Halt and Catch Fire (TV series)
Halt and Catch Fire is an American period drama television series created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers. It aired on the cable network AMC in the United States from June 1, 2014, to October 14, 2017, spanning four seasons and 40 episodes. Taking place over a period of more than ten years, the series depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution of the 1980s and later the growth of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s. The show's title refers to computer machine code instruction HCF, the execution of which would cause the computer's central processing unit to stop working ("catch fire" was a humorous exaggeration).
|Halt and Catch Fire|
|Created by||Christopher Cantwell|
Christopher C. Rogers
|Theme music composer||Trentemøller|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||40 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Running time||41–54 minutes|
|Original release||June 1, 2014 –|
October 14, 2017
In season one, the company Cardiff Electric makes its first foray into personal computing, with entrepreneur Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) helming a project to build an IBM PC clone with the help of computer engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) and prodigy programmer Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis). Seasons two and three shift focus to a startup company, the online community Mutiny, that is headed by Cameron and Gordon's wife Donna (Kerry Bishé), while Joe attempts to venture out on his own. The fourth and final season focuses on competing web search engines involving all the principal characters.
Halt and Catch Fire marked Cantwell's and Rogers's first jobs in television. They wrote the pilot hoping to use it to secure jobs as writers in the industry, but instead landed a series of their own from AMC. The story was inspired by Cantwell's childhood in the Silicon Prairie of Dallas–Fort Worth, where his father worked as a software salesman, and subsequent research into Texas's role in personal computing innovations in the 1980s. Filmed in the Atlanta, Georgia, area and produced in-house by the network, the series is set in the Silicon Prairie for its first two seasons, and Silicon Valley for its latter two.
Though it experienced low viewership ratings throughout its run, Halt and Catch Fire debuted to generally favorable reviews and grew in acclaim in each subsequent season.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Lee Pace as Joe MacMillan: a technology entrepreneur and former IBM sales executive, he joins Cardiff Electric, where he provides the impetus for the IBM clone. Later in the series, he initiates projects involving time-sharing, NSFNET, antivirus software, a web browser, and a search engine. He has limited technical expertise and has difficult relationships with other characters, including a complicated romantic relationship with Cameron Howe, and he is estranged from his parents.
- Scoot McNairy as Gordon Clark: a computer engineer selected by Joe MacMillan to build the IBM clone in the first season after Joe reads an article Gordon wrote on open architecture. Motivated by the failure of Symphonic, a computer he created with his wife Donna, Gordon works with Joe to build the hardware for the new computer. He suffers from a degenerative brain disorder caused by toxic encephalopathy throughout the later seasons, and the breakdown of his marriage.
- Mackenzie Davis as Cameron Howe (born Catherine Howe): a technology prodigy who is recruited from a university by Joe MacMillan to write the BIOS for the IBM clone. She later forms her own gaming company, Mutiny, with Donna Clark, and creates Space Bike, a successful video game series for Atari. Her father died in the Vietnam War and she has a difficult relationship with her mother.
- Kerry Bishé as Donna Clark (née Emerson): a computer engineer and Gordon's wife. She originally works for Texas Instruments before joining Mutiny to support Cameron. After Mutiny, she becomes a partner in a top Silicon Valley venture capital firm. She is shown to put her own ambition above her relationships, particularly with Cameron.
- Toby Huss as John Bosworth: the senior vice president of Cardiff Electric who hires Joe. At the end of the first season, he is incarcerated for illegally funding the PC project. He is shown to be a good salesman, and in season two, he works for Mutiny. He sees himself as a father figure to Cameron Howe.
- Aleksa Palladino as Sara Wheeler (season two): a freelance journalist and Joe's girlfriend.
