Every year it seems like the television choices just keep getting better and better. So much so that it’s almost impossible to narrow the best shows down to a simple list of ten. But that’s what we did! We erred on the side of genre TV to bring you the Psycho Drive-In Top Ten Favorite TV Shows of 2015! Let us know what you loved on the small screen this year! Agent Carter Season One One of the frequent feminist criticisms of superhero universes—like Star Wars and Marvel—is the dearth of female counterparts to all the great male icons. Last year, both those franchises delivered: Star Wars in the form of Rey, and Marvel in that of ABC’s eponymously titled Agent Carter. Picking up after Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), the series takes place just post-WWII, with Agent Peggy Carter still working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve. But as with so many women in that period, the end of the war and return of the men from abroad means that her contribution to the cause is no longer welcome and often resented. Rather than seen as a valuable and seasoned agent with battlefield experience, Hayley Atwell’s character is relegated to secretarial duties in an office she is clearly more qualified to run. When Howard Stark is accused of treason and seeks out her help in clearing his name, however, Carter kicks back into hero mode, and with the help of Stark’s valet Jarvis, girlfriend Angie, and fellow (occasionally ambivalent) Agent Sousa, she foils a complex plot by the mysterious Leviathan, etc. These and other new characters flesh out a story that is not only rich in intrigue but in human detail. Jarvis’s devotion to his unseen wife, Angie’s grounded, get-‘em-girl gusto, Sousa’s realizations around his disability, even the layers within villains like Dottie and Ivchencko, work not only because of solid and occasionally inspired writing but because of a uniformly strong cast, and the chemistry between already proven Atwell and breakout James D’Arcy is a joy throughout. This focus on the personal helps the series to overcome one of its biggest challenges: how to keep up the appearances of an entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a television series budget. It helps that the directors also decided to limit sets and chose mood over detail when straying from the main stages. And while the eight episode series works well on its own, it’s crammed with lovely MCU touches–like the return of the Howling Commandos—and complicated tie-ins for hard-core fans. And for us feminists? Perhaps this is where Agent Carter pulls off its greatest coup. It’s easy to create a story about a strong female character. What is difficult is showing a talented woman of conviction operating smartly in a world that seems, on first blush, anachronistic in its sexism to our day but isn’t really. Anyone can give us Agent Jack Thompson, caught up in the myth of his own masculine virtue until the male Commandos validate for him that Carter is his equal, if not superior. Caricature is easy. Revealing how systemic sexism creeps under the skin of even a good and enlightened man like Agent Sousa, or how such overt professional respect for, and sexual objectification of, Agent Peggy Carter can reside simultaneously in Howard Stark, and then tracing out the ways such contradictions have mined and complicated the world for women in all times: this is how Agent Carter truly delivers to fans who have waited far too long. — Laura Akers Agents of SHIELD Season Two (part 2) & Season Three (part 1) Here at Psycho Drive-In, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was selected as one of the favorite television series of 2015, so when our Fearless Leader, Paul Brian McCoy asked for volunteers to write about why the series is so good, I spoke up because no one else had yet done so. However, I sort of feel as if I have come to bury SHIELD, not to praise it. While I enjoy Agents of SHIELD, it’s not my favorite Marvel series. It comes in third behind the two other Marvel series that are available exclusively through Netflix—Daredevil (which is one of my all-time favorite series ever) and Jessica Jones (which isn’t nearly as good as Daredevil, but it’s a bit better than Agents of SHIELD). Being on ABC—parent corporation Disney’s mainstream commercial network—prevents SHIELD from exploring the type of “mature” content that Daredevil and Jessica Jones are allowed to explore on Netflix. In part, “mature” means graphic violence and semi-graphic sex, but Daredevil in particular is a mature exploration of relationships—what we choose to reveal to another person, and what aspects of other people we are too blind to notice. That level of maturity is seldom available in a series that is available on a commercial network. However, beyond the constraints it faces on a commercial network, Agents of SHIELD is constrained by its connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Initially, I liked the idea of all of Marvel’s theatrical movie series, television series, and Netflix series being part of a shared universe. However, the blockbuster theatrical films are the Disney Corporation’s priority because they are the big money-makers—which means when big events affecting the world take place in the movies, the small-screen shows are necessarily constrained by the story plans being developed for the movies. Thus far, Daredevil and