Collateral attractions: Halt and Catch Fire “is the best drama on television”
High praise for Lee Pace’s series at the very mainstream Atlantic. I’d planned to watch the premiere of season 3 tonight but I’m not going to get control of the remote. Will definitely make time for it, though.
re: Pace, the reviewer writes:
Halt and Catch Fire uses MacMillan to satirize the Jobsian cult of personality that defines so much of the tech world. He began his time on the show as its brooding anti-hero, the renegade who brought everyone else together to try and take on computer giants like Apple and IBM. That’s why Halt’s first season felt like such a Mad Men knock-off, and why it has since struggled to gain ground with viewers after its slow start. But over three years, Cantwell and Rogers have turned MacMillan into a parody of the Don Draper-esque mercurial “idea man,” one who doesn’t know how to follow through on his big thinking and is constantly chasing the next revolution in an industry full of them. By 1985, MacMillan has become a millionaire by putting his name on anti-virus software, attracting new PC users with by stoking fears of hacking and privacy threats.
It wouldn’t work if Pace, clad in linen pants and designer aviators, couldn’t find his character’s humanity amid all his peacocking. But Pace makes MacMillan’s search for the next big idea feels like an unquenchable addiction, rather than a lame effort to seem cool. As he becomes the kingpin of online privacy, MacMillan comes back into conflict with his old partners at Mutiny. If last season is anything to go by, Halt and Catch Fire will lay an impressive amount of narrative groundwork before building to an appropriately soapy climax. This is a show that merges a gorgeous aesthetic with grounded storytelling, that talks about big-picture ideas while never betraying its core characters. Not enough people are watching, but they should be: Halt and Catch Fire is the best drama on television.