TIME Television

Mr. Robot Is the Antidote to Your True Detective Blues

Mr. Robot - Season 1
USA Network—Christopher Saunders/USA Network l-r) Christian Slater as Mr. Robot, Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson

The new cyber thriller succeeds where the HBO show failed

Though the details of Mr. Robots first season finale have been carefully kept under wraps, it promises to be startling. The episode, originally set to air on the USA Network last Wednesday, was delayed because of a scene with similarities to last week’s real-life shooting of two reporters in Virginia. Yet despite having this piece of information, fans are still guessing—primarily on Reddit—at the conclusion of this dark show where anything is possible.

Another cynical drama might be a tough sell in the wake of True Detective‘s second season, in which a water stain served as inspiration for a five-minute Vince Vaughn reverie about being locked in a basement full of rats. But where the once-lauded HBO drama left fans dozing, Mr. Robot will jolt them awake.

The show is emphatically off brand for USA—best known for sunny procedurals like Suits and Burn Notice—and its best bet as the network enters the race for Emmys gold. It follows morphine-addicted techie Elliot (Rami Malek) as he joins a vigilante hacker group called “F Society” whose leader, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), plots to free the world from debt from a decrepit Coney Island arcade.

Originally intended for the big screen, Mr. Robot (like True Detective) is cinematic in scope, paying homage to psychodramas like Fight Club, American Psycho and A Clockwork Orange. Director Niels Arden Oplev, who helmed the original Swedish version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, imbues the first episode with a specific Scandinavian darkness that pervades the season—though comic touches, like Elliot’s incontinent dog, prevent self-seriousness. In the pilot, Elliot squeezes himself between a dresser and a wall and sobs. Viewers learn more about him in those 22 seconds than they do about Vince Vaughn’s troubled baddie in an entire season of bathetic monologues.

That’s not to say the dialogue isn’t essential to Mr. Robot. Elliot speaks to the audience as if it were an imaginary friend. From that perspective, it’s hard to tell which characters and events are real and which are a figments of his imagination: We know, for example, the corrupt and villainous tech conglomerate in the story is called E Corp, but Elliot’s mind interprets every utterance of the company’s name as “Evil Corp.” That’s to say nothing of a drug-induced sequence involving a talking fish.

Despite its trippy diversions, Mr. Robot feels more grounded than the HBO drama. Esmail has won fans for the accurate portrayal of coding in the show—he even takes a jab at other Hollywood productions that have misrepresented hacker culture. Even when the outside world diverges into the insane, the technology is on point.

And the New York Elliot inhabits, and F Society in particular, have the sort of racial, gender and religious diversity that’s true to life and yet rarely seen on television. True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto, especially, came under fire last year for the lack of complex female characters in his series. Despite his efforts to rectify that in the second season, Rachel McAdams’ character, Ani, feels not like a fully formed woman but rather like a sketch of a man whose knife skills compensate for her anatomy. By contrast, the female characters in Mr. Robot begin as caricatures—the one who got away, the manic pixie dream girl, the damsel in distress—but quickly evolve into nuanced and flawed characters.

In its realism, Mr. Robot resonates in a way that a mystery about a murderer who wears a bird mask and burns out his sex-addicted victim’s eyes with acid cannot. Both series explore the seedy underbelly of the one percent, but while Pizzolatto’s True Detectives bad guys are men who sign incriminating documents during a druggy orgy—where else would you conduct such business?—Mr. Robot shows us something much more real and therefore insidious: men in tailored suits making sexist and homophobic jokes as they push millions of dollars from one column to the next.

Mr. Robot has already been renewed for a second season, so it has time to squander its good will as True Detective did. But besides the ridiculous “I’m a bad man” speeches, True Detective began to lose its way when it lost its grasp on reality: Pizzolatto’s idea of justice is a mass shoot-out in the streets of Los Angeles. Esmail’s diverse hackers take on the system in a more realistic and terrifying way: uncovering its leaders’ darkest secrets with just a keystroke.

TIME Sexual Assault

Chrissie Hynde Under Fire for Saying Rape Victims Can Be at Fault

Chrissie Hynde Performs At Koko
Joseph Okpako—WireImage Chrissie Hynde performs at KOKO on December 16, 2014 in London, England.

The Pretenders frontwoman wrote in her new book that she faults herself for her being sexually assaulted

Correction appended.

Chrissie Hynde, the lead singer of The Pretenders, believes she is at fault for her own rape.