Jessica Jones have been able to avoid being affected too much by the movies because they are street-level dramas (for now) that are isolated from the government-shaking international and cosmic events we see in the films. However, it will be interesting to see what happens when all of the various characters in the Netflix shows end up banding together as The Defenders (which, in the comic books, is a superhero team that often comes across as Marvel’s second-string Avengers). Unfortunately, due to it essentially being a TV series spin-off of Iron Man (the film in which the character Phil Coulson debuted) and The Avengers (the film in which Coulson died), Agents of SHIELD is severely hampered by what has happened and what will happen in Marvel’s movies. Coulson was resurrected on SHIELD to essentially serve as a stand-in for Nick Fury (the traditional protagonist is all SHIELD-related comic books published by Marvel). I don’t know if the idea of Samuel L. Jackson starring in the weekly series was ever considered, but I doubt Jackson would seriously consider doing a weekly show. (I am grateful, though, for the few cameo appearances he has made in the series.) Still, the problem remains that the series is constrained by the films. When Hydra brought down SHIELD in Captain America: Winter Soldier, that theatrical movie plot element changed the entire structure of the TV series. Suddenly, rather than the characters being agents of SHIELD, they were fugitives from the government while simultaneously trying to upset Hydra’s plans while not upsetting the theatrical movies’ plans. It’s a delicate balancing act, and the series falls from the tightrope as often as it makes it across the chasm. Nevertheless, I will continue to watch the series each week for the following reasons: I’ve liked Ming-Na Wen ever since I first saw her in The Joy Luck Club, and she was in two of my former favorite TV series—ER and Stargate Universe (which was a great show that I still miss). As Melinda May, Ming-Na Wen literally kicks ass in nearly every episode. I’ve considered Adrianne Palicki one of the most beautiful women on television ever since I first saw her as Jessica Moore—Sam Winchester’s dead fiancé in Supernatural. She was in other programs I would have seen her in before Supernatural, but it was in the pilot episode of that series when I first took note of her. Since then, of course, she has appeared in the failed Aquaman pilot from 2006 and the failed Wonder Woman pilot from 2011. As Bobbi Morse (aka Mockingbird), Adrianne Palicki literally kicks ass in nearly every episode while always looking stunningly beautiful. Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons is equally beautiful. Chloe Bennet as Daisy “Skye” Johnson is also beautiful. So, yeah, this is a good show because it has a lot of beautiful women in it and it is set in the Marvel Universe—plus, there is always the chance that Deathlok will show up again (if only they would make him the Luther Manning version of Deathlok rather than this “Mike Peterson” version that was created for the series). — Thom V. Young Better Call Saul Season One Better Call Saul? I’m not sure what I’d call Saul at all. My fault, I mean Jimmy aka James M. McGill, Esq. This show does not feature Saul Goodman. Not yet anyway. As the spin-off of Breaking Bad, the exalted emperor of modern television, Better Call Saul sprung from an intriguing launching pad. The showrunners, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, scored a two-year deal from the jump which signals AMC’s confidence (and need) in their ability to deliver another Emmy-winning caliber series. Still, even with a sturdy creative foundation, and a talented centerpiece like Bob Odenkirk, in terms of premise/tone/locale/era/aesthetic this prequel overlaps mightily with its parent show. The first season methodically labored to give Better Call Saul its own distinctive fiber. While the story is still about internal transformation it takes a completely different slant on metamorphosis, examining Jimmy McGill’s struggle with choosing between what’s right and what feels right. Additionally, the show’s format is managed with verve, a non-linear journey that has presented different versions of our protagonist, from Slippin’ Jimmy to the guy hiding out in Nebraska post-Breaking Bad. The premiere season mainly focused on Jimmy’s relationship with his older brother Chuck, a high-powered litigator with a psychological condition that makes him freak out around electricity. Through the successful sibling we meet Kim, also a lawyer and (maybe) a former lover of Jimmy’s, and Howard Hamlin, Chuck’s seemingly antagonist law partner. Fan favorite Mike also featured predominately and starred in “Five-O”, one of the season’s standout episodes. The ten episode effort certainly sagged at points. Major missteps were skillfully avoided but the simmering plot coded the grander vision. Some elements, like the build-up of scheming gangster Nacho looked important initially then faded over time. This lax approach to the story eventually demonstrated the show’s pedigree when the final two hours of the season rewarded patient viewers with an emotional and thematic jackpot. In a funny way the first season unfolded like the #0 issue of a new comic series. The prequel of a prequel. The work as a whole is very satisfying and entertaining throughout as Odenkirk