On April 10, I spent hours binge-watching Marvel's "Daredevil," which was released exclusively on Netflix that same day. The series raised the bar not just for Marvel, but also for television in general. It's gritty, dark, and entertaining. After binging on all 13 episodes over two days, my eyes felt like mashed potatoes. I looked around my apartment and thought, "Oh wow...I haven't breathed fresh air in a while." I stepped onto the balcony and enjoyed a cup of coffee.
A little later, I turned Netflix back on and noticed a show starring one of my favorite actors, Lee Pace. I read the premise and was intrigued. Then I saw that it also starred Scoot McNairy, another actor that always knows how to get it right with all of his roles. The show? AMC's "Halt and Catch Fire". I added it to my queue with the intention of starting it on Monday night. I was curious but needed a break from watching so much television. As I dilly-dallied around my apartment, I couldn't stop thinking about the show. Curiosity got the best of me and I eventually played the first episode. A few seconds in, I was hooked. Of the ten episodes in season one, I ended up watching seven from late Saturday night and early Sunday. Despite mushy eyeballs and melted brain cells, I just couldn't resist.
Created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, "Halt and Catch Fire" is set in the early 1980s and follows Joe Macmillan (played by the ever-handsome Lee Pace) as he infiltrates Cardiff Electric, a small computer company in Dallas, TX. He tricks his way into high position and begins to build a small team with the idea of creating the fastest computer on the market. He also has high hopes for the future of computing, and little by little begins to push his team into more elaborate concepts for his new computer. He's not concerned with how it gets done nor if it's actually physically possible, but he's going to achieve his goal.
|Lee Pace as "Joe MacMillan"|
|Toby Huss as "John Bosworth"|
The show is labeled as drama but fortunately the cast is wise enough to know when to add a bit of humor. Additionally, each of the three main characters have ego issues, but they show enough humility in their failures that you can't help but care for them. At times it feels like three elementary misfits getting into predicaments, then trying to find ways to get out of trouble. But overall these three are trying to innovate while hurdling everything, including their pasts.
|Scoot McNairy ("Gordon"), Mackenzie Davis ("Cameron"), and Lee Pace|
This is what makes these female leads (Cameron and Donna) unique to most television programs. Both are strong and brilliant without being the power-hungry stereotypes that befall most women characters. I have no doubt that this is in large part due to the excellent writing staff and the actors' decisions to make round, interesting characters.
|Kerry Bishé as "Donna Clark"|
For more information visit their IMDb page: www.imdb.com/title/tt2543312 or on AMC's site: www.amctv.com/shows/halt-and-catch-fire
TRIVIA: According to Wikipedia, the term halt and catch fire refers to several computer machine code instructions that cause a computer's CPU to cease meaningful operation.