If you’re not watching Mr. Robot on the USA Network, you are missing not only the best new show of the summer, but the best show of the summer, period (UnReal is a not too distant second). It’s precisely the kind of show that the audience on this site would appreciate: It’s Hackers crossed with Fight Club crossed with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and American Psycho, and it’s lead, Rami Malek, is a very early contender for next year’s Pajiba 10.
The ratings, so far, have been soft, but it’s already been renewed for a second season, and it is going to catch on. It has the makings of the next-great Internet show: Conspiracy theories; an engrossing mystery; a unique, original main character; a compelling examination of society; strong writing, and a phenomenal rewatchability factor. It’s the stuff Reddit threads are made of. In fact, we could probably spend hours trying to dissect last week’s hallucination sequence.
The one question some may have, however, is how much life can Mr. Robot really have in its central premise? After all, it was originally envisioned as a movie, before Sam Esmail realized he had more material than a film could contain, and one of its central mysteries — is Mr. Robot real or imaginary — seems like it can only survive for so long.
Where is Esmail going with Mr. Robot, and can the show sustain itself for more than a season or two?
Yes. Yes it can, according to an Esmail tweet over the weekend:
@antipopculture I have an ending and it's about 4 or 5 seasons away.— Sam Esmail (@samthemovie) July 18, 2015
That doesn’t mean that the show will last that long — Hannibal had a seven season plan, and it’s kaput — or that USA will not extend it past its expiration date (see, e.g., Dexter). However, I think Esmail may be the next Vince Gilligan, and if he can gain that kind of clout with the USA Network, he may be able to not only extend the series four or five seasons, but actually end it there.