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  • atlasmb1 June 2014
    After watching the pilot for this AMC series, I am interested in seeing more. The story is alleged to be largely true. It involves an unlikely trio who are bound together in an attempt to create a market-worthy personal computer. The year is 1983 and IBM rules the market.

    First, there is Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), a type A rainmaker from New York whose opinion of himself may only be eclipsed by his ability to sell anything to anybody. He lands a job at Cardiff Electric in Texas and promises to overhaul their sales figures. But does he have deeper, perhaps darker, plans?

    Joe aligns himself with one of Cardiff's corporate drones, Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), an apathetic near-alcoholic who would seem to have nothing to offer. But Joe sees something in Gordon and challenges him to think beyond the meager circumstances of his conformist life. It's a dangerous gambit for Gordon, whose wife wants nothing more than conformity and reliability.

    Joe also crosses paths with a young woman named Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), a self-sufficient young woman who lives outside society's rules, though not very profitably. Though she is extremely experienced at working with computers and code, she spends her time playing video games in an arcade and scoffing at conformity and the rules of society. Physically, she reminds me of Mary Stuart Masterson in "Some Kind of Wonderful".

    Each of the three may possess a particular kind of genius. Or they may just be destined losers; it is difficult to tell.

    Joe's plan involves reverse engineering an IBM PC and then--well, it is difficult to tell just where his plan may lead them, but it will undoubtedly be a risky enterprise. Can he be the glue that holds this volatile team together? After watching the pilot for "Halt and Catch Fire", I am willing to watch and find out. It's a compelling premise and the actors are very watchable.

    After you fire a shot across the bow of IBM, how do you keep them from raiding your enterprise?

    Update: Now that I have watched a few episodes, I am happy to report that each of the various primary actors are being fleshed out and they have their own story lines and characteristics. Joe, as anticipated, is a force of nature.

    Further update 6/30/14: There is good writing and there is writing so good you wish you had written it. H&CF falls into the latter class. I am upgrading my vote to 10.
  • This is an incredibly intelligent drama on AMC, which in my opinion is better than Mad Men, and equal to some of the best dramas on this or any other network (including HBO).

    The acting is A+. The characters come off as real people, with real feelings, and complicated motivations. Again, these characters really "pop" with the same clarity as any of the other great dramatic TV shows.

    The sets (early 80s) are right on the money, and the writing is intelligent and clearly benefits from knowledge of those who lived and breathed the computer industry in the early 80s. But just like any of the great dramas, the show isn't really about computers (any more than Mad Men is about advertising, Friday Night Lights football, and so on). This is an original drama that really delivers, folks.

    I am incredibly upset at the lack of ratings. I feel that AMC perhaps didn't promote the show properly, or maybe launching in the summer was a miss. If AMC will give this show real legs with a season 2 renewal, without a doubt this will climb the ranks as one of the next great TV shows and will have a healthy run. Please give it a chance!


    UPDATE - much to my surprise and joy, the show shall return next summer for Season 2! Maybe there is a god after all ...


    UPDATE #2 - unbelievable; Season 3 has been ordered! THANK YOU AMC! I am a believer in the AMC network; they have the balls and bills to keep an excellent show going, despite viewership that is not exactly strong (but the passion of the viewers that turn in is quite high). Can't wait!
  • ace_m1 June 2014
    Just watched the Pilot - pretty slick stuff. Nothing ground-breaking, but solid fundamentals all there - plot, acting, script, prod design, music, pacing (no pun intended, lol). Speaking of Pace, the guy has presence and this attractive intensity about him that makes for a dynamic character. Also, already showing good character development, good plot devices, and intrigue. I always found the history of the evolution of computers and the internet and cell phones to be fascinating, and this looks to be another engaging foray into that often inaccessible world. They even manage to explain the technical and legal jargon well enough. On an unrelated note, I can't get over the fact that I think Mackenzie Davis is a dead ringer for a young Robin Wright. Looks like she could be the American Lisbeth Salander albeit with just a tad bit less edge. Decent music too, and I love anything 80's anyways. Best TV techie show since the underrated TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. So good so far, looks like another winner for AMC.
  • This show catches the nostalgic momentum that so many of us old school geeks long for.

