August 13, 2014
Halt and Catch Fire - Season 1
Lee Pace stars as a Steve Jobs type who may or may not be a total psychopath. He's manipulative as hell but manages to force greatness from people even if it nearly destroys them. In some scenes, he has a chest full of scars and offers multiple explanations for how they got there while we still don't know the real truth. He's also willing to sleep with men or women to get what he wants. This guy is a mess, and he's leading up a group of techies to build what he considers to be not just the next big thing in computing, but the thing that gets us to the next big thing. He's trying to project that far ahead.
Scoot McNairy plays the Steve Wozniak here who is still trying to get over a previous failure while being coaxed into this wild project by Pace's character. He and his wife dive headfirst into things and it causes problems between them. Meanwhile, a hotshot young programmer (Mackenzie Davis) is adding a little punk rock to the mix with her unique way of doing most everything, including the coding of a brand new operating systems. It both helps and hurts that she's sleeping with the boss. This first season ends with them all at a Comdex computer convention where they get to show off their work alongside everyone from IBM to Apple, then we find out what they've really accomplished.
I do hope that AMC renews Halt and Catch Fire for at least one more season because I would like to see what direction it takes after what all they've done with this first season. I believe the writers get the subject matter well and it's not technically inept at any level while still being understandable to those who weren't around back in those days.
Update: Halt and Catch Fire Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix. The new season starts this summer on AMC!