Mr Ro­bot

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Sea­son 2 M-Net Edge (*102) 21:00 Cyber-crime ac­tion show Mr Ro­bot (2015-cur­rent) is all about twists, turns and un­ex­pected sur­prises. By the end of sea­son 1 in Septem­ber 2015, fans learnt that Mr Ro­bot (Chris­tian Slater), the leader of the F.So­ci­ety hack­ers, wasn’t real – he was a fig­ment of com­puter se­cu­rity en­gi­neer El­liot Alder­son’s (Rami Malek) imag­i­na­tion! And that’s not the only in­ter­est­ing thing about the show…

Episode ti­tles have dual mean­ings: 1

a com­puter term and the episode theme. For ex­am­ple, sea­son 1 episode 2 is ti­tled “ones-andz­er0es” – 1s and 0s make up the bi­nary lan­guage used in com­puter soft­ware. It’s one or the other – there’s no other op­tion… and in that episode, El­liot’s forced to choose be­tween two life op­tions.

The ti­tles also end in var­i­ous video 2 file for­mats, like mp4, avi or mkv. Mr Ro­bot was go­ing to be a full3

length film but while writ­ing it, show cre­ator Sam Es­mail re­alised that “it was just too long. So I took the first 20 pages [of the 89] and turned it into a [TV se­ries] pi­lot”.

Like Rami, Sam is of Egyp­tian des4

cent and he got his idea for the show from youths in the Mid­dle East who had used so­cial me­dia, like Twit­ter and Face­book, to lash out at op­pres­sive rul­ing forces in re­cent years.

The com­puter soft­ware used on 5

Mr Ro­bot is 95% real – it’s Linux/ Unix based, with “one or two spe­cially de­signed pro­grams” be­ing used in some of the scenes.

The F.So­ci­ety hacker group is 6

based on real-life hacker ac­tivists Anony­mous, who were “work­ing” in South Africa this year – they at­tacked the SABC’s web­sites in June, as well as gov­ern­ment-linked sites in Fe­bru­ary.

Any scenes set in Times Square 7

were filmed on 3 July in 2015 and 2016 – Mr Ro­bot wasn’t granted a per­mit to close the iconic land­mark for tap­ing, so they filmed “the night be­fore the 4th Of July In­de­pen­dence Day hol­i­day,” ex­plains Sam, “be­cause that’s when the place is emp­ti­est.” Mr Ro­bot’s Rami Malek.

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