“This was all my doing,” she says of her sexual assault in her new book Reckless. The backlash has been swift on social media, where many have been quick to point out that victim-blaming transfers responsibility away from the assailant.

Hyde, now 63, was raped when she was 21 by a member of a motorcycle gang in Ohio who, after offering her a ride to a party, took her to an empty house and assaulted her. In an interview with the Sunday Times magazine, Hynde said she does not blame her attacker.

“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” Hynde said. “You can’t f— about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges. … Those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do.”

“You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility,” Hynde added. “I mean, I was naive.”

“If you play with fire, you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?” she concluded.

In the interview, she takes a similar stance on other women’s sexual assaults, writing that women who wear revealing clothes are “asking for it.”

“If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?” Hynde says. “If I’m walking around and I’m very modestly dressed and I’m keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I’d say that’s his fault. But if I’m being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who’s already unhinged — don’t do that. Come on! That’s just common sense. You know, if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him.”

Hynde’s assessment runs contrary to the messaging used by most organizations to prevent sexual assault and help survivors, like RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

“This feeling of self-blame, described by Chrissie Hynde, can often prevent survivors from coming forward and getting the support that they deserve,” Katherine Hull Fliflet, VP of Communications at RAINN, said in a statement. “Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a sexual assault, a victim is never to blame. The responsibility always lies solely with the perpetrator, no matter what.”

Former fans of the star and critics expressed their disappointment on Twitter.

Read next: Colleges Find New Ways to Tackle Sexual Assault as Students Return

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Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote by Chrissie Hynde. She said “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?” in an interview with the Sunday Times.

TIME movies

Watch Will Smith Take on the NFL in the New Concussion Trailer

Smith plays the doctor who discovered the damage concussions can cause

Ten days before the NFL begins its season, the trailer for Will Smith’s next movie, Concussion, has hit the Internet. Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the person who discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, or CTE, the neuro-degenerative disease caused by repeated head trauma, in the brains of two professional football players.

Omalu faced roadblocks from the NFL as he tried to reveal the damage the game could do to its players. Alec Baldwin stars alongside Smith as a doctor helping Omalu to bring his research to light.

The film is based on a 2009 article that ran in GQ called “Game Brain.”


TIME Boxing

Here’s Floyd Mayweather Playing With a Huge Pile of Money

He's all about those benjamins

When Floyd Mayweather goes on a trip, he doesn’t pack light. The boxer took a break from his battle with Ronda Rousey to post a video of him filling a suitcase up with hundred dollar bills.

Mayweather has made $420 million this year alone, according to a Forbes list released in June, including almost $220 million for his May victory over Manny Pacquiao.

When I travel I don’t pack clothes,” he wrote. “I only pack Benjamins.”

When I travel I don't pack clothes. I only pack Benjamins.

A video posted by Floyd Mayweather (@floydmayweather) on

TIME comic books

Behind Marvel’s Decision to Create These Controversial Female Superheroes

Chris Buck for TIME Marvel Comics editor in chief Axel Alonso at the publisher’s New York City headquarters.

How the brand diversified its superhero lineup with a female Thor and Ms. Marvel

In the last two years, Marvel Comics, led by editor in chief Axel Alonso, has been earning new fans—and boosting its bottom line—by diversifying its comic books. Marvel went from publishing zero female-led comics in 2012 to 16 this year. The changes have been controversial among some comics fans, a notoriously obsessive group, especially the decision to hand Thor’s hammer to a woman and the creation of the Muslim teenage superhero named Ms. Marvel.

Alonso’s imperative to create comic books starring women that could sell collided with the restlessness of writer Jason Aaron, who wanted to find a surprising new direction for Thor, one of Marvel’s staple superheroes. In comic-book lore, Thor’s magical hammer, called Mjolnir, can be lifted only by whoever is deemed worthy to carry it. Aaron decided that the male Thor no longer qualified. “I liked the idea of Thor as a god who was always questioning his own worthiness,” Aaron says. “I like to think of him waking up every day and looking at the hammer and not knowing if he was going to be able to pick it up.”

But tampering with Thor–whose portrayal by actor Chris Hemsworth has helped fuel Marvel Studios’ cinematic success–was risky. Aaron took his idea to one of Marvel Comics’ semiannual retreats where dozens of writers and editors gather to chart the year ahead. His pitch was simple. Thor’s hammer had been handed briefly in the past to an extraterrestrial and even an amphibian. So shouldn’t fans be able to get behind another unfamiliar species–woman–lifting the weapon?

