On Fire

Halt and Catch Fire has its problems…

It has an odd balance of dropping arcane computer trivia without explanation and then spelling out much simpler ideas step by step.

(I suggest following the stream – and watch out for the dwarves. They’re nasty)

The characters – well, they’re awesome, but they’re also dangerously close to stereotype. Actually, they’re all over stereotype, but still great to watch:

1. Brooding rich guy with daddy issues who’s determined to hold the reigns of the company come hell or high water. Except for that time when the water did get way high and he did walk away from things for a while.

2. Brooding young stereotype-smashing cute punk girl with vision, talent and a work ethic to make Santa’s elves look like they take December off. (the part about stereotype-smashing still counts as a stereotype)

3. Brooding hardware genius who may actually be the only person on the team with a sincere psychological disorder, but he chooses not to medicate it away for fear of losing the creative spark. He’s also an idiot when it comes to relationships, because his out-of-his-league wife turns out to be smarter than he is, yet he willfully refuses to see this in her until it may be too late.

4. The out-of-his-league wife of the brooding hardware genius. She doesn’t brood at all, but she does take a lot of crap and saves her first real emotional damn-break for the season’s penultimate episode.

But it’s problems just serve to make it feel real. The main characters you know immediately through their stereotypes, but with enough depth to be drawn into their struggles as you cross your fingers hoping that they break through their shells into the real personalities that are simmering within them.

The background is lush with honest characters. Some you like and some you hate, but all of them are real enough to make you care.

images-1And all that arcane computer trivia? It’s a nostalgic wave for those of us old enough to remember the time this all occurred. It is, after all 1983, the year before the Apple Macintosh is released to the public and the sea starts to change for everyone. Halt and Catch Fire gives you a front row seat to the computer revolution, bringing us into a world that we’re familiar with, but don’t really know. It carefully walks the line between fact and fiction inventively putting us in with a company that we desperately want to see succeed, yet, if they did, wouldn’t we know them? So failure can never be far away.

I can’t wait for the season finale: 1984

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4 comments on “On Fire

  1. Last I saw, Gordon was digging for The Giant. It seems like the characters are just teetering on a free fall, except for Donna, and I am in way too much anxiety over it. I really want Gordon to succeed, but he is cracking. In big big ways.

    • Donna is terrific (she’s the out-of-Gordon’s league wife in my description). Gordon is so frustrating in his lack of appreciation for her.
      It sounds like you have another episode to watch, Tamarah – Comdex awaits. How late are you staying up?

      • Apparently not that late 🙂 Okay, if Comdex awaits then I’m going to have to see it. You know, I was really rooting for Gordon until Donna came and saved the backup situation and he threw her under the bus.

  2. Exactly. I can’t believe the way he treats her. It’s especially interesting because he doesn’t mean to be mean to her … but he always is.

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