'Mr. Robot' arrives early on social media: A look at the show's rise

'Robot' became a critical success after debuting during the summer of 2015. A portion of the Season 2 premiere appeared unexpectedly online prior to the episode's official debut.

'Mr. Robot' stars Rami Malek.

Part of the season premiere of hacker drama “Mr. Robot,” a new success for network USA, recently appeared online, no doubt a bit earlier than fans were expecting.

“Robot,” which premiered in the summer of 2015 and quickly became one of the best-reviewed programs of the year, is scheduled to debut on USA on July 13. Part of the season premiere, however, appeared on the USA site and on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat, among other platforms, on July 10.

The clip was only the first half of the two-hour season premiere, however. 

The move echoes the themes of the show, which centers on Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) and his efforts to take down the ubiquitous E Corp, a technology company.

“Robot” became one of the most successful new TV shows on cable in the ratings after it debuted last summer. The show is "thrilling," IndieWire's Erik McClanahan wrote last fall, calling it "a bold vision that further blurs the lines between cinema and TV.

"It's hard to remember the last time USA put on anything more intriguing," Variety's Brian Lowry opined soon after the show's debut. 

The success of “Robot” also shows how one big new show can change the conversation about a cable network or streaming service. AMC, for example, started out as a network that mainly aired films and had previously attempted to bring new series to audiences, but some, like “The Lot,” struggled to find critical acclaim.

After AMC premiered “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” within a year of one another, however, the network became the subject of much attention. It has managed to hold on to some newer critically acclaimed programs after "Bad" concluded in 2013, and "Men" came to an end in 2015.

Shows like "Outlander" have been similar gifts to their networks. The time-travel saga has boosted the Starz network's prestige among competitors. 

Increasingly, however, those competitors include streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. The companies have made themselves part of the awards season and critical conversation after debuting acclaimed shows such as “House of Cards” and “Transparent,” respectively.

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