    Why we got into computers to begin with. Why we spend extensive time playing with our electronics. Our type, we're here in abundance, and the need to get the word out that this is a "real" feel good reason why we got hooked to begin with... It often takes multiple seasons before you really catch the eye of a target group, but the production of HACF gets the attention of so many others in addition. Us, the geeks, we've just been waiting for a series that gets into the heart of why and how the society started with electronic niche needs... Just like Hackers and somewhat Silicon Valley HACF gives the feeling of consent and belonging from a time when the concept of using a computer for more than spreads was frowned upon.

    The whole concept has so much to build on; the series can come together again. But it doesn't need to. Take any one of those paths at the end of the season, and there's a new story just waiting to be told. Keep it on the air. And if no, just know some other production is going to milk the concept!

  • I love this show. Very smartly written and well acted. We've all seen shows with a charming, ruthless character but Joe Macmillan takes it to a new level. That's what the tryst with Lulu's boyfriend was all about in Ep. 3. No, Joe Macmillan is not gay, but he will do anything to win, including seducing the boyfriend to sabotage the deal with Lulu. That scene was misunderstood by most commenters.

    Given how many mediocre shows (anything on USA network) and dumb "Real Housewives" reality TV and derivative cop shows are out there, I'm thrilled that "Halt" came along. I just hope that it makes it to a second season. I'm still not over "Rubicon" being canceled.
  • I am in awe of the writing and the acting. This show epitomises the idea of character-driven. The emotional truth of the script and the actors is on a different plane to anything you might have seen. Comparisons with Mad Men and other shows are irrelevant. There is no comparison. These people are as real as fictional characters can get. The show is a deeply spiritual experience. Transcendental. Thank you.
  • A show with one of the best intros I've ever seen; this was a prelude of what was to come. Off the bat, the entire 80s nostalgia hits you hard. Lee, Gordon, and Cameron are the ultimate alter-egos and boy did the producers hit the nail on the digital head. The show has everything from corporate intrigue, personal rivalry, clashing visions, and historic technological developments. Over all I loved how they were able to stay loyal to the historic era from clothes to cars to hairstyles. To conclude this is a highly addictive story and character development is excellent. Very much looking forward to season 2, this is a must watch!!!
  • I was initially skeptical of the goofy title, but ultimately grew to really like this show. (Ended up joining mid-season, and binge-watching 5 episodes in one night.) For anyone who lived through the early 80's and the computer developments of that time, it's an interesting show, with interesting, complicated, realistic characters. I personally like it more than Breaking Bad or Mad Men (though not as much as True Detective.

    AMC would be stupid not to give this one more year -- most good non-network shows take awhile to "catch fire", and this one will likely pick up steam over the next year.

    I personally grew up on Tron, my 1983 TI994A, the Apple II, etc. I remember seeing an ad in a magazine for one of the first ever home computers, and simply getting turned on. I never ended up becoming a major techie, but I remember the excitement of something new, which eventually would end up changing all of our lives, opening up new communications and opportunities. An instructive series for anyone who didn't live through it, and a nice nostalgic piece for those who did. While also addressing the always exciting ideas of love, creativity and entrepreneurship.

    Worth checking out. There aren't many good, well-written, gripping shows on TV - this is one of them. And one of the only ones today with Breaking Bad and the Sopranos gone, and Mad Men ending.
  • From watching just one episode, I'm intrigued enough to watch another. Although I'm hardly a computer specialist, I do admit that I've always been fascinated by the technology. I'm old enough to remember when they were purchased for the workplace and you had to learn commands and operate A & B drives using floppy disks. No internet. Out with the secretaries and IBM selectrics. You had to write your own reports and letters.

