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Posts Tagged ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

If you haven’t seen the series finale of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, Ten of Swords, read further at your own risk.  I’m going to do this review assuming that either you’ve seen it, or that you don’t mind spoilers.  If you’d like to catch up, go here to the website to see the season four episodes.

It’s a shame that Halt never got the audience it deserved.  It got plenty of love from critics, especially in the last two seasons, but it never became a ratings blockbuster.  It had an amazing cast, with Lee Pace (one of those actors whom I believe is capable of doing literally anything), as Joe MacMillan; Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark; Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe; Kerry Bishe as Donna Clark, and Toby Huss as John (Bos) Bosworth.

It started with Joe as almost a literal wrecking ball, manipulating others into buying into whatever his vision of the moment was.  The character was an unlikeable brute when the show first began.  Cameron was a genius programmer but working with her was like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall.  Donna and Gordon, married with two small girls when the series first started and later divorced with teenagers, were supposedly the grounded ones.  Hardware was their specialty; they had invented a computer themselves, but it never got off the ground commercially.

And that seems to have been the theme with Halt.  The foursome worked on great ideas that were either never successful, or that worked for a while until someone else came up with something better.  That is, if frayed relationships between them didn’t sink a project first.

In the 1990’s technology was moving fast, maybe too fast for small companies like Mutiny and Comet to compete.  Every time they’d get their product out there someone else would come up with another that made theirs obsolete.  The company where Donna becomes the managing partner has money and isn’t dependent on just one piece of software, so it survives where Comet fails.  Rover is just one piece of the pie for them, one they can afford to jettison when it gets eclipsed by something with a funny name – Yahoo.

But Halt was not just about the emerging technology.  It’s about connecting with other people, via the Internet (remember Mutiny’s Community?), as well as the personal connections they made with each other.  As Joe liked to say, computers “weren’t the thing, they were the thing that gets you to the thing.”  And the “thing” was connecting with people.

By the second season the Cameron and Donna characters were coming to the forefront of the show.  In the last episode we see just how intertwined those two had become, when Cameron first brings up the idea that she and Donna work together again, and Cameron isn’t talking about joining Donna’s firm.  When Donna asks her if she has an idea for something new, Cameron tells her the idea will come later, she just wanted them to work together again.  In a scene where the two of them visit the now vacant Comet offices they run through the possibility, but decide that it would end up like Mutiny.  Cameron tells Donna that this time, though, it wouldn’t break their friendship.  Donna pushes the idea away, until Cameron is getting ready to pull out of town with her Airstream, and then she rushes out of the diner to stop her, with just four words: “I have an idea.”

We never find out what the idea was (something akin to Facebook maybe?), but it’s great that their friendship and partnership is going to continue.

Then we come to Joe and Gordon.  Joe needed Gordon to help carry out his ideas, and Gordon needed Joe to give them to him.  When Gordon died Joe was lost.  His relationship with Haley (Susanna Skaggs) was sweet, particularly when he recognizes that Haley is gay and gently tries to tell Gordon how to help her.  Being bisexual Joe understands the difficulties of navigating that minefield, particularly in the 90’s.  By series end Joe is almost the opposite of how he started.  He’s a big ol’ softie who realizes that his relationship with Cameron isn’t working and he’s lost his best friend Gordon.  I think he also realizes that his ideas were big, but that maybe he’s not capable of making them come to fruition, particularly now that he no longer has Gordon the hardware guy and Cameron the programming genius.  His original idea for Comet wasn’t going to work – Haley was the one who devised the actual software.  He needs a reluctant Cameron to put a fix in for Comet as he can’t do it himself, but when she does so they realize Yahoo has – gasp – toolbars, making Comet instantly obsolete.

So Joe ends up as he began, teaching.  Humanities courses of all things!  He starts the class as he did with the one where he found Cameron, with the words “Let me start by asking a question.”  He’s come full circle, but he’s not the same Joe he was then.  On his desk there are pictures of Gordon, Cameron and Haley, his makeshift family.  Also in his office is an old Cardiff computer.  He’s starting over, but this time he’s taking with him things from his past that wouldn’t have mattered to the old Joe.

