As the medium of television changes in the age of Netflix and Hulu, showrunners like Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail are questioning long-standing industry norms. In particular, the show’s creator, who also directed each episode of the upcoming second season, wants to take more time between seasons. A little more than a year will have passed between Mr. Robot’s two season premieres, and Esmail hopes (possibly in vain) for a bigger break before season three.
“Personally, I think this is another weird, archaic judgment on television shows, where you have to bring them back at a certain schedule or you’re going to lose your audience,” Esmail said. “I’m just going to say this: I think it’s bulls–t, especially at the cost of the quality of the show.”
And why not? There are more than a few recent examples of seasons that could have used a little more time in the oven. True Detective — the first season of which helped convince Esmail that Mr. Robot could exist — pushed out its second standalone story a little more than one year after its impressive debut, and viewers saw the results.
“Is it better to rush something that’s not as good just to stay on schedule because you’re afraid of losing viewers?” asked Esmail (though not referring to True Detective.) “With the poor quality of writing or storytelling, you’re going to lose viewers anyway. I just think you’re shooting yourself in the foot by doing that.”
Esmail’s star, Rami Malek, sees it the same way. “Can you imagine how taxing it is to write all of those episodes, direct them, and have delivery or input for every trade in the crew and end up getting into the editing room with our editors over the weekend?” Malek asked. “Sam deserves a break.”
While a consensus exists in that regard, both Esmail and Malek are doubtful that USA would ever allow its hit summer show (which returns on July 13) to slip into the Fall.