Season 1, Episode 1
Your guide to drama set during the early era of personal computing in 1980s Texas—streaming now on Netflix.
Halt and Catch Fire, a show that premiered in the summer of 2014 on AMC, is about former IBM employee Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), who recruits Cameron Howe and Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy and Mackenzie Davis) to reverse-engineer an IBM computer and sell it. The pilot episode begins with MacMillan speaking at a college lecture, asking the students how skilled they are at various tasks in computer science. One by one, less and less hands are raised, until only Howe remains. MacMillan recruits Howe and is then hired by a company called Cardiff Electric as a sales representative.
Clark is a recovering alcoholic who just wants to spend time with his family, but that time is cut short as he is swept up by MacMillan. They figure out a way to reverse-engineer an IBM computer, but are caught by both Cardiff and IBM. MacMillan tells his boss that he alerted IBM he was doing so. This in turn forces Cardiff Electric to become a manufacturer of personal computers.
By the end of the episode, all of the pieces for the remainder of the season fall into place. The performances by the entire cast are excellent. Executive producers, creators, and writers Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers inject a good amount of humor to go with their realistic and gritty portrayal of these characters. The cinematography, costuming, and music remind the audience that this is a period piece, set in 1983. I am looking forward to checking out the remainder of the season on Netflix.