“I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before,” he says. Alonso approved, and work began on what would become Thor: The Goddess of Thunder #1.

The push for diverse characters expanded well beyond Thor. In the past two years, Alonso and his team have launched 16 new titles starring women. One of the most significant moves was transferring the mantle of Captain Marvel, a hero who first appeared in 1967 to the Carol Danvers character, who had been toiling in the understudy role of Ms. Marvel.

That created a job opening in the superhero universe–and two of the top creative women in the comics industry proposed a fresh character to fill it. Marvel director of content and character development Sana Amanat–whom Alonso calls the driving force behind the publisher’s female-friendly initiatives–reached out to G. Willow Wilson, a highly regarded writer who also happens to be one of the few Muslim women in the business. In February 2014, they introduced a new Ms. Marvel: Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim girl struggling to fit in who uses her shape-shifting powers to protect her hometown of Jersey City, N.J. Some fans blasted the new story line–a few even accused Amanat and Wilson of somehow promoting jihad–but the book quickly earned a spot on the New York Times list of best-selling paperback graphic books.

Wilson says the payoff was worth the risk. “I thought they were going to need an intern to open all the hate mail,” she says. “Now I have people you would least expect–like this giant, blond, bearded guy I met in Denver–telling me how they connect to Ms. Marvel because they were made fun of in school for being different.”

Read the full feature on Marvel’s new, diverse characters from this issue of TIME

TIME movies

8 Lessons From a Summer Where Women Ruled the Box Office

Seven of this year's top 10 films star women

The success of last summer’s female-centric movies came as a surprise. Box office analysts were confused when Scarlett Johansson’s sci-fi thriller Lucy outsold Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson’s Hercules. They were downright dumbfounded when Shailene Woodley’s tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars edged out the Tom Cruise action film Edge of Tomorrow at the box office.

Perhaps it was the success of those films that led hopeful critics and audiences to have such great expectations for this summer’s leading ladies. There weren’t many surprises—unless you count the fact that Charlize Theron’s Furiosa, not Tom Hardy’s Max, was the star of Mad Max: Fury Road. This was to be the summer of women, what with Pitch Perfect getting a sequel and TV feminist sensation Amy Schumer making her big screen debut.

And it was. These films held their own among the macho men of Avengers and Jurassic Park. In fact, seven of this year’s top 10 films so far star women. Here’s what we ought to take away from an aca-awesome summer for women at the box office.

MORE: In Praise of This Summer’s ‘Complicated Women’

Jonathan Olley—Disney

Movies don’t need men

Young, white men are the most coveted demographic in the industry — hence the endless parade of pasty male superheroes. But a FiveThirtyEight study of the biggest blockbusters since 1970 found that films that passed the Bechdel Test—a simple yet somehow elusive bar that measures whether two women in a movie talk to one another about something other than a man—make more money than those that don’t.

That theory was borne out at this year’s box office. Of this year’s top 10 grossing domestic films, seven of them — Furious 7 (#3), Inside Out (#4), Minions (#5), Cinderella (#6), Pitch Perfect 2 (#7), Home (#8) and Fifty Shades of Grey (#9) — all had women in starring roles.

Fast & Furious

The most successful studio this year is catering to women and people of color

Diversifying your films on the whole is now a proven strategy for success. Universal Pictures, despite not owning the rights to any superheroes, is handily beating its competitors at the box office this year, thanks to its blatant disregard of the white teenage boy. The studio has five of the 10 highest-grossing movies of the year. Save Jurassic World, the rest of those movies “took risks” on non-male, non-white stories.

Straight Outta Compton and Furious 7 both feature diverse casts. Pitch Perfect 2 and Fifty Shades of Grey were each directed by a woman and told women’s stories (empowering or not). And Minions — which has grossed over $1 billion worldwide — had the biggest opening weekend of any of the Despicable Me films with Sandra Bullock — not Steve Carrell — as its featured villain.

disney, pixar, inside out, amy poehler, mindy kaling, lewis black, movies

It’s okay to ditch the crown

Following the Frozen fervor, Disney doubled down on its peppy princess strategy, green-lighting a Frozen sequel and a new film called Moana. But in June, Inside Out set a record for the highest-grossing weekend of any original film — a movie not based on a book, comic book or previous movie. More importantly, the movie’s main character has nothing to do with royalty. Families, it seems, are willing to shell out big bucks to learn about what’s going on inside the mind of an ordinary, hockey-loving girl who hates broccoli on her pizza.