It’s interesting that the writers, after the first series, started concentrating so much on the Donna and Cameron characters.  This last episode in particular was all about women in technology.  Donna has a party at her house for all the ladies in her firm, and gives a moving speech about how she has made it in that world.  Haley is taking college-level C++ classes.  Cameron’s software expertise along with Donna’s hardware know-how come into play when Haley has a problem with her computer.  Even in 2017 women can relate to how hard it can be to make it in a male-dominated field.  That co-creators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell are men makes an important statement.

So the series ends after four years with the best episodes of the show.  If there’s any justice in this world, there will be Emmy nominations forthcoming.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

 

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I’m not bitter at ABC for cancelling Ioan Gruffudd’s Forever, nor for cancelling Pushing Daisies, a perennial favorite on the list of Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon.  OK, maybe a little bitter.  Scratch that – still a lot bitter.

Anyway, the stars of those shows went on to other things (in Lee Pace’s case, he became an elf king, not a bad gig).  As mentioned in the post below, Ioan Gruffudd will be starring in a six-episode series on the Sundance Channel with Joanne Froggatt.

ABC is redeeming themselves a little bit in Gruffudd’s case.  He will be making a series in Australia for ABC Studios International, Harrow.  The show is in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Company.  Gruffudd will once again be playing a forensic pathologist with a secret to hide.  The series will be shown here in the U.S.  You can find additional info here on Deadline.

If you haven’t been watching Halt and Catch Fire on AMC, you should go to their website and catch up before the fourth and final season starts on Saturday, August 19th.  Set in the early 1990’s the fourth season centers around a Really Big Thing that is about to happen… something called the internet.  The show stars Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishe.  Below is a teaser.

#IoanGruffudd #LeePace #HarrowMorgue #HaltAndCatchFire

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AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire is a great show with inexplicably horrible ratings.  The third season just ended, but despite the ratings AMC has announced they will give it a fourth and final season.

The show centers around Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), Donna Clark (Kerry Bishe) and Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis).  All of the first two seasons and most of the current third one is set in the late 1980’s, when personal computing innovation was taking off and something called the Internet was a twinkle in the eye of an idea man like Joe.  It’s not just a show about computers, though, for those who are worried it might be for computer geeks only.  It’s also about the lives and relationships of the four main characters, how they intertwine and separate, only to come back together again… or not.

The final two episodes oddly fast-forward four years from the end of episode eight into the early 1990’s, so be prepared for some major changes to have taken place in those four years if you’re catching up.

We’ll keep an eye out for season four.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

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Halt and Catch Fire’s second season is now available on Netflix.  The first season had been out there for a while, but the second season has pretty much universally been heralded as a big improvement on the first, so if you gave up on the show after season one, give it another shot.

You can also catch the episodes on HACF’s website.

The third season of the AMC series should premiere sometime in the summer (no firm date yet).  According to The Hollywood Reporter, Manish Dayal has been added to the cast.  The four series regulars – Lee Pace, Kerry Bishe, Mackenzie Davis and Scoot McNairy, will all be returning.

#HaltAndCatchFire #Lee Pace

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AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, a series set in the 1980’s and centering around the personal computer explosion, has been renewed for a third series of ten episodes.  Now that the action is being moved to Silicon Valley this next season should be very interesting.  It looks like series three will be coming along next summer.

Halt stars Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Guardians of the Galaxy, Pushing Daisies), Scoot McNairy (Argo), Kerry Bishe and Mackenzie Davis.  Toby Huss also co-stars.

Despite ratings lower than they were last season, the show was renewed due to these things:

  1. It became a critical darling in series two.  The first series was uneven, whereas the show became more focused in series two.  The critics noticed and raved about how much better it had become in its sophomore season.
  2. The show is wholly owned by AMC, meaning all the money it makes however it gets distributed belongs to AMC.  They don’t have to share the profits with anybody.
  3. It may have a small audience, but that audience is devoted and apparently on the upscale side.

