Halt and Catch Fire is in trouble ratings wise. The series premiere had 1.190 million viewers, the 3rd and most recent episode only .765 million. Which I is a shame as I think the series has a lot of promise. Is everything working on the show? No, there are some wrinkles to iron out as with most new shows, but I hope viewers and AMC give it some time to breathe.
Halt and Catch Fire takes place in the 1980’s and examines the birth of the first personal computers. Which may not sound like must-watch TV, but is essentially the story of the underdog. Brilliant, misunderstood, ignored visionaries fighting against enormous corporate giants who value the safety of the money in their pocket books over a brilliant idea. But the visionaries can’t make their machines without the corporations and the corporations rely on the visionaries to get the new “must have” product. It’s a fascinating dance to watch.
Halt and Catch Fire stars Lee Pace as the “crazy visionary with the big idea that will shake everything up”. While I think Pace does a great job of making Joe MacMillan a mixture of mysterious, sexy, and dangerous his character right now is too much of a cliche to be the center of the show. Luckily the show has a great center focus in Scoot McNairy who plays everyman Gordon Clark. Clark and his wife Donna (Kerry Bishe) are the true heroes of the show. A regular suburban couple who have big ideas. If they follow through with these ideas they can potentially risk the financial future of their family, if they ignore them they will most likely live their lives with a huge sense of regret. If Halt and Catch Fire succeeds it will be because of the McNairy-Bishe duo. They are fantastic in the show.
The creators of Halt and Catch Fire definitely know their stuff tech-wise and do a great job of explaining what’s going on in the show to people who aren’t tech-savvy. The people in charge of costumes, make-up, hair, and set design are knocking it out of the park. I haven’t made up my mind on the Cameron Howe character yet. I just can’t get Mary Stuart Masterson from Some Kind of Wonderful out of my head every time I see her. Yet at the same time I think actress Mackenzie Davis is fun to watch and is overall doing a great job. As are the other members of the ensemble.
It may not be for everyone but I think Halt and Catch Fire is worth your time to seek out. Halt and Catch Fire is on AMC Sundays 10/9c and all of the episodes are currently available to stream on AMCTV.com.