MORE: Why It Matters That Inside Out’s Protagonist Is a Girl — Not a Princess

Jurassic World

You can’t get away with lazy sexism anymore

When the Jurassic World trailer premiered back in April, Avengers director, Buffy creator and self-proclaimed feminist Joss Whedon tweeted, “I’m too busy wishing this clip wasn’t 70’s era sexist. She’s a stiff, he’s a life-force—really? Still?”

Once the movie hit theaters in June, critics largely agreed with Whedon. The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis wrote Bryce Dallas Howard’s character “mostly just schemes and screams, before Owen melts her like an ice cube on a hot griddle.” Plenty of fans piled on on social media, complaining that the female star was forced to run around in heels the whole movie.

Ironically, Whedon himself came under fire later that spring for writing in a sexist plot line for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in which being barren is equated with being a “monster.”

Of course, take this Twitter outrage with a grain of salt. Despite these atrocious, sexist plot points, Jurassic Park and Avengers: Age of Ultron were the two highest-grossing films of the summer. Still, even if misogyny won’t affect a movie’s bottom line (yet), it won’t help the filmmakers’ standing in the cultural conversation. I doubt, for example, Whedon will be making that same mistake again.

And writers who do take women into consideration are rewarded for doing so. The spy played by Rebecca Ferguson in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation removed her heels every time she had to fight, run or ride a motorcycle. It was a small touch, but one that was greatly appreciated by female moviegoers and lovers of realism alike.

Michael Tackett— 20th Century Fox

Movies about women still have to be good to sell

Yes, Hot Pursuit and Paper Towns fell on their faces. It turns out that — just like with all other movies — the script, the director and the casting matters. Hot Pursuit tried to capture the same movie magic Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock had conjured with The Heat, but the unconvincing premise and lame jokes fell flat. The disappointing Paper Towns box office proved that not all young adult novels (even ones by John Green) are created equal — nor are leading ladies.

Universal Pictures

Feminism and blockbusters totally mix

Amy Schumer, who made her name writing sketches that smartly skewer sexism, is well on her way to becoming a bona fide movie star. Lame boyfriends were shunted to the side in Pitch Perfect 2 in favor of girl power. The writer of the famed Vagina Monologues was asked to consult on big budget action film Mad Max: Fury Road. Feminism had made its way into mainstream culture, and it’s making for better, more complex female characters.

Universal Pictures

The women blazing the trail in Hollywood are under a lot of pressure

That being said, women characters in blockbusters are far from the Platonic feminist ideal — a fact that critics are pleased to inform the few female writers and directors who bring them to the screen. Amy Schumer came under the microscope this summer: was Trainwreck empowering enough? Does the entire premise of a rom-com undermine feminist ideals?

Of the top 250 grossing films in 2014, only 11% of writers were women and just 7% of directors were female. The few women who are afforded the opportunity to helm big budget films are under scrutiny for whether they are doing their job well and whether they’re advancing their gender in doing so.

Jasin Boland—Warner Bros.

Studios need to make more female action movies already

Director George Miller can now be declared the master of “sneaky feminism.” His film, which was (smartly) sold as a testosterone-filled, post-apocalyptic road rage extravaganza, was actually a feminist manifesto about a group of women escaping sex slavery, tearing down a patriarchal society and finding safety in a community of Amazons. Charlize Theron did more shooting, driving and talking in that movie than Tom Hardy (as evidenced by the honest trailer that mocks “Tom Hardly There”)—thanks, in part, to Ensler’s consultations.

Melissa McCarthy also did her part to convince audiences that women belong in shoot-outs as much as men do. Her latest movie with director Paul Feig, Spy, placed her in the role typically reserved for the James Bonds and Ethan Hunts of the world. To the surprise of anyone who watched the trailer, McCarthy wasn’t a bumbling spy but actually a kick-ass heroine who still managed to get laughs.

Neither of these films reached Mission Impossible level box office success, but their sequels just might. And not that studios care more about reviews than the bottom line, but Mad Max was heralded by most critics as the best film of the summer. If Charlize Theron can’t convince studio execs that women can rule the summer, nobody will.

