Why ‘Mr. Robot’ is the Most Thought-Provoking TV Series in History

You thought The Good Place was profound?


Emma Fraser knows the Truth. (And so does Mr. Robot. Bwahh!)

(Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network)

by Emma Fraser

The world of Mr. Robot isn’t too dissimilar from the current political and social landscape; the one percent of the one percent have an exorbitant amount of power, and this level of control has led to overwhelming wealth disparity. Over four seasons, hacker Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) took on those who “play God without permission” to break the system, which hit a lot of bumps along the way. His original target was E Corp, one of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates (often referenced as Evil Corp). It isn’t a subtle name, but when veering into a dystopian landscape, nuance often gets left at the door.

Debuting in 2015, the main action of the entire series takes place across that particular year, revealing a “darkest timeline” version of a period that was already pretty messy IRL. However, the nightmare landscape shifts in the final season, offering up a semblance of hope about our collective future. In the final episodes, this contrasts with the image of a personal utopia turned hellscape. At the center of the story, an identity constructed out of trauma underscores why authentic personal connections are ultimately more important than imagined ones.

Creator Sam Esmail delivered numerous jaw-dropping twists and turns throughout Mr. Robot‘s run, including the Fight Club-style Season 1 reveal that Elliot’s friend Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) is not real — rather, he is a personality created by Elliot, resembling his deceased father. This is just one layer of Elliot’s disassociative personality disorder; the final twist is that the person we have spent the most time with isn’t the real Elliot, either.

Mr. Robot is a show that doesn’t always spell out what is imagined, so when Elliot wakes up in the seemingly perfect alternate reality at the start of the two-part finale, questions stack up. Whiterose (BD Wong) claimed she could transport someone to a better version of their life; maybe she wasn’t lying after all?

In this other place, Elliot’s parents are both alive, and so is Angela (Portia Doubleday) — she was murdered in the Season 4 opener. Meanwhile, Elliot is not the hoodie-as-armor, anxiety-ridden figure we have spent four years watching….

Read it all at syfy.com

Diana Vacc sees “Holiday Date”

A couple of actors trying their best

by Diana Vaccarelli

It’s that time of year.  Cheesy Hallmark Channel Holiday Movie Season!!!! As cheesy as these movies are they bring a light to the stress of everyday living.  The third in a series of film reviews from yours truly is Holiday Date.

Holiday Date is a look into the life of aspiring L.A. clothing designer Brooke (portrayed by Brittany Bristow)  as she braces herself to go home for the holidays after a break-up  and has to figure out a way to tell her family.

Yes, really, that’s the big problem she starts off with, but, please, don’t yawn yet. There’s more such excitement to come.

Brooke heads to a party at a friend’s house and meets actor Joel Parker (portrayed by Matt Cohen).  The two hit it off as friends, and Joel’s agent suggests he go home with her and pose as her (former) boyfriend Evan to research a role he is up for.  The two new friends agree to this and travel to Brooke’s small home town in Pennsylvania, where every possible ridiculous mistake that could be made in such a situation is in fact made.

I found myself laughing out loud throughout the whole film.  The humor may not have been intentional, but nevertheless it was truly hilarious thanks to the mistakes Joel makes as pseudo boyfriend Evan in such otherwise normal (and boring) tasks as helping to make a gingerbread house, putting up Christmas lights, and, in a context that should surprise nobody, getting the Christmas tree. I have known a lot of people-pleasers in my life, but Joel as pseudo-Evan is the saddest example ever of that very sad breed.

In other words, writers Karen Berger and Kraig Wenman have written a script with enough cheese to make a dozen pizzas with and topped it with dialogue that I am absolutely certain made the actors cry. Bristow, Cohen, and the rest of the cast give it their best shot, but the writing betrays them so much at every turn that they and the film and the audience all would have been better served by no pizza…oops, I mean script, at all.

I love film and TV so much that TVWriter™ boss Larry Brody often describes me as “my friend who never has met a movie she didn’t love,” but those days have just ended. Holiday Date is a disaster from first bite to last. Anything you do other than watching this, except maybe throwing yourself into an oncoming vehicle, would be a much better way to spend your time.

Yay! Diana Vaccarelli is  back! Find out more about TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large (and a TVWriter™ University grad) HERE

Diana Vacc sees “Christmas in Rome”

by Diana Vaccarelli

It’s that time of year.  Cheesy Hallmark Channel Holiday Movie Season!!!! As cheesy as these movies are they bring a light to the stress of everyday living.  The second in a series of film reviews from yours truly is “Christmas in Rome.”

This holiday movie takes place in the magical city of Rome.  Who doesn’t want to travel to Rome and experience its history and culture?  It’s on my bucket list, for sure, one of the best things about Christmas in Rome is cinematography, with all its scenery and landmarks.

Lacey Chabert of Mean Girls plays the character of Angela De Luca, a tour guide in Rome.  She meets a young man named Oliver Martin, portrayed by Sam Page, on a mission to buy a business that makes Christmas ornaments.  Oliver, being from America, enlists the help of Angela to charm the local Italian business owner.

Chabert and Page demonstrate great chemistry in this film.  The problem their characters ultimately have to overcome is that once his business is over Oliver has to go back to states. Oh my! How do you suppose that will affect their wonderful new relationship?

Unfortunately for viewers who want to be surprised, Christmas in Rome has the usual predictable happy ending. Luckily for me, I love happy endings, especially at Christmas time, so no worries here.

If you feel the way I do, then this Hallmark film is for you. I hope you enjoy this holiday movie season!

Yay! Diana Vaccarelli is  back! Find out more about TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large (and a TVWriter™ University grad) HERE

Diana Vacc sees “Check Inn to Christmas”

by Diana Vaccarelli

Its that time again.  One of my favorites –  Hallmark Channel holiday movie season!!!! Oh yeah!

As cheesy as these movies are, they bring relief from the stress of everyday living.  The first in this series of film reviews from yours truly is Check Inn to Christmas.

Check Inn film follows lawyer and boss babe Julia Crawley, portrayed by Rachel Boston,  as she comes home for the holidays and helps run the small family inn.  Soon we learn the Crawley family has a rivalry with the Masons, another family with a vacation inn and that the rivalry spans many generations.

You can probably guess what’s going to happen. Here’s how writer Anna White takes the “Romeo and Juliet” angle from here:

While on an errand, Julia runs into handsome Ryan Mason, portrayed by Wes Brown, son of the rival Mason family.  And what do you know? That’s right. The two of them immediately fall in love and hide it from their disputing families, of course.

After a secret meeting, Julia and Ryan discover that both their families’ inns are at risk via a big-name resort planning on coming to their small town.  They decide to get their families to agree to work together to get rid of the big ,evil corporate resort inn.

This is a typical Hallmark product, starting with forbidden love, moving directly to the bad corporation trying to take over a small town without passing anywhere near “Go!”, and crossing home plate with the lovers’ families coming together.

As predictable as this film was, however, Check Inn to Christmas was a genuine hoot to watch. I recommedt it to even the most jaded holiday gift wrapper. You may roll your eyes a bit, but you’ll also smile and not and find yourself forgetting the troubles of the day.

Yay! Diana Vaccarelli is  back! Find out more about TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large (and a TVWriter™ University grad) HERE

The Best TV Pilots of the Decade, Ranked

More than anything else, the very successful pilots discussed in this article all had a certain wonderful magic at their very core – which is to say, in the writing.

by Steve Greene, Ann Danahue, LaToya Ferguson, Libby Hill, Ben Travers, Leo Garcia

Each of these 20 series expertly built worlds of their own, breaking the rules to make them feel all the more relevant to ours.