truly comes into his own as an actor and mainstream star. Better Call Saul holds a sorta weird place in the lapidary landscape of present day television and is still looking to hit its stride but quality is high and the arrow is pointing up. — Jamil Scalese Daredevil Season One Before Daredevil came out our exposure to Marvel superheroes on screen was like the new toys you see on the store shelves. They were all bright and shiny with supersized personalities and adventures that were designed to make you marvel at them. Keep in mind that the Avengers already came together and we’d already seen multiple movies featuring some of the most popular Marvel superheroes. All of them were a straightforward lot with adventures more geared toward spectacle and drawing attention. Even television shows like Agents of SHIELD sought to capture the same zeitgeist as their movie counterparts. Daredevil exists in shadow of the glittering Marvel cinematic universe and that’s what made the show so refreshing. Well, it’s about as refreshing as a brutal and gritty imagining of a Marvel superhero can be. This is one of the top shows of 2015 because its dark and the violence is a punch to the viewers face. It tells the story of Matt Murdock and his exploits as the blind superhero Daredevil in post-Avengers New York that highlights the little people. It features the journalists, the nurses and the poor in Hell’s Kitchen that still suffer even though super heroes have saved the world. The villains too, are little: gangs, street criminals, human traffickers and the assorted bunch that we all tend to lock our doors for all take center stage. Even the main villain Wilson Fisk, who became one of the most memorable villains in television this year, was set upon that path after an intimate and very brutal crime. Fisk, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, has to be up there as one of the top bad guys in 2015 for the way he played the perfect foil Murdock’s Daredevil. Fisk very nearly stole the show with his light-side-dark-side dynamic and how he had to balance his tremendous criminal enterprise and clean public persona. The man himself in some ways mirrored that in how he craved tenderness and affection, but often exploded in fits of violent anger that the public often never sees. How Daredevil combats a villain that is not only physically stronger than him, but amasses the public against him made me thank god that this wasn’t an episode a week show. On top of all the great characters and story is an aesthetic and action that is brutal as it is fun to watch. The locales were often back alleys, docks and rundown apartments that reinforce the fact that this show takes place in the worst parts of New York. Daredevil often fights in dark and cramped spaces that make those scenes as tense as they were claustrophobic. It was a real treat to watch despite all the times I found myself wincing. Daredevil firmly established itself as a sharp counterpoint to the Marvel Cinematic universe and opened up a new avenue for Marvel superheroes to go. It also helps that the show was some damn good television and made for one of the more memorable series to drop in 2015. — Jose San Mateo Fargo Season Two The bombshell surprise of 2014 was undoubtedly the first season of FX’s Fargo. The show based on the 1996 comedy noir film seemed like a tough fruit to squeeze a series from but it ended up as one of last year’s most expertly crafted seasons of television, if not ever. From the very first episode the series established an idiosyncratic appeal through oddball plotting, characters, dialogue and imagery and respectfully enhanced its source material in every conceivable way. But still… Fargo as a series? How does that work? Quite, quite well, apparently. The feverishly fascinating aesthetic extended into Season Two and continued to summon the sorcery of the Fargo-verse. Though each episode tells you the stories are true, the world introduced by the Coen Brothers is clearly a fantasyland, and the most fantastical element are the people who inhabit it. The subdued and demure way the faux Midwesterners process emotion, rage, fear, worry, love, is hugely entertaining. Mix this with a random act of violence and it produces gold… then run it through the prism of 1970’s America and you have some type of alien metal that doesn’t have a name but looks gnarly. The Season Two storyline centers on the fall of the Gerhardt clan, a family of gangsters operating out of Fargo, South Dakota, and the kerfuffle manages to tie in an array of quirky folk, innocent and ruthless alike, sometimes both. Series creator Noah Hawley executes his vision through superb cinematography, pitch-perfect music choices and macabre sense of irony that never relents. He clearly emulates and intensifies the work of the Coens, accentuating the absurdity whilst contrasting it with the everyman lifestyle of the characters. A lot is phenomenal about Fargo but it’s the cast of characters and the actors that bind it into a cohesive work. The second season is loaded with great performances from the likes of Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst, Cristin Milioti, Bokeem Woodbine, Nick Offerman, Jeffrey Donovan and Zahn McClarnon whose character Hanzee Dent went from minor Gerhardt enforcer to primal force of narrative importance in the final third of the story. Fargo is defining itself as a