“Sometimes I dream of saving the world. Saving everyone from the invisible hand, one that brands us with an employee badge. The one that force us to work for them… The one that control us every day without us knowing it. But I can’t stop it. I’m not that special. I’m just anonymous. I’m just alone…”
Elliot - Mr. Robot
Wouldn't we all like to have a Security Engineer day job, and being a hacker by night? It reminds me of my BBS days...
Problems I had with two of the episodes I've seen so far.
Elliot sends a large amount of MMS files to Gideon’s phone to drain his battery. WTF! Everyone who owns an Android phone knows that while playing large multimedia files the process drains the battery quicker, but the impact wouldn't be in minutes or seconds!!!
We also all know that there are programs to bomb phones via SMS or MMS. We also know that these tools literally cause lots of text messages to pop up. In real life, Gideon would have noticed that and get suspicious.
In the next scene, as soon as Gideon puts down his phone, FSociety distracts the entire office with a largely unexplained SmartTV hack. I've been using SmartTV functionalities since I can remember and I don't think the vulnerability depicted is so trivial that FSociety could force a video and lock the remote as easily as they did in this episode. It bothered me that I didn't see what goes into the SmartTV hack. I'd would have loved to have more information...
In another episode Darlene guesses the password on her first try! Again WTF! The idea that a hacker can guess a password on the first try is just such a clichéd Hollywood plot device that I can’t stand it when I see it on TV. She could have tried at least three or four times. I know it may be boring to watch someone spend hours trying different combinations, but that’s the price we pay for accurate TV “hacking”…(*smile*)
I loved the way the script writers portrayed hacking as a means to allow Elliot to connect with others; breaking into email, social media to better communicate with the world around him is also a clever trick. Like a modern Robin Hood, Elliot also uses his abilities for good, taking down the unlawful and cruel along the way...Instead of arrows he uses source code. lol
And now for the really bad stuff. The show is riddled with clichéd characters and situations. First of all, the nasty corporate evil CTO really ruins it for me. Am I really supposed to like watching a clownish CTO fart around for several episodes? Not my cup of tea. Secondly Christian Slater as the psycho mentor...They both look like a pair of villains coming from a 60's SF show!!! Neither character brings anything new I haven't already seen before. Thirdly, the unexpected sex scenes, thrown regularly into the narrative to the point of making no sense at all.
I've just finished a few more episodes, and they were not very promising for the rest of the show, the 4th episode in particular puts emphasis on Elliot’s not very intriguing personal “demons” and also on the very unlikely plan against E(vil) Corp. While watching these last episodes I felt as If I was streaming a great film and all of a sudden the internet connection suddenly buffered. That's how I began to feel.
Despite all this, the show on the whole is still watchable. The way hacking issues around privacy and a networked society are filtered down make it believable all the more. In one of the scenes, Elliot, explains how by just looking at source code on a website we can understand lots of stuff. TV-wise it's a clever bit of writing that works due to the voice over. The information given is so well written that I got an elementary tutorial on webpages without really noticing it. In SF terms that's what we call an infodump. Bad SF is full of them. Good SF has a few of them, but we don’t really noticed them because they are deeply interwoven into the narrative. I learned later on that there was a reason for this “lesson” (i.e., the infodump about “webpages”), because Elliot muses how good it'd be if one could see the human's source code, and, in a very clever bit of filming, I saw people at his office wearing various signs that revealed their secrets. Kudos to the script writer.
Due to all the reasons above, I'm still waiting for the Story to start. At the end of the day, I'd still recommend this show to others as the good parts clearly outshine the bad (so far).
I know I'm nit-picking, but in a show of this calibre, I was expecting to have taken more out of it, but so far I wasn’t able to.
NB: "Ex-Machina" is a much better SFional media, although on a totally different computer aspect (AI).
SF = Speculative Fiction.