So I finally got around to finishing the first season of Mr. Robot.
It hit pretty close to home. I can relate to Eliot (the main character) quite a bit, even if I'm not that crazy. But an inability to connect with people, leading to a strong digital presence? Oh yes.
I've always idolized hacker culture, even if I was never savvy enough to be part of it. I grew up in techie surroundings; I got my first computer when I was 7 (1990), an 8086 with a whopping 640k of RAM. It ran DOS. You had to know what you were doing to get it to do anything, so lots of tinkering ensued. As I got older, I banded together more and more with the particularly techy folks, but never got beyond a power user really. I knew enough to do what I wanted to do, but as with most things, I never really explored further. I tended to just wait to be shown something.
I remember spending time on ICQ when that was a thing (although apparently it still exists!), and the fun and novelty of talking to people from all over the world. By the end of high school, my friends and I had our own private IRC channel someplace, which remained through my first year of college before I split off from that group. I think that's part of the reason I've been enjoying Hubski so much (even though I've only been here a week)...it feels like online communities used to. I also think it's why I've been so active—I really miss that online place where I fit, and so I have a lot of pent up nostalgia of a sort. I'm not going to think too hard about the extent that I'm trying to find a substitute for real-life connection :).
Anyway, back to the show. As I said, I don't have the level of technical knowledge to do what Eliot does. But the idea of sitting in the dark doing amazing things on a computer as a surrogate for actually connecting with people? Let's just say that I get it. Rami Malek, who plays the lead, is fantastic at doing people that are just a little off. I first saw him in The Pacific, about U.S. Marines in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and his character then was ever so slightly unhinged. He does the thousand-yard stare very well. He's great in Mr. Robot too. Crazy in a very different way, but he's totally believable. Christian Slater is the only other actor I recognized, but the whole cast is fantastic.
I did find the main twist to be kind of predictable, and the story isn't 100% plausible. But the characters involved absolutely are, and that's ultimately what matters.
Just finished S1 myself, I agree with your assessment. There are probably more examples out there but this is definitely by far the most realistic/least betraying representation of hacker culture I've seen(I wonder how Darlene was received on set after her performance as a similar character in The Strain which was more akin to Hackerman)
Elliot resonated with me also, especially the whole thing with the almost invisible line between reality and delusion that has troubled myself in the past.
Have you seen Kali? Haven't tried that particular distro myself but it should give you that hacker feeling(and maybe some NSA attention if you play your cards right!)