    One of my favorite books is Tracy Kidder's Soul of a New Machine, which won him all kinds of prizes, about the race to build the dream computer. So far, this show reminds me of that book.

    Too early to judge whether this show will work out, but I liked the first episode.
  • I wrote a review, decided against the usefulness, reread the other reviews and decided to rewrite a review! I did live through the "80's tech era", in case there may be doubt. My computer programming assignments in college were completed on an IBM model with a floppy disk to boot. This first episode performed its duties well. If I had no knowledge of this generation of computers, I would still understand the take off point for this series. I have also started to form a personal opinion of these characters. The storyline is very easy to follow and it has the usual bad guys and good guys although I have not determined which slot to put all of them in yet. The characters were developed enough to start forming opinions but I am far from completing them. The groundwork has been laid for an entertaining David and Goliath story. I would hate to compare a show to another after just one airing however this reminds me of the movies, Erin Brockovich and The Rainmakers, etc. As I previously stated, however, there are many directions this could take and I will be investing my time to see which one they decide on.
  • What AMC did here is take a guaranteed formula like Mad Men, replaced the advertising firm with a computer one, and "voila". Don't get me wrong, Halt does it's own thing most of the time so its fresh, but there is a clear correlation. Lee Pace is essentially Jon Hamm (Draper) a big thinking salesman with a few more character flaws. The "job conflicting with family" dynamic though is switched onto his assistant, a computer software engineer, Scoot Mcnairy. Our third main star is the lanky Mackenzie Davis, who plays Cameron, a computer whiz kid who is the most ambitious, focused, and cynical of them all.

    So far the show is well paced and is able to generate some pretty intense scenes with IBM playing the "evil corporation" that seeks to impede their progress. It remains to be seen how long the show can keep generating interesting new challenges for them being the characters and company they work for are fictitious, yet their rivals and technology are based on fact. I think 2-3 seasons might be the most it can go before getting a little tired, but has my vote as best new show of the year.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    To start off, I'm a Computer Science graduate that has been with the computer / internet industry since about the dawn of the PC (Apple ][). I really wanted to see this series because it would depict all the exiting innovations and dramatic battles what I have witnessed up close. And that have influenced my life greatly. . I've watched all 3 seasons now, reluctantly. And I must say, I'm *very* disappointed. Sure, the series is well made, and the acting is okay. But the main subject of the series, the tech industry, is almost completely pushed aside by unnecessary personal drama. The "soap opera" tactics, used to make this series interesting for a broader audience I presume, include: 1 Numerous inter-colleague affairs, 2 Bi-sexuality, 3 Life threatening illness, 4 Suicide, 5 Major crimes, 6 Always working behind each others backs, 7 Never listening to reason, never consult beforehand, 7 always make your life-changing decision in a snap. It's like watching "As the World Turns" with some tech thing happening once in a while. . Come on, script writers, you are better than this! You don't need all this cr*p to make it good. The tech industry has plenty of drama to make it interesting in itself. It's brutal, exciting, and even wrecks personal lives... Please do a better job for the next season and stick to the subject. Thank you.
  • cathydoggymom17 October 2017
    I have spent the past several months binge watching the four seasons of this series and enjoyed the way in which this program developed. I hated to see the last episode of the fourth season air and would have loved to have had more episodes yet to watch! Great job by all of the cast members. Everyone played well off one another.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was ready to bail on HALT AND CATCH FIRE after the first couple of episodes. The pilot's curious promise of sort of a wild west frontier angle set in the silicon prairie gave way to a maddening series of episodes that hinted of something happening and then once again grinding to a halt. An exasperating tug-of-war that made me wonder if the writers had a blueprint for the season's trajectory. So I have no clue why I stuck it out to completion; I'm guessing some perverse hope that it'd get better. It didn't. It's uncharacteristic of me; I bailed much earlier on with MAD MEN (HALT's comparisons to that show are unavoidable, to its detriment), which is why I can't explain why I hung on til the end.