- Morgan Hinkleman (seasons 1–3) and Kathryn Newton (seasons 3–4) as Joanie Clark
- Alana Cavanaugh (seasons 1–3) and Susanna Skaggs (season 4) as Haley Clark
- August Emerson as Malcolm "Lev" Levitan (seasons 1–3)
- Cooper Andrews as Yo-Yo Engberk (seasons 1–3)
- David Wilson Barnes as Dale Butler (seasons 1, 4)
- Graham Beckel as Nathan Cardiff (seasons 1–2)
- Annette O'Toole as Susan Emerson (seasons 1–2)
- Mike Pniewski as Barry Shields (seasons 1–2)
- Scott Michael Foster as Hunt Whitmarsh (season 1)
- John Getz as Joe MacMillan, Sr. (season 1)
- Bianca Malinowski as Debbie (season 1)
- Mark O'Brien as Tom Rendon (seasons 2–4)
- James Cromwell as Jacob Wheeler (season 2)
- Annabeth Gish as Diane Gould (seasons 3–4)
- Manish Dayal as Ryan Ray (season 3)
- Matthew Lillard as Ken Diebold (season 3)
- Anna Chlumsky as Dr. Katie Herman (season 4)
- Molly Ephraim as Alexa Vonn (season 4)
Conception and development historyEdit
Halt and Catch Fire was created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, who met while working at the Walt Disney Company. Cantwell's online movie company was acquired by Disney and he was moved into its marketing department, while Rogers was hired by Cantwell's team to manage Disney's editorial program for social media. After a year of working together, they learned that they had each graduated from screenwriting programs in college—Cantwell from the University of Southern California as an undergraduate student, and Rogers from the University of California, Los Angeles as a graduate student. Rogers referred to Cantwell and himself as "dream-deferred writers". In August 2010, they agreed to collaborate on screenwriting, and their first script, a pilot about the assassination of John F. Kennedy called The Knoll, appeared on the Black List of popular unproduced screenplays. Their talent agents urged them to produce another script they could use as a staffing sample. Since the agents thought it was unlikely a network would option a script from first-time writers, their intent was to use the sample script to land them entry-level writing positions in the industry. The agents advised them to write something in which they were personally invested.
As Cantwell and Rogers brainstormed for their staffing sample, Cantwell recalled his childhood. In 1982, when Cantwell was just six weeks old, his father moved their family from Elgin, Illinois, to Plano, Texas, to take a job as a systems software salesman for UCCEL Corp. As a child, Cantwell was unaware of Texas's role in the personal computer revolution of the 1980s, but after speaking to his father and researching the era with Rogers, they learned how the Silicon Prairie of Dallas–Fort Worth (in which Plano is located) became a secondary technology hub behind California's Silicon Valley. Companies in the Silicon Prairie included Texas Instruments, Electronic Data Systems, Tandy, and RadioShack, while elsewhere in Texas, Dell (in Austin) and Compaq (in Houston) were also prominent players in the PC industry. Executive producer Jonathan Lisco said, "[Texas] was viewed by a lot of people at the time, per our research, as sort of a catch basin for people who had not succeeded [in Silicon Valley]. On the other hand, there was a lot of wonderful tech going on here." Cantwell said that he and Rogers were intrigued by the lesser-known players and settings of the tech industry: "We wanted to find the place you didn't know. Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, IBM, Microsoft, all those stories and companies have been exploited dramatically to great effect." In their research, Cantwell and Rogers came across stories of computer engineers at Compaq taking risks in attempting to reverse engineer the IBM PC. They conceived the pilot for Halt and Catch Fire in January 2011. The first eight pages portrayed their protagonist Joe MacMillan at IBM. In May, Cantwell left Disney; Rogers remained until the future of their project was assured.
Cantwell and Rogers finished the draft of their pilot in the summer of 2011. Their agents liked the script, but were not optimistic about selling it. They sent it to several television networks, leading to meetings with HBO and Showtime. In late October, the writers met with AMC. By that point, Cantwell had been out of work for five months and was quickly diminishing his savings. He and Rogers were surprised to find that the AMC executives had a copy of their script at the meeting. One of the executives, Ben Davis, said: "We were really interested in trying to tap into that world — into the spirit of innovation, and the tech world specifically. I loved the idea that it took place in Dallas and that I didn't hear Steve Jobs' or Bill Gates' name. It approached it from the backdoor instead of straight ahead." After a second meeting with Cantwell and Rogers on December 5, AMC optioned the script the next day. In March 2012, when Cantwell and his wife had depleted their savings, he learned that AMC would not make a decision about Halt and Catch Fire until autumn. On October 23, 2012, Cantwell and Rogers pitched the network on how they envisioned Halt and Catch Fire as a potential series. The network ordered a pilot the following month. The project was Cantwell's and Rogers's first jobs in the television industry. Cantwell said, "The first writers' room we walked into was our own." The network announced a series order of 10 episodes in July 2013.