pro in the big game of TV dramas. It’s one of the most thoughtful, chaotic, literary and satisfying shows on TV, and this was another great year for the medium overall so that makes it clear you should take a visit up north if you haven’t already. — Jamil Scalese The Flash Season One (part 2) & Season Two (part 1) Flash Fact: The Flash started off damn good and then got better at an exponential rate. The beauty of this superhero drama is its unabashed romance with the mythology of the Scarlet Speedster. OK, so the show isn’t slavish to the source material, there are plenty of changes made to keep things fresh, but boy the writing is awash in copious love for the world of Barry Allen, particularly the villains. Captain Cold, Reverse Flash, Rainbow Raider, Trickster, Grodd, Zoom, King Shark, Pied Piper… That’s a short list of classic baddies that have appeared in the last calendar year. While the antagonists have been on-point the show’s true coup is the introduction of time-travel as a central and almost offhand plot element. From the outset The Flash channeled its main character’s essence and has never, ever slowed down. Every single episode progressed the bigger narrative and the back end of the first season was relentless in delighting fans. The Reverse Flash/Harrison Wells mystery advanced in fascinating fashion while subplots like The Barry/Iris romance and the Firestorm saga knotted and unraveled in intelligent and sweet ways. Somehow the side characters entertained more than they annoyed, which always a victory on a CW show. So far Season 2 has worked as very well in giving us more of the same quality in a reformatted package through the narrative magic of alternative dimensions, a move that slots in organically with the multiversal nature of the DC universe. This has kept things grounded and familiar, yet almost paradoxically wild, making the true death or disappearance of any character a moot point and multiplies the potential for the unexpected. The show’s cast is overall a great bunch with Grant Gustin leading it as a lovely Barry. His charm and emotion help put an iconic face on a Golden Age character that’s been as default as he’s been forgettable. Executive Producers Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns have nailed the tone, look and mission of the series by making it digestible, kinetic, challenging and amazingly paced. The Flash is a must-watch for anyone looking for a splendid marriage of retro and cutting edge. — Jamil Scalese Jessica Jones Season One Jessica Jones is the unexpected treat of the Marvel TV universe. While Agents of SHIELD struggled to find its stride (getting better and better once it decided Inhumans were the problem – who needs the Fantastic Four?), and Daredevil lived up to its promise of showing our embattled legal hero and his few hard-worn allies, our only option for super-heroine ass-kicking was the fun and stylish Agent Carter. That show was its own kind of surprise, but it was both a period piece and a spy show, and Peggy’s major dilemma was proving to a bunch of chauvinists that she was worthy of respect. Inherently, we could tell she was the kind of hero Captain America had already endorsed (but in her timeline he’s thought dead, so she was on her own, even in a memorable strike mission behind enemy lines). But Jessica Jones is something very different, the anti-hero and fallen warrior who has a lot to prove, even to herself. She’s lost something, and committed crimes that haunt her, and even before we meet her the first time her burdens weigh her down. She’s estranged from her principal ally Trish Walker, stalking a handsome barkeep for unknown reasons, and living in fear and hiding from a memorable foe introduced to us slowly through lurid but limited purple-tinged glimpses. The chemistry of the cast, or of star Krysten Ritter with each of her major scene partners (Rachael Taylor as Trish, Mike Colter as bar owner Luke Cage, David Tennant as the evil Kevin Kilgrave, Carrie Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth) goes far to make this story work, as it doesn’t have the choreographed battle set pieces of the other three shows. There are no trained agents or ninjas here, just a man with invulnerable skin, a woman with super-strength and limited flight, and a nemesis stalker with the ability to cloud everyone’s minds with his own sick wishes. How is that we feel for the probably alcoholic, barely competent private investigator who wears the same sad outfit of t-shirt, jeans and leather jacket every single day? She’s rude to her neighbors, and many of the people she tries to save end up dead or in jail. A huge part of it is Krysten Ritter, of course, making Jess believable and relatable at her best and her worst. But the rest isn’t only David Tennant, wringing all the charisma he can out of his charmingly smooth-talking but spoiled and petulant sociopath. It’s also her best friend since childhood Trish, our window into seeing just how horrible Jessica’s life has been, and just how much good she does despite all the bad things that have come her way. She may be foolish, impulsive, emotional and angry. But she’s also strong, resilient, sneaky and clever. And as the show makes clear, living as a woman in the daily urban jungle is no picnic. Rape, kidnapping, domestic abuse, stalking and constant surveillance are just some of the realities that might