MORE: Eve Ensler on How Mad Max: Fury Road Became a ‘Feminist Action Film’

TIME Basketball

Derrick Rose Denies Involvement in Gang Rape

Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game FIve
Nathaniel S. Butler—NBAE/Getty Images Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs at The Quicken Loans Arena on May 12, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.

An unidentified woman filed a suit against the Chicago Bulls player on Wednesday

A lawyer representing the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose called a lawsuit filed against the point guard accusing him of rape “outrageous.”

The suit, which can be read in full on the Chicago Tribune website, was filed Wednesday by an unidentified women who accuses Rose and two other men of drugging her and gang-raping her in Aug. 2013. The woman, who claims she dated Rose from 2011 to 2013, says the men slipped something into her drink while at the former MVP’s Beverly Hills home. According to her account, she was able to escape, but later that night Rose and his friends broke into her apartment and sexually assaulted her while she was incapacitated.

Rose’s lawyer Lisa Cohen wrote in a statement that the accusations were “completely false and without any factual basis.” Cohen acknowledged that Rose was involved in a relationship with the woman in question during that time period, but that it was both consensual and not exclusive.

“This is nothing more than a desperate attempt to shake down a highly respected and successful athlete,” the statement said. Cohen added that her legal team has “complete confidence that the case will be dismissed.”

The Bulls issued a statement Thursday: “We just learned about this matter and do not know all the facts. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The Chicago Bulls and a lawyer for Derrick Rose did not immediately respond to Time’s request for comment.

[Chicago Tribune]


TIME Books

George R.R. Martin Says This Character Is Still Alive in the Books

Helen Sloan—HBO Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon in Game of Thrones

Spoilers for both A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones ahead

Long live King Stannis. According to George R.R. Martin, the supposedly slain Baratheon is still alive — at least in the books.

Taking a (hopefully short) break from writing The Winds of Winter, writer George R.R. Martin fielded fan questions on LiveJournal Wednesday. When one enthusiast asked the author to “cut the crap” and confirm whether Stannis was dead or alive, Martin wrote: “In my books? Alive beyond a doubt.”

Stannis is currently presumed dead in both the show Game of Thrones and the Song of Ice and Fire books upon which the HBO series is based. In the books, Ramsay Snow spread a rumor that Stannis met his demise. But in preview chapters for the upcoming Winds of Winter that Martin posted online way back in 2012, that rumor proved untrue. Stannis is very much alive.

What this means for the onscreen version of Stannis is unclear. The last time fans Game of Thrones saw him, he was about to be killed by Brienne of Tarth. Of course, audiences never actually saw Brienne finish the job.

That doesn’t mean showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn’t get rid of the would-be king. The series has diverged in many ways from the books, including killing off Stannis’ daughter, Shireen.

Still, the often-bloody drama rarely shies away from a gruesome death. Any time the camera turns away is cause for suspicion. Fans will eagerly comb the Internet for photos of Stannis actor Stephen Dillane on the Game of Thrones set, just as they search for clues of the survival of The Hound or revival of Jon Snow.

TIME celebrities

Melissa McCarthy Poses With the Many Women of the New Ghostbusters Movie

The actress fights for gender equality in Hollywood

At a time when too-few women are afforded opportunities both in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood, the Ghostbusters reboot has made a conscious effort to promote girl power.

Star Melissa McCarthy posted a photo to Twitter on Tuesday in which she posed with all the women of the Ghostbusters film—and there are a lot of them. Besides actresses Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, rows of stunt doubles, producers, writers and other crew members also filled the shot. Each woman held up a sign indicating her role in the film.

McCarthy thanked Ellen host Ellen DeGeneres in the picture for her initiative to promote girl power through her Gap line of children’s clothing.

Even though the highly anticipated all-female Ghostbusters movie will hit theaters in 2016, Hollywood is far from reaching gender parity. Women made up just 14% of protagonists and 30% of all speaking characters featured in the top 100 grossing films last year, according to the yearly “Celluloid Ceiling” report released by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

Things were even worse for women behind the camera. That same year, women comprised 17% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 movies.

If there’s anyone who can change that trend it’s Melissa McCarthy, who recently ranked number three on Forbes’ list of top earning actress last year and starred in several successful summer blockbusters including Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy. Director Paul Feig (who helmed all three of those films) is also responsible for the new Ghostbusters film.

Read Next: Dear Aaron Sorkin, If You Don’t Think There Are Enough Good Roles for Actresses, Write One Yourself

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