Lee is currently filming The Book of Henry, directed by Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow and co-starring Naomi Watts and Sarah Silverman.

Glad to see Halt get picked up for a third season.  Now AMC just needs to get smart and move it from Sunday nights, where there’s too much competition.

#HaltAndCatchFire #LeePace

 

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You may have heard that Benedict Cumberbatch is doing Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre in London.  He has asked that members of the audience refrain from using their cell phones, especially to film the play.

This is one of those things people just shouldn’t have to be told.  But apparently there have been several instances lately of theater goers displaying really bad manners and doing everything from texting (actress Patti Lu Pone recently stopped a play and grabbed a cellphone from an audience member who was texting) to trying to charge their phone by going up onstage and plugging it into a (fake) electrical outlet on the set.  I’m not kidding.

Can we all just agree that it’s bad manners — not to mention distracting to the actors — to play around with your cell phone during a play?  Or at a movie theater for that matter.

While we wait to see whether Halt and Catch Fire gets a third season, Lee Pace will be doing New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse Season from July 31st to August 2nd.  More info here at BroadwayWorld.com.

Speaking of Halt and Catch Fire, the ratings for the 2nd season were not good.  The critics loved it, though, so a third season may depend on whether AMC thinks it’s worth more as a critical darling than a ratings winner.  Here’s a hint, AMC – move it away from Sunday nights.  There’s just too much competition for it to make a dent.

#Theater #LeePace #HaltAndCatchFire

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There are two season finales on Sunday of note.  One is Poldark on PBS, starring Aidan Turner.  I’ve already seen the entire season as Amazon released the DVD already, so all I’ll say is there’s a cliffhanger.  A big one.

The other season finale is AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, with Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishe.  If you saw episode 9, Kali, you know Cameron did something very naughty, and we wait to see what Joe is going to do about it.  We also wait to see if there will be a third season.

If you can find it, Ian McKellen’s flick Mr. Holmes is now playing.  It has an 87% on the Tomatometer, so that’s good.  McKellen also did a great interview on The Nerdist that’s worth a listen.  If you’re hungry, he gives instructions here on how to make really good scrambled eggs.  Always useful.

Sorry to bring bad news, but after shopping ABC’s former show Forever with Ioan Gruffudd around, creator Matt Miller says there are no takers.  At any rate, leading lady Alana de la Garza (Jo), has signed up with Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, according to CinemaBlend.

Warner Bros. has just put out a BTS look at The Man From U.N.C.L.E., with Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer.  Just in time for the weekend.  Enjoy:


#TheManFromUNCLE #Poldark #HaltAndCatchFire #MrHolmes

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Don’t forget that Season 2 of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire premieres tonight.  It stars Lee Pace (Joe), Scoot McNairy (Gordon), Mackenzie Davis (Cameron) and Kerry Bishe (Donna).

Toby Huss is also back as John Bosworth.

Season 2 fast-forwards a little from where season 1 left off, and gets into the beginnings of internet gaming with Cameron and Donna’s company Mutiny.  Just like Cardiff Electric was Compaq disguised, Mutiny is also a take-off on a real-life company (sorry I can’t remember which one it’s supposed to be).  The show is set in the 1980’s at the beginning of the personal computer revolution.

#HaltAndCatchFire

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The first season of Lee Pace’s AMC series Halt and Catch Fire is now on Netflix, in case you want to binge before the second season opener on May 31st.  You can also download it on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Xbox.

forever_via_cinemablendIoan Gruffudd’s Forever on ABC is on the renewal bubble.  It kicks it in Live +7 (meaning a lot of people are DVR’ing it), and it’s a definite ratings improvement over past shows in its time slot.  Whether or not it sticks around for a second season, though, is anybody’s guess.  I personally really like this show; Gruffudd is charming and the concept of an immortal medical examiner is interesting if not totally original.  If Castle is coming to an end, which I fear it is, Forever is a good replacement.