be faced, any time, at any moment, by anyone. Jessica’s non-costume is one way of deflecting the attention a beautiful woman receives. She doesn’t have Trish’s celebrity, or Jeri’s wealth, or a protective mate to save her from personal attacks. She has to protect herself, and even the super-strength isn’t even always that useful (though it usually does help). In a way, she’s more like Trish’s manipulative stage mother mom than she may want to admit. With her defensive shield of wigs and makeup and junior-styled clothes, you get the sense that Dot Walker (whom we don’t meet until late in the season) is a survivor who has always done whatever it takes to get by. The difference is that she did it to save herself, and Jessica is always trying to save others. — Shawn Hill The Leftovers Season 2 Season one of The Leftovers introduced us to the fractured Garvey family, and took us through the lost innocence of a fallen, post 9/11 world. It related to contemporary times as well, for the Guilty Remnant was a kind of entrenched Tea Party of bad ideas and cynicism turned up to illegal, harassing and breaking-and-entering levels. Season two saw Kevin and Nora and some of their kids on a search for paradise, trying to find a way to survive within the changed post-Sudden Departure world, and not just survive but prosper and succeed again. The journey took them to Miracle National Park in Jarden, Texas, a mythic land from which no one had departed. Until their arrival that is. Maybe. In a creative demonstration of what to do when you’ve outrun your source material, season two doubled down on the themes brought up in season one. Rather than wonder if he was as crazy as his father, Kevin full-on committed to the crazy, resulting in two qualitatively different trips to the afterlife (one patently ridiculous, the other sublime in its symbolic disconnections, both David Lynchian and surreal) and more than one resurrection. His iron resolve and newfound wisdom made friends of enemies and kept his jury-rigged family together, as unfair as that sole responsibility falling on his shoulders might be. Nora went from unwanted celebrity as the sole survivor of her departed family, to possibly demonic pariah as a “lens” who focuses the rays of Rapture on unsuspecting satellites in her proximity. The latter accusation caused her to both to laugh in derision and strike back violently. Everywhere but where it actually mattered, that is, where she settled down to engage in a battle of wills with new neighbor Erika Murphy. Erika confoundingly passed every insurance-driven test as to whether her daughter had Departed after all, and unlike the rest of her hometown, didn’t buy into the notion that Jarden was spared in the least. In a memorable moment, she decried their superstition and stayed truest to her own personal beliefs and convictions. Things go weird for everyone in Jarden, though, and extreme highs and lows came to Matt and Mary, to John and Virgil, and even to the late season returnees Meg and Tommy, who were key players in a final, well-played revelation. Kevin ends the season by finally returning to a waiting family unit that now even includes ex-wife Laurie and estranged son Tommy as well as Nora, Jill and Lily. John Murphy, meanwhile, openly wonders what and who he’ll find in his house next door, if anyone. Is it either/or for all of us, too? Through the auspices of this amazing cast, we felt every step of their arduous and varied journeys. — Shawn Hill Making a Murderer A late-in-the-year entry into the “2015 best television” category, Making A Murderer premiered on Netflix streaming December 18th. I’m not sure if you’ve experienced the same, but my entire social media feed has been on fire with discussion of the series since. Tales of compulsive bingeing, breathless “oh my God, I couldn’t stop watching” recommendations and bursts of anger, frustration and hope expressed as the salient points of the series were revealed (thankfully spoiler-free) continue to flood my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Initially, I wasn’t swayed. I’m not a “true crime” guy for the most part. I don’t watch Dateline or Forensic Files. I never listened to Serial or watched The Jinx and haven’t been invested much, if at all, in the whole modern boom of documentary-style series covering newsworthy cases. I’m an escapist, and generally look to entertainment for that purpose. But a late night found me pulling the trigger on the first episode and it was immediately apparent that I was hooked. Part of this is the way the series is constructed, with a steady build-up and each episode ending with some new revelation or twist. But it’s the story itself that is the real hook, beginning with a tale that would seem meaty enough for a docuseries on its own, the true story of a man wrongfully convicted of rape who served 18 years in prison before being exonerated. This clear-cut case of prejudice and miscarriage of justice brings the blood to boil within minutes and it is just the beginning, the set dressing for what is to come. Comprised of ten roughly hour-long episodes, Making A Murderer is a ticking bomb counting down to an inevitable explosion, one intent upon taking a piece of you with it. This isn’t a cute murder-mystery with a succinct wrap-up. It is a look into a giant gaping wound of corruption, a procedural nightmare, an act of class warfare committed