapting to the changing TV industry. Its pilot episode was available a few weeks early on virtually every video on demand service. Targeting key demographics of millennials, as well as Spanish speaking audiences, the premiere episode also debuted on telemundo.com, terra.com, and latina.com.

Based on its success out of the starting gate, Mr. Robot has already been rebooted for a second season.

The action continues Wednesdays this summer at 10 pm on USA Network.


- Jill Harrington for Comcast

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