In February 2013, it was announced that Lee Pace had been cast in the lead role of Joe MacMillan, and Mackenzie Davis in a co-starring role as Cameron Howe. The following month, Scoot McNairy was cast as Gordon Clark and Kerry Bishé as Gordon's wife Donna; it was a reunion for McNairy and Bishé, who had played a married couple in the film Argo a year prior. Also in March, David Wilson Barnes was cast in the pilot as Dale Butler. Barnes was initially credited among the main cast in the first season, but was written out after just two episodes when the story went in a different direction. He reprised the character for the series finale.
For season two, Aleksa Palladino joined the cast as a regular, while James Cromwell and Mark O'Brien joined as recurring characters. For season three, Manish Dayal was cast as Ryan Ray, an Indian-American computer programmer native to San Francisco. Cantwell and Rogers created the character to match the change in demographic after the series's setting shifted to Northern California. Matthew Lillard and Annabeth Gish were also cast in recurring roles. For season four, Kathryn Newton and Susanna Skaggs were cast to play teenaged versions of the Clarks' daughters, and Anna Chlumsky joined in a supporting role.
Prior to the fourth season, AMC addressed the gender pay gap among its four leads by giving Davis and Bishé salary raises to match what Pace and McNairy were earning. Davis and Bishé were relatively unknown when they signed their original deals at lower salaries; Davis was earning the minimum rate at the time. Their characters were given more screen time beginning with the second season, but the actresses did not feel they were being equitably compensated for their work. Before Davis and Bishé could renegotiate with AMC, the network gave them unsolicited raises.
Due to Cantwell's and Rogers's inexperience, the network wanted experienced producers for the project and brought in Melissa Bernstein and Mark Johnson, who were producing AMC's hit television drama Breaking Bad. They guided Cantwell and Rogers through the process of creating the pilot and were, as the writers called them, their "advocates... with the network". AMC also chose to hire someone more experienced in television to be the series' showrunner. As part of a two-year deal with AMC, Jonathan Lisco was chosen in July 2013, having just concluded three seasons as executive producer on the television drama series Southland. Lisco was impressed by the script for the Halt and Catch Fire pilot, but initially was unconvinced that he was best-suited for the showrunner role. He did not view himself as a technophile, and wondered if there would be "enough stakes in the bits and the bytes", saying the subject matter did not "dramatically blow your hair back". The network helped change his mind by telling him the series could not be exclusively about technology, and that they believed he could help them delve deep into the characters to create stakes. When they met, Lisco felt an immediate creative connection with Cantwell and Rogers, and sensing they had a strong vision for the series, signed on as showrunner. Leasing office space in Studio City, Los Angeles, he helped Cantwell and Rogers through the process of assessing and hiring writers.
Lisco stepped down as showrunner after the second season to work on the TNT television series Animal Kingdom. Joel Stillerman, AMC's president of original programming and development, called Lisco's departure "completely amicable". Cantwell and Rogers took over as showrunners prior to the third season. Rogers called Lisco the duo's mentor, saying: "He kept us creatively involved and really showed us the ropes, and we felt like it was a master class in how to run a room, both in terms of getting a great story out of people, and in terms of being a really good and decent and fair person in what can sometimes be a brutal industry." All of the series's writers also departed after the second season, as they were each busy working on their own projects, requiring Cantwell and Rogers to build a new writing staff. Due to the third season's shift in setting from Dallas to California, they hired a new director of photography, Evans Brown, to give the series a sunnier look.
For research, the production staff and cast studied Robert X. Cringely's documentary Triumph of the Nerds and the books Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder, The Nudist on the Late Shift by Po Bronson, and The Silicon Boys by David A. Kaplan.
Due to the production schedule, the actors did not have formal table reads of the scripts. Instead, they organized their own, gathering at Pace's house on weekends to prepare dinner, drink wine, and discuss the scripts and their characters. Davis said of the cast dinners, "it was really nice, because you got to hear other people's point of views about your character." For the third season, Pace, Davis, and McNairy lived together in a rented house in Atlanta, with Toby Huss joining them for the fourth season. The arrangement helped foster a camaraderie among the cast members.
Each season, the writers strove to "use up [their] story fast" rather than save the most dramatic moments for later. Rogers said that the uncertainty of the series's fate from season to season "reinforced a hold-nothing-back mindset in the storytelling". They aimed to advance the plot quickly enough that it would not be predictable. Rogers described their approach: "We want to put ourselves into corners and ask ourselves to write out of them." To avoid depicting binary relationships between the characters of either getting along or fighting, the writers took different approaches to changing the dynamics between characters, such as creating new pairings.