Speaking of Castle, stars Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have come to the end of their contracts and have not yet signed up for another season.  Fillion is working on his new Con Man project with Alan Tudyk, and Katic  has made noises that she may not be interested in coming back for an eighth season.  If there is one, it may be shortened to tie up some loose ends.

Get ready for Clone Club!  Orphan Black returns to BBC America on April 18th for its third season.  For a limited time the first two seasons are up on the website here in case you need to catch up.  They’re also available for download at various places like Amazon.

Image: Ioan Gruffudd and Judd Hirsch of ABC’s Forever

#HaltAndCatchFire #ForeverABC #OrphanBlack

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AMC has announced that the season 2 premiere of Halt and Catch Fire will be May 31st, according to Variety.

HACF_JoeThe show stars Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Guardians of the Galaxy), Scoot McNairy (Argo, Gone Girl), Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishe and centers around the explosion of computer companies in the 1980’s.  Cardiff Electric, the company Pace and McNairy’s characters work for, is a thinly disguised Compaq, while Davis and Bishe start up Mutiny, a company with the wild premise that computers could be connected via phone lines.

The Variety article also has a clip from season 2.

BTW, Pace is fresh off a win pitting his former (and much loved) series Pushing Daisies against Nathan Fillion’s Firefly for the show people would most like to see return.  He has said he’d be up for it if it were to happen… but I think a movie or maybe a Broadway musical would be more likely if it happens at all.  He and Fillion worked together when Pace was Guardians of the Galaxy’s villain Ronan and Fillion had a cameo as an alien in the prison scene.

Image: Lee Pace in Halt and Catch Fire

#HaltAndCatchFire

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GOTG_Bus-Shelter_RonanAlthough Lee Pace has said he would love to return to the Ronan character someday, and Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn has said he would love to work with him again, Gunn confirmed that Ronan won’t be back for GOTG2.  He isn’t ruling out a return in the future, however (or, you know, in a prequel)?

Lee’s current project, the second season of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, is underway.  The titles of the first three episodes have been released.  According to ibtimes.com, they are: SETI, Run Time and The Way In.  SETI is the acronym for The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute.  Makes you wonder if Joe found his momma at the observatory after all…

Remember you can catch up on HACF by binge-watching season 1 sometime before the second one appears.  See my previous post here.

Image: Lee Pace as Ronan in GOTG

#HaltAndCatchFire #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy #LeePace

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After starring in two of this year’s biggest films, as Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy and Elvenking Thranduil in The Hobbit, Lee Pace is coming back to television for a little while.

Lee’s episode of The Mindy Project will air on Tuesday, January 13th on Fox.  Lee’s character Alex runs into Mindy and there are flashbacks to when, as a dorky college student, he was “her first.”  For some pics go to Entertainment Weekly here.

HACF_JoeIn Variety AMC’s head of programming said Lee’s series Halt and Catch Fire is a program the network believes in.  The second season starts filming next week.  AMC will give people who are already fans, or those who want to catch up on it, several ways to watch season one ahead of the airing of the upcoming second season.  Check it out on AMC On Demand or AMC.com from February 7th through April 7th, or on Netflix starting April 8th.  The show is based in the early to mid-80’s during the computer revolution and the company depicted is said to be based on the beginnings of Compaq.

According to the Variety article, season two will pick up more than a year after season one ended, which is certainly odd.  I was looking forward to seeing Lee’s character Joe MacMillan head off through the woods to find his mother in the observatory… hopefully they will have flashbacks.

There are many of us who still miss Lee’s old show Pushing Daisies, which is always on everyone’s List of Shows That Were Cancelled Too Soon.  Plus, I still want Ned’s recipe for Pearway to Heaven pie.

#LeePace #HaltAndCatchFire #TheMindyProject

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