    But my one question is this: on what is clearly an underdog show, with people constantly staring down adversity and the next crisis, why are the central characters so unlikable? Joe's obvious Patrick Bateman undercurrent got old quick (and wasn't fully fleshed out); Cameron's way too eccentric - and when something mean happens to her, I don't feel sympathy; Gordon was clearly the one we're meant to root for most of the time, but he always came off as a dick. Which leaves Donna, my favorite of the group, but not one of the main three. It needed more Donna and less of the others. And then what kind of show would that be?

    It's entirely subjective, and I don't wish ill feelings on anyone who enjoys this show. But I hate these characters.

  • Sorry but being the hard criminal bisexual angry i hate you i hate this job this product this company genius doesn't actually exist in the real world. The reality is that there are tons of talented engineers who could do her job w/o the nonsense. The mythos that smart people are psychotic criminal masterminds who perform oral sex on their boss just to prove a point is just that, a myth. In the real world engineers hire engineers who do boring mundane competent engineer things. The scene in ep2 where she brushes her teeth is actually weird because we're supposed to think that she brushes her teeth with bourbon and flosses with a switchblade. While saving dolphins and puppies.

    Really? Because that's crazy. And I can appreciate artistic license but it's old and tired predictable and boring.
  • Working in the tech industry and remembering the days of the TRS-80 and Apple II+ I couldn't wait to see a Mad Men format for the dawn of technology. There's no need to give fact checks; like throwing out tech words that weren't in common use till 20 years later, they are fun to hear and imagine.

    The 6.5 I'm giving THACF is a little rough, and can easily be improved as the season develops. The ding in score is the fact that ALL the characters are deeply flawed in anger issues. We do not need to hear the characters continuously fly off the handle in over the top tirades to help dramatize the situation. The mental breakdowns are one after the next in what would easily be career ending displays of severe mental issues. It's as if they are building up to a grand final where one of the characters goes 'Postal'. It would help explain the backstory and red flags. I think everyone has a bit of drama in their lives, but does every character need to go from 0 to a 100mph, red faced and screaming at the top of their lungs? (literally.

    One of the things that made Mad Men amazing was the writing surrounding how they solved problems. Please take another page out of that format.

    They are not solving any here, just winging it. I can't help but root against the mess they are creating, and that's sad.
  • This TV show had so much potential. It has great, beautiful actors. Set in the best technological booms of our time. But it has so many flaws.

    Unrealistic time progression within the story line. Constant montages after montages. Main characters that repeat mistakes then they question themselves and expect to get different results. The drama that the characters go through is always in the same mood and its so stretched out. There is a point where the characters know themselves so well but they still question themselves.

    I really like how the characters acknowledge a problem, they try to fix it and while they are fixing the problem something happens, followed by a speedy keyboard typing montage with punk music playing in the background. This formula gets repeated throughout the entire show. It becomes so predictable that I can't help but ruin it for myself. The things that happen to the characters becomes annoying because the conflicts and issues the characters deal with can easily be avoided.

    Mackenzie Davis is a beautiful actor and she deserves a better role. Lee Pace is a beautiful actor and he deserves a better role. Actually they should get married in real life.