Cantwell and Rogers hoped to use the pilot to land writing jobs on series they already liked. Consequently, they wrote it to emulate the "difficult men" dramas, such as The Sopranos, The Wire, and Breaking Bad, that inspired them to get into television. Joe MacMillan was written in the pilot as a traditional antihero, with the world organized around him. When the series was picked up and the staff began writing more episodes, Rogers said they found a "writers' groove" and changed their approach: "We figured out what was our voice, as opposed to the voice that felt like it was emulating the shows we liked." Rogers acknowledged that he and Cantwell were inexperienced writers but said that they were "careful enough to lay in these little grenades into each character" that they were able to "explode" to evolve the characters beyond their archetypes. Bishé said that when the cast signed on, they believed the series would be a "slick corporate thriller", but over time, it evolved into an ensemble-based "real human drama". Cantwell said the dynamic between Joe and Gordon in the first season was inspired by his father's experience in software sales in the 1980s; Cantwell's father pitched to clients on sales calls, while the software engineer he would bring along would explain the technical details.
In the second season, the series's focus shifted to the partnership of Donna and Cameron in their startup company, the online gaming service Mutiny. Rogers said the technology of the time period seemed to point to "this proto-internet connectivity" and that as actors, Bishé and Davis deserved more attention. Cantwell said the staff did not consciously refocus the show around the female characters, but that it was developed that way to create "compelling and earned stories for each of those characters based on where [they] left them in season one". Rogers said the first-season partnership between Joe and Gordon was dominated by egos, a need to prove themselves, and a lack of mutual respect. They did not want to repeat that dynamic in the Donna–Cameron partnership, and instead wrote one with a "bedrock" on which a friendship could be built. The theme of connectivity was incorporated into the season as an exploration of whether technology "brings us closer together or pushes us apart", as well as what the characters' motivations were for their involvement in the industry. The second season also isolated Joe and Gordon somewhat from the main storylines to reflect an "absence of connection". Cantwell and Rogers liked making viewers think they were "the worst writers in the world for about five minutes" by creating familiar situations, but subverting expectations with the end result; one example they cited was Joe and Cameron's kiss in the season's penultimate episode.
Prior to the third season, Cantwell and Rogers rented a house in Joshua Tree National Park for three days in October 2015 and discussed how they wanted to plot out the season's story. They wanted to reach the advent of the World Wide Web in 1990, which they considered an exciting setting and a natural destination for the series. However, doing so would have required them to advance the plot by four years from the end of season two. They thought they still "had so much story left on the table at the end of season two" with the characters' arrival in California in 1986 that they did not want to skip over with a time jump. Ultimately, they decided that instead of choosing one of the two approaches, they would incorporate both of them; the majority of the season takes place in 1986 before making a time jump to 1990 for the final two episodes. With the new setting in Silicon Valley, Cantwell and Rogers wanted to explore if the characters who had demonstrated their potential in Texas could "really pull it off once they're in the big leagues". One of the themes on which they settled for season three was "people with the right idea at the wrong time" who failed due to market or technology forces not aligning.
Heading into the fourth season, Cantwell and Rogers knew it would be the series's final one, giving them the opportunity to write a conclusion on their own terms. In researching the tech industry following the inception of the World Wide Web in 1990, they found that there was not "a lot of major business investments and huge development in the web" for several years due to its nascency. As a result, they decided to create another time jump in the series's storytelling. The opening sequence in the season's first episode shows the passage of more than three years and was meant to depict the characters in stasis, waiting for the technology world to catch on. In the final season, Cantwell and Rogers wanted the characters to grapple with the existential question of whether their continued pursuits of the next big idea could ever make them feel whole and whether they could break free from the constant cycle of reinvention. The creators decided to kill off a major character during the season but did not plan ahead of time in which episode they would write it. Eventually, they plotted it in the seventh episode, allowing them to dedicate the eighth to the characters' grief, before "fold[ing] it in" to the final two episodes in which they wrapped up the series's remaining plot threads. In the finale, Donna hosts a gala at her house for women in the tech industry. For the scene, Cantwell and Rogers wrote a two-page monologue for the character to discuss her experiences in the industry as a woman; the duo called it the most difficult part of creating the finale, as they did not want to "overtly moralize", but felt they had earned the opportunity to make "textual what should be subtextual". The original scripted ending called for Joe to return to IBM, but Cantwell deemed it "much darker and melancholic" and it was scrapped.