upon a citizen by an authority sworn to protect and to serve. Watching Making A Murderer you will likely find yourself consumed with the question of guilt vs. innocence. The makers of the series clearly have their own take on that, and you can’t help but be swept up in their version of the story. It’s not entirely objective in that sense, but a larger truth is revealed along the way that I feel is the real point here. Regardless of where your sentiments fall, this is a shocking portrait of misconduct and a savage indictment of State and Federal law enforcement. At a time in American history where distrust of authority is peaking and the gulf between poverty and privilege is ever widening, Making A Murderer outlines an instance in which our worst nightmares are realized. An America in which the very presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial guaranteed us all are in question. Watching this play out is as fascinating as it is gut wrenching. There is no small irony to the fact that the proceeds from settling the original wrongful conviction suit are the only way a plausible defense could be mounted in the case to follow. The reason we have such a clear portrait of how this all went down is because the defense is top notch and insists upon that clarity. A public defender would have been able to marshal none of the resources necessary, and this forces you to wonder how many cases out there are simply underserved from the start. When the powers that be have already decided you are guilty what chance does the average person stand, much less someone without the economic resources to fully engage the legal system? Regardless of how you feel by the series conclusion, that is the takeaway. In light of what Making A Murderer reveals to us, and in a climate in which celebrities and the rich negotiate themselves out of legal repercussions on an almost weekly basis, it has never been more clear that freedom is not won in this country so much as it is purchased. And that cost is ever on the rise. Will Making A Murderer be remembered as one of the greatest pieces of television of the past year? As compelling as it is, the story itself may not simply make it so. But the legacy of what is revealed will have resonance for years to come. — Adam Barraclough Mr. Robot Season One I never would have thought to check out USA Network for what could ostensibly be considered the best original series of the year. Maybe the best series since Breaking Bad left the airwaves. Yeah, I said it. The previews I saw weren’t quite enough for me get over my USA Network bias, so the series had been running for a few weeks before I had some down time and decided to marathon it at the suggestion of some friends. And holy shit was my mind blown. Mr. Robot is about a computer hacker named Elliot (Rami Malek) who suffers from crippling social anxiety and possibly paranoid schizophrenia. He works a day job at cyber-security firm Allsafe, but at night he’s sort of an internet Batman, digging into the sordid lives of criminals and perverts, then crushing their lives for the sheer satisfaction of doing some good in a doomed and chaotic world. And he’s a drug addict. Then Elliot is recruited by the mysterious anarchist insurrectionist Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) to join a hacker collective called fsociety with an ultimate goal borrowed straight from Fight Club: cancelling all debt by taking down E Corp – which just happens to be Allsafe’s biggest client. When I compared it to Breaking Bad, though, it wasn’t because of this plot. Instead it’s because of the way every character is fully realized, right down to characters that seem to only be on the outskirts of the main narrative. It’s because Mr. Robot has the ability to move from massive abstract political statements to the inner workings of paranoia to the social dynamics of junkies and their dealers. It’s because every single episode is brilliant; every shot is a work of art; every performance bursting with truth. Series creator Sam Esmail had been fascinated by hacker culture and wanting to make a film about it for the past 15 years, however after finally putting the story down on paper, he found it growing far beyond what could be accomplished in a feature film. So he wrote a pilot and took it to development company Anonymous Content, who pitched and sold it as a 10-episode series to USA. With only a short film and a low budget feature sci-fi romantic comedy (Comet) under his belt, Esmail wrote the opening three and closing two episodes of the season and directed three. Under his guiding hand Mr. Robot is one of the most gorgeously shot series on television, easily rivaling the best of Breaking Bad or Fargo. The cast is a unanimously great with Malek poised as a breakout star. His performance is so painfully nuanced and raw that at times it was hard to watch the suffering he goes through. And there’s plenty of suffering to go around. But there’s also a strange sense of hope in what is at times an overwhelmingly nihilistic cyberpunk-style story that takes the best parts of The Invisibles, Fight Club, mixes in a little Trainspotting and then uploads it directly into your frontal lobe. There wasn’t a show on this year that I loved as much as Mr. Robot. — Paul Brian McCoy Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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