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Why Succession Fans Need to Watch Mr. Robot – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Why Succession Fans Need to Watch Mr. Robot



Succession, HBO’s top drama series, recently concluded its final season, feeling like the end of an era. It has filled the void left by other “great drama” series such as The Sopranos, The West Wing, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Better Call Saul, and Game of Thrones. Succession will now likely be regarded as one of the greatest shows in history. One of the reasons Succession stands out is its dynamic characters. Despite representing the worst of society, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Connor (Alan Ruck) are difficult not to invest in due to their rivalries and betrayals.

Fans looking for another show to invest their time in can consider Sam Esmail’s breakthrough neo-noir series Mr. Robot. The show centers around young hacker Elliot Alderson, brilliantly played by Rami Malek, who works at cyber-security corporation E Corp while secretly working as a “hacktivist.” Similarly to Kendall Roy, Elliot struggles with drug abuse and social anxiety. Elliot’s skills draw the attention of a powerful hacktivist movement known as “fsociety.” The show also features an unusual element: it is a period piece that continues to take place in 2015, despite only the first season airing that year.

Both Succession and Mr. Robot take place in a modern version of New York City that deals with issues of political disenfranchisement and corporate greed. While Succession offers characters that stand in for current politicians and corporate empires, Mr. Robot directly incorporates some figures within the Donald Trump administration into its narrative. Both shows consider the complexities of the economic situation and feature characters that audiences can relate to due to their unenviable relationships with their respective fathers.

Both shows feel more “cinematic” than most Hollywood productions due to their creative storytelling techniques and narrative risks. Succession has an incredible score by Nicholas Britell, while Mr. Robot was scored by Mac Quayle. Both shows also have a unique way of incorporating music, including creative remixed and recreations of pop songs.

In conclusion, Succession and Mr. Robot are two excellent series that fans of drama, dynamic characters, and innovative storytelling should not miss. Despite Succession’s conclusion, Mr. Robot is a perfect option for fans looking for a new show to invest in.

HBO’s top drama series Succession concluded its final season this year, and it has appropriately felt like the end of an era. Succession had filled the void of the “great drama” series that it had seemingly earned after the concussion of The Sopranos, The West Wing, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Better Call Saul, and Game of Thronesand will now likely be judged as one of the greatest shows in history.


One of the reasons that Succession has distinguished itself from its predecessors is its wholly dynamic characters; even though Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his children Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), Shiv (Sarah Snook), and Connor (Alan Ruck) represent the worst of society, it’s hard not to get invested in the rivalries and betrayals between each of the children that their father refers to as not “serious people.”

Considering that it doesn’t seem likely that there are going to be many Succession spin-offs in the near future, fans are going to have to find a new show to invest their time in. There’s always the possibility that another one of HBO’s upcoming shows could fill that void, but given the predicaments of the current writer’s strikethere’s no idea when the industry will be back to normal. If Succession fans are looking for another slightly older show that could fill that void in their Sunday nights, then Sam Esmail’s breakthrough neo-noir series Mr. Robot is a perfect option.

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A Compelling Anti-Hero

Malek in Mr. Robot
NBCUniversal Television

Mr. Robot centers on a young hacker named Elliot Alderson, who is played by Rami Malek. While Elliot’s day job is as a programmer at the cyber-security corporation E Corp (which he refers to as “Evil Corp”), he secretly works as a Robin Hood-esque “hacktivist” that reveals the sordid crimes that various powerful players are guilty of. Like Succession’s Kendall Roy, Elliot is a drug abuser who struggles to connect with people socially due to the pressures of his job. Elliot has complex emotional feelings about his childhood friend and coworker Angela Moss (Portia Doubleday); both Elliot and Angela lost their parents at a young age, but Elliot struggles to reach out to her because like Kendall, he has serious social anxiety.

Elliot’s skills draw the attention of a powerful hacktivist movement known as “fsociety,” which despises the sort of corporate greed that Logan Roy would seemingly represent. The mysterious leader of “fsociety” is a hacker whose only codename is “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater). Mr. Robot recruits Elliot to help him and his chief hacker Darlene (Carley Chaikin) to hack Evil Corp and erase the world’s debts on May 9, 2015. An unusual element of Mr. Robot is that over time it becomes a period piece; it continues to take place in 2015, even though only the first season aired that year.

Related: Succession Season 4: All Episodes in the Final Season, Ranked

Malek’s performance earned him the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actor; this was the same category that Strong would go on to win for his role in Succession as Kendall. Both characters are certainly anti-heroes who audiences might relate to due to their unenviable relationships with their respective fathers. Elliot’s father died of cancer when he was very young, and Kendall is constantly bullied and abused by his father. Over the course of Mr. RobotElliot learns that his father has abused him in ways that he has purposefully purged from his memory. His emotional breakdown when he makes this realization in the season 4 episode “407 Proxy Authentication Required” is one of the most heartbreaking moments of the entire series, similar to the way that Kendall’s breakdown at the end of Succession’s third season represented his trauma at the hands of his family.

Satire on American Greed

Rami Malek & Christian Slater in Mr. Robot
NBC

Like Succession, Mr. Robot takes place in a modern version of New York City that deals with a lot of the same issues regarding political disenfranchisement and corporate greed. In an odd way, Logan, Kendall, Shiv, and Roman represent the sort of greedy figures that Elliot and his accomplices are trying to take down. While Succession offers up characters that stand in for current politicians and corporate empires, Mr. Robot directly incorporates some figures within the Donald Trump administration into its narrative.

Both shows consider the complexities of the economic situation. It’s hard to take into account Kendall’s extraordinary greed and privilege, but viewers may feel sympathy for him due to the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. Similarly, the economic free market that Elliot imagines doesn’t immediately occur in the wake of the 5/9 hack. He realizes that no matter what is done to temporarily call attention to corporate greed, a different group will show up to take grasp of the power vacuum.

Related: Succession Finale: Did Siobhan Win?

Cinematic-Level Productions

Rami Malik & Carly Chaikin in Mr. Robot
USA Network

Both Succession and Mr. Robot actually feel more “cinematic” than most Hollywood film productions; individual episodes of each show certainly employ more creative storytelling techniques and narrative risks than most comic book films or studio blockbusters. This is a direct result of the filmmakers behind them. Mr. Robot is directed in almost its entirety by Sam Esmail, whose directorial debut film Comet stands as one of the most underrated science fiction romance films of the last decade. Similarly, Succession has employed film directors such as The Big Short’s Adam McKay, The Menu’s Mary Mylod, and Hustlers’ Lorene Scafaria.

Both shows also have a very inventive way of incorporating music. Succession has an incredible musical score by Nicholas Britell that gives it a sweeping, epic quality; this is no surprise considering that Britell’s other work includes Don’t Look Up, Vice, The King, The Big Short, Battle of the Sexesand If Beale Street Could Talk among other great films. Similarly, Mr. Robot was scored by Mac Quayle, the composer behind Drive, Contagion, Arbitrage, The Company You Keep, The Lincoln Lawyer, Spring Breakersand Only God Forgives. There are also a lot of creative remixed and recreations of pop songs; Mr. Robot parodies a sitcom intro in the style of Full Houseand Succession‘s second season includes Kendall’s incredible rap tribute to his father.

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