There are two new television shows on that have gotten quite a bit of attention. Both deal with the future of our societies in a realistic fashion. One, Mr. Robot, comes at the demise of the human race from a tech angle while the other, Humans, in spite of the title, is really about robots. I don’t watch a ton of television but these topics interest me so I’ve been giving them a twirl.
Initially, I thought that Humans would be the show I became addicted to in the long run. Oops, I was wrong. In an age, in the very near future, where every house has a robot and the mechanical beings replace humans in most jobs, you’d think there would be tons to explore but the writing on this show is disappointing. I’ve watched three episodes and so far I have yet to figure out what the point of this series is. It is drawing decent numbers but I don’t know if that will last.
Robots aren’t the future, they are here. This past week a hotel opened in Japan where the staff is entirely robots. This past month, a company began selling personal robot assistants. It sets you back 150k but if you got the cash, splash for one. So you would think this show might hit a nerve but the only thing it is taking a toll on is my patience. It is like they had a 2 hour premise and have been forced to stretch it out for 10 episodes.
The worse for me though is William Hurt, who has a role as a genius who apparently helped design the models in the show but is now ill and attached to an early model that he’s hiding from everyone. Now, if I had William Hurt in my show, he’d be the focus, I don’t care what else is going on. The guy can act. However, they have regulated him to a very minor supporting role on this show (so far) and it is frustrating. He might get 5-10 minutes, tops. A total waste of great talent by the producers and scriptwriters. I’ve given up on this show. I don’t care if the self-aware robots ever find each other, if Hurt makes it, if the mystery is solved. The show isn’t human, its robotic.
On the flip side, I’ve become totally hooked on Mr. Robot. In fact, this is the best show I’ve seen since The Americans premiered. It is creative, has a great cast, and the writing keeps you on edge every episode. There is no slow roll out of plot with these guys. In fact, like a computer program, the plot never slows up.
The show centers on a group of computer programmers/security people who are fighting – or joining – a group of hackers determined to take down the largest corporation in the world by any means. There is blackmail, romance twists, bloodshed, and an exposure of our culture in the dialogue that will stun you into thought.
I was blown away by last week’s episode. The main character has a drug problem he’s trying to kick. In the episode, the focus was in many respects his addiction which the writers consistently compared to a computer program. How an addict interacts in a pattern similar to a computer program or a hack. It was detailed, brilliant in its simplicity, and brilliant in the freshness it brought to my screen.
The show reveals an underlying truth in our society. The worse threat to our species is not terrorism like ISIL (bad as that may be) but rather the unholy alliance between unrestrained techies, Wall Street, and society’s complacency in allowing their dictates to re-define our ‘normal’ and create a society where they are exempt from the consequences but the value of the masses is erased as though it was as simple as deleting a binary code. Yes, I will be watching this show every chance I get. Mr. Robot is the keeper from the this new crop of shows. You can find it online to catch up if you haven’t seen it yet. New episodes broadcast on Wednesdays.