I’m literally kicking myself for not watching AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire when it originally aired. As should you be.
Having originally aired from June 1, 2014, to October 14, 2017 (four seasons, forty episodes), this binge-worthy series starred Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishé, and Toby Huss. The show starts off in 1983 and follows Pace’s Joe MacMillan and McNairy’s Gordon Clark as the two attempts to make a PC Clone of the IBM, which reigned supreme back then. Halt and Catch Fire is full of computer revolutionary steps that seem so minuscule to modern-day technology. I will always laugh at one character saying it is impossible to make a portable computer that is under fifteen pounds. If only they knew then what we know now.
The Core of the Show
From just the description, this show might not sound as compelling as it actually is. I’m urging you to go to Netflix and look up Halt and Catch Fire. You won’t regret it. Not only is it one of the best-scripted series I’ve ever watched, but watching this show will have you wanting to be transported back into the 1980s when innovation was booming. Everything that is so integrated into our daily lives was just ideas back in the day and it took a lot to get where we are now. It’s almost exciting to watch the characters discover laptops, online messaging boards, and even find amazement over Apple computers speaking.
Who Makes ‘Halt and Catch Fire’ So Special
Halt and Catch Fire may be a show about computers, but it’s the people and their stories that are the most compelling. Each character is a complicated puzzle that develops over time, completely dismantling what you may have thought of them originally. Joe MacMillan may seem like the pretty boy corporate asshole and while he may be flaky, occasionally (though not intentionally) screw people over, there’s so much more to him. We find out more about his father, his mother, and why it is so hard for him to let people in to see the real him. He is also bisexual and doesn’t tolerate anyone’s homophobic remarks; every time Joe punches some intolerant tool I cheered.
Joe also has a wonderful effect on people. Such as Gordon Clark. When we first meet Gordon, he is sleepwalking through life. After suffering a disappointment a few years prior, he’s become depressed, and a shell of who he once was. That’s until Joe lit a fire under his ass. We watch Gordon transform throughout the seasons and realize his potential. Gordon’s story is one of the most compelling of the series, as we find out what is going on with him, and how he deals with what life is dealing him. I cried and cheered for Gordon, while also becoming upset over the hardships he and his wife Donna (Kerry Bishé) faced throughout the seasons. Donna could have easily been the stereotypical wife to the “genius husband”, but Donna is every bit as smart, if not smarter; than everyone else. Everyone in this show made mistakes and they were incredibly human. We got to see the real-life sacrifices people make in order to achieve their goals.
The biggest transformation of Halt and Catch Fire is Davis’, Cameron Howe. A brilliant coder, she went from a punk-rock loner to a compassionate, hard-working businesswoman whose ideas were way ahead of its time. While Joe and Gordon focus on making computers faster and cheaper, Cameron looks to give computers personality. How can they be used to communicate – how can we make them intelligent? Cameron could be frustrating at times and explosive, but she always stood for who she was and did not compromise. She was a great part of the show and watching her fall and get back up was one of the things that were inspiring about this series.
I cried, I laughed, and I loved Halt and Catch Fire. I hope you do too.
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A girl with too many fandoms to count.