    I'm still gonna watch the show but I watch it just to turn off my mind.
  • ...By a Brit ;) Sure it had some minor flaws and cliches, but it had a very important message about failure and finding inner strength to continue trying to find the next big thing.. and finding solace if not. Those of us who happen to work in startups especially in the tech arena can well relate to the characters and story lines, and for those that don't - it's all very much like that. Whether it's scrounging a lift to a conference to demo something because your company is in dire straits (or because the board doesn't approve) or seeing key people being asked to leave having inadvertently almost destroyed the thing they started to create...Halt tells the stories and is gripping start to end in a job well done. Farewell, great ride whilst it lasted.
  • KWarfield82216 June 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    I have watched the first two episodes and I like this series so far. Like Mad Men before it I love watching recent history period piece series that we already know the outcome of the product or products that they are developing. My favorite part so far is when the guy suggests that the computers be "portable" and that he wants them to develop one that weighs only "15 lbs" and the who room goes crazy and starts to say how that can never be. :) The characters are still a little confusing since they are still developing before us, but that is to be expected.I do love how the one character who is the boss will definitely soon to be known as a dinosaur. He is gruff and thinks that he knows everything, and doesn't seem to want to move into the future. I will continue to watch this one. I think this is going to be good. Thanks, AMC for more good programming!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Unfortunately the story immediately drifts too far left in the unnecessary opening scene of episode 1. Sex between strangers in a back room --is hardly part of what was probably in reality a great historical docudramedy-- almost made me end it right there. Almost again during episode 2. But now I've stopped forever at mid-episode 3, now that a lead character (from the afore- mentioned scenes) goes openly Bi. Most of us don't want or need this. Not every story has gays or needs a southpark "T" gay. Nor does it need constant sex. It just not real.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This show is about the birth/growth of the personal computing and the internet. It revolves around the work of a handful of characters, mixed with their personal drama. Looking back I wish I hadn't watched this series at all. The characters keep striving to be on the cutting edge, but the viewer is never really given the satisfaction when they reach their goals. Their achievements are glossed over, and the viewer is left underwhelmed.

    The acting was good, but I kept waiting for something notable to happen, and it never really did. The series had the typical Hollywood social engineering (anti-male & anti-nuclear family agenda). While it wasn't so blatant in the beginning, once you got to the end, you realize there was an agenda all along.

    The best programmer, hardware engineer, and business people were women. All of the main male characters in the series were portrayed to be physically weak, mentally/emotionally weak, socially awkward, or failures. They even made the suave ladies' man character bisexual. There was no "average guy" character for male viewers to relate to.

    The finale made it clear the whole series was about promoting women in the tech industry. Most of the women shed connections to men, including a daughter coming out of the closet. Plus, the finale had a long pro-female speech given to a large group of women. While I have no problem with strong female characters, there comes a point when it's pushed too far and it emasculates the male characters – and the show loses complete credibility as a result.
  • I watched first two seasons and took most of it with a grain of salt. Reportedly based on true story but I don't buy it. Too much pc baloney. I liked season 1. Season 2 was okay. Season 3 was painful to watch. Gay guy, 2 women and a poor nerd engineer. Yep this is what started the tech boom and all the explosion of the internet? Sorry not only don't I buy it I know it bares no resemblance to actual history. Kind of like a lot of stuff nowadays. Pretentious garbage. I honestly couldn't find a single character I could relate to or root for other than the poor Texan everyone takes for granted. Not much on TV worth watching any more. This series needed to end last season. Dragging it out another season lost me.
  • mattedj30 June 2014
    The show oscillates, but not extremely, in its goodness from show to show. It stays pretty busy making references and acknowledgments to those who will be watching intently for it, but still feels blurry in the tech time-line.

    The show as a derivative of the situations used by Mad Men: with the salesman/iconic-Jobsesque pitching of the next great dream product, can be relatively fun to watch and works for the most part, but don't be surprised when it's not on par with Mad Men's superb writing/writers.

    I will continue to watch the show and hope that it holds its ground, but I'm confused about the long game within its premise, the pace has to keep watchers from becoming bored without exhausting the story before season 2/3. Can it be done? I'm leaning toward no.
  • The show started off really great with interesting plot. However, the Cameron and Joe drama keeps coming back to a point that we know something is going to go wrong eventually. Cameron's character should be killed off. There is just nothing going on there. We know she will screw things up eventually for everyone and blame everyone else for it. Such a useless character, bringing down the tempo whole show.
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