Critical Condition: Halt and Catch Fire

Halt and Catch Fire (S0H0, 9.30 Wednesdays)

Halt and Catch Fire is both a retro pleasure and a forward-looking gem … Halt picks up its third season in 1986, a few months after the gang from the tech company Mutiny made the trip from Texas to San Francisco … There are many things to love about Halt — it has a great soundtrack littered with some of the best pop songs of the era, and unlike so many ambitious dramas these days, each episode clocks in at 43 minutes. I could hug Halt for not being awkwardly crammed with indulgent digressions, for not revolving around murder and other grim things, and for having episodes of reasonable length that arrive complete with beginnings, middles and endings.” — Variety.

“AMC’s 1980s technology drama  returns with yet another system upgrade that builds on some of season two’s notable improvements. The show’s bugs and glitches also persist, but, if nothing else, Halt and Catch Fire has become an above-average specimen of ‘slow television,’ should you want such a thing in your life … There are even better ways to get an ’80s fix, starting with Netflix’s Stranger Things; aside from the occasional inspired hairstyle and music cue, Halt and Catch Fire’s sense of period detail has never seemed adequately obsessive. Yet I also find that the show has smoothed out enough kinks to become compelling on its own terms, which is often the case with slower shows.” — The Washington Post.

“This season of Halt and Catch Fire, which returns with a pair of back-to-back episodes, covers familiar thematic ground while remaining a very good period piece that traces the rise of digital technology and simultaneously uses it as a metaphor to explore its characters’ frailties. It’s also a show that hits you in the brain cells more often than the feels, which means that, like many current dramas, it’s more likely to inspire admiration than passion.” — New York magazine.

“The new season takes time to reset, and the movement in the early episodes is slow. The character dynamics are solid, though, and the ’80s details continue to be spot on. (At a fancy Valley restaurant, Donna stumbles over the pronunciation of a trendy new dish: risotto.) But any well-produced period piece can recreate bygone days. Halt lets you see them as the cusp of bracing change. The real product in its tech business isn’t hardware or software — it’s tomorrow, and Halt and Catch Fire makes its past future feel dewy and new.” — New York Times.

Halt and Catch Fire is still set so early in computer revolution and I have no doubt there are more stories to tell with these characters. After a first season spent finding itself, that initial renewal felt like a blessing. The next renewal felt like recognition for a job well done. Now it’s time for audiences to find the show. It’s not too late to watch the first 20 episodes, but if it’ll guarantee new eyeballs, I’d allow viewers to just jump in with the third season premiere. You’ll figure it out … It’s really one of the better dramas on TV.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

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