TV shows have it tough these days. In an age where millions now choose to illicitly download new episodes of their favourite shows rather than wait for them to be screened on terrestrial TV, it’s becoming increasingly hard to justify production costs against dwindling (legal) audience numbers.

Hugely popular shows can easily face cancellation if they have a largely web-savvy audience, so it’s heartening to hear that a new series that’s both targeted at and about such a group is getting a lifeline before its first episode has been officially screened.

Mr Robot, USA Network’s dark new drama about the machinations of a socially autistic hacker, has been renewed for a second season before it was broadcast on TV.  In a move that may likely be replicated by competing networks, USA released Mr Robot’s pilot episode on various digital platforms (including its own site) ahead of its TV debut, racking up impressive audience numbers of 2.6 million, according to Deadline.

“The overwhelmingly positive fan reactions to the pilot and the broad sampling of it, reaffirms our confidence in the series, and we’re excited to see where this timely drama will take us for season two,” USA Network President Chris McCumber told Deadline.

If you’ve never heard of it, Mr Robot follows a hacker named Elliot (played by Rami Malek) who works at an online security firm during the day and as a vigilante hacker by night. After an attack on the servers of his firm’s top client, he comes into contact with Mr Robot (Christian Slater) a hacktivist with sinister revolutionary plans for evening out the social playing field in the United States.

The pilot is currently earning rave reviews; it won the audience award at South By Southwest and was officially recognised at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

There’s no word on when it’ll be screened locally (or whether it will be at all) and we’re obviously not suggesting you engage in any illicit practices in order to watch it. However, we would feel remiss if we didn’t put Mr Robot on your collective radar.