Halt and Catch Fire was produced in-house by AMC Studios. Although the series was set in Dallas and Silicon Valley, it was primarily filmed in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, where the studio has infrastructure and crew due to state tax incentives that are favorable to filming. The writing staff, however, was based in Los Angeles. Many crew members who worked on another Atlanta-based AMC series, The Walking Dead, were borrowed during its offseason to work on Halt and Catch Fire. The series was shot using Arri Alexa cameras, with dailies being delivered by FotoKem Atlanta using their nextLAB system. The series had a budget that various sources estimated between $2–$3 million per episode, which Variety said was on the lower end of cable TV dramas.
The pilot was directed by Juan José Campanella and produced over six weeks from April to May 2013. It was primarily shot on location in the Atlanta area, although one set was used as Joe's condominium. Additionally, as part of a one-day shoot in Dallas in May, AMC paid to restore a 50-foot-tall neon sign of Big Tex located at a former Centennial Liquors store. After the series was picked up, several scenes from the pilot episode were re-shot. Lisco said that the staff wanted to make the tone "a little more jagged, a little more ambiguous" by giving Cameron more edge and by exploring whether Joe is "a visionary or a fraud".
After the series's order, the staff decided that the production facility housing Joe's condo set was too far away from other locations where the crew would need to shoot. As a result, the staff partnered with Mark Henderson, Daniel Minchew, and Glenn Murer, who converted a facility that previously served as a DuPont plant and a dog food factory into a sound stage. The space, named Atlanta Filmworks, comprised two adjacent 20,000-square-foot warehouses and a 17,000-square-foot production office. The soundproofed Studio A, measuring 110 feet wide by 200 feet long by 42 feet high, housed the set for Cardiff Electric's corporate offices, which occupied 9,000 square feet. Initially envisioned as a flex space for set construction, Studio B was also used for filming, housing the set for Joe's condo, among others. As a result, several enhancements were made prior to season two, such as quieter heaters and additional lighting.
Production on the remaining nine episodes of the first season began in October 2013 and lasted until May 2014. The weather was uncharacteristically cold and snowy for Atlanta, complicating outdoor shoots and suspending production for a few days. Location scouting was carried out by location manager Ryan Schaetzle to find settings that would not be anachronistic and would require the least amount of modifications to match the period setting. Strategic framing of shots was also used to avoid anachronisms, as was computer-generated imagery to turn an Urban Outfitters location into a rug store. Scenes set at a Las Vegas hotel hosting COMDEX attendees in the season's penultimate episode were filmed at the American Cancer Society Center in downtown Atlanta. Other first season shooting locations included the Cobb Galleria Centre, Chops Lobster Bar, Northside Tavern, the Plaza Theatre, the Georgia State Capitol, an office building near The Weather Channel's headquarters, and a brick ranch-style house in Conyers.
Production on season two lasted from October 2014 to May 2015. The staff dismantled all of the first-season sets except for the Clark family house, a decision Cantwell said was made to force the series to reinvent itself and to parallel the reinvention common within the technology industry. Production on season three took place from November 2015 to August 2016. Although the series's setting moved to Silicon Valley beginning with that season, production remained in the Atlanta area, with the exception of two scenes from that season that were shot near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
The series had at least three technical advisors, among them Bill Lowden and industry veteran Carl Ledbetter, the latter of whom worked at IBM, AT&T Consumer Products, and Sun Microsystems. Ledbetter reviewed early scripts for authenticity, wrote sample computer code that appeared on-screen, and helped operate props on set, controlling lights on a breadboard from underneath a table or hand feeding a printout through a dot matrix printer.
