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Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, B. D. Wong, Michel Gill, Gloria Reuben, Ron Cephas Jones, Mr. Robot [Season 1]: follows Elliot – a Cyber Security engineer by day / social vigilante hacker by night – as he’s recruited by a shady anarchist called ‘Mr Robot’. Firstly, the shows gambles everything on a wild main character: an anxious & depressed, socially inept, lonely, mentally unstable, and unsympathetic junkie-hacker! The central plot is told through his paranoid point-of-view, where we hear his thoughts – including some beautiful IT snobbery: “he owns a blackberry” “he likes the music of Josh Groban” / “stupid Marvel movies”. While Malek’s lead performance is outstanding, he’s not alone as the entire show is very well-cast: everyone has a unique look and set of traits & skills – Wallstrom and Slater in particular get a lot of time to shine. The show also looks phenomenal; it’s beautifully shot with lots of bold & striking imagery, vibrant colours, and unorthodox camerawork; like low-level & asymmetrical shots, strong leading lines… you could screenshot almost any moment and hang it on your wall. In fact, the production is so slick that it feels more like a 10-hour long movie. Every character, every sub-plot, almost every scene feels like it’s saying something about our modern way of living; how insipid tech is permeating our lives, and how ‘the masses’ are being exploited. As someone who works in IT I found myself nerding out over accuracy and tech savviness of the show; Hell, even the episode titles like “eps1.0_hellofriend.mov” are smart and cool. As the season marches forward viewers are rewarded with compelling story arcs, Shakespearian twists and turns, and scathing critiques of modern life, big business, & corporate culture. It’s very anti-establishment, and isn’t dumbed down in the slightest. Insightful, intelligent, and crammed with current issues & ‘news story’ plots, Mr Robot is the kind of show that’s setting the bar in terms of style and substance.

Score: 9/10

Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, B. D. Wong, Michel Gill, Gloria Reuben, Ron Cephas Jones,

Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, B. D. Wong, Michel Gill, Gloria Reuben, Ron Cephas Jones,

Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, B. D. Wong, Michel Gill, Gloria Reuben, Ron Cephas Jones,

Rami Malek, Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday, Martin Wallström, Christian Slater, Michael Cristofer, Stephanie Corneliussen, B. D. Wong, Michel Gill, Gloria Reuben, Ron Cephas Jones,

 

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Line of Duty BBC AC12 Lennie James, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Craig Parkinson, Neil Morrissey, Keeley Hawes, Gina McKee, jessica raine, Mark Bonnar, tony Pitts, Christina Chong

Line of Duty (Seasons 1 & 2): police drama based on an Anti-Corruption unit and their internal affair investigations on potentially crooked coppers. The show’s biggest strength is that the main focus of each season is a very ambiguous character that looks clean and innocent, but makes some morally dubious choices – some of which are understandable – meaning that every viewer will see them differently depending on their individual moral compass. It also helps that the core characters are well-acted and for the most part, given backstory and more depth. There’s more shocks and violence than you’d expect from a Big British Castle (BBC) program – which helps to ratchet up the drama. It’s also well shot, with strong docu/realistic camerawork and a slightly gritty finish to emphasise urgency and drama. What I don’t understand is that it spends 5-6 hours setting up a complex, engaging, and constantly evolving crime scenario – only to completely fuck up the ending in both seasons: one is barely explained; the other is told only through flashbacks; and both times nothing really changes, the team don’t actually figure anything out, and it’s topped with cheesy follow-up post credit titles showing the fate of each main character (even though it’s fiction, and not true crime). For the most part Line of Duty is a slick, tense, and absorbing police procedural show; and if closure doesn’t bother you, you’ll like it even more.

Season 1 – Score: 7/10
Season 2 – Score: 8/10

Line of Duty BBC Cops Lennie James, Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Craig Parkinson, Neil Morrissey, Keeley Hawes, Gina McKee, jessica raine, Mark Bonnar, tony Pitts, Christina Chong