The fourth season's first episode opens with a sequence edited to appear to be a "one shot" that covers three years of story. The sequence was conceived by Campanella and filmed over two days, requiring several hairstyle and wardrobe changes to the actors. For the series finale, the gala scene at Donna's house was filmed at a mid-century modern-style home in northeastern Atlanta. It was selected for its minimalist architecture that could be easily decorated to reflect Donna's upscale tastes and the period setting. Due to a slope in the lawn, a wooden platform was built on it and covered with sod to give it a flat appearance. With filming taking place over four hours during a sunny summer evening, a grip cloud and "solids" were required to block light to give the appearance of the scene's dusk setting. Davis only required one take for her character's fall into the pool at the end of the scene. Donna's and Cameron's diner scene featured in the closing moments of the series finale was filmed at the Waffle House Museum in July 2017, prior to the final week of shooting. Within a week of the series wrapping, the crew transitioned to a new AMC television series, Lodge 49.
The series's production designers were Chris Brown, Craig Stearns, and Ola Maslik. Lance Totten, who served as a set decorator, said the 1980s cliches of the "whole neon-pastels and shoulder pad vibe" were not prevalent until 1986, and that he focused on the design period of 1978–1983 to create the series's initial 1983 setting. For research, he consulted: back issues of Texas Homes and D Magazine; old Sears and J. C. Penney catalogues; the Interiors books by English designer Terence Conran; and the Malls Across America collection of photographs by Michael Galinsky. These sources were used to identify period-accurate lighting fixtures, televisions, telephones, kitchenware, and curtains. Totten sought items with brass finishes but had difficulty finding them, leading to him buying ones with a different finish and then applying brass spray paint specially ordered from Krylon or gold paint. Other heavily sought after items included: lamp shades with pleats and tapered or bell shapes; furniture with clean, linear lines and upholstery on the arms, legs, and feet; and metal constructed props instead of plastic. The set designers purchased decor items at thrift shops, antique stores, yard sales, office supply companies that were closing, and from individuals through Craigslist, but in some cases they rented items. Early 1980s seating and office furniture were difficult to acquire in large quantities, as furniture from that decade was not highly collected, other than high-end pieces by designers, and Totten said the decade marked the beginning of the era of "mass disposability". As a result, he drew from the 1960s and 1970s for certain sets, such as Bosworth's office and the Clark home. Old family photos provided by Totten and other crew members adorned certain sets to give the impression of the characters having extended family, while Totten's children drew the refrigerator art seen in the Clarks' kitchen. Prior to the second season, additional crew members were hired for the production design team to help with their extensive workload.
The architecture and design of Atlanta posed a challenge to the production design staff for achieving period accuracy. Bernstein said, "it's a new city. There are not a lot of buildings from the 1970s and 1980s." Totten said that locations that still existed from that period had been remodeled in the 1990s or 2000s and no longer had 1980s decor or color palettes, thus requiring filming locations to be re-dressed. Storefronts and restaurants were particularly difficult, as small details such as carpeting, window frames, lighting fixtures, chair upholstery patterns, and bathroom fixtures needed to be retrofitted. The season two set for the house that headquartered Mutiny, Cameron's start-up company, was designed to mimic the homes found in the Lakewood neighborhood of Dallas. Modeled after a single-story American Craftsman–style home that was popular in the 1920s, the set's design featured hardwood floors, ample trim moldings, built-in shelving painted white, and curved kitchen woodwork.
At the series's onset, many of the vintage computer props were obtained on eBay or from private collectors through Craigslist. One such prop was the original Apple Macintosh, which had become a collector's item and was rare. Many props were also borrowed from the Rhode Island Computer Museum. The Cardiff Giant portable PC depicted onscreen was specially built for the series from molded plastic and was partially functional, as the production staff wanted to ensure the design was "consistent with the visionary thinking of the time and was not sci-fi", according to producer Jeff Freilich. Totten said that in order to build 40 Commodore 64 PC workstations for the Mutiny set in season two, "hundreds of different eBay purchases" were required, since the PCs, monitors, and peripherals all had to be obtained separately. One of the series's Atlanta-based technical advisors built the complex network of telephone lines and modems that hung on a wall of the Mutiny house set. From season two onwards, the series's staff collaborated with the Living Computers: Museum + Labs in Seattle to obtain vintage equipment. One prop that could not be sourced was an IBM 3033 mainframe computer, requiring a replica to be built in consultation with Living Computers using original plans from IBM's archives. Obtaining period accurate corporate signage and logos was a challenge for the staff, as many tech companies had gone out of business or had become part of large conglomerates over the years.
Staff sought out 1980s artwork from antique stores, thrift shops, and online; works with legible artist signatures were submitted to a clearing company, which attempted to obtain approvals from the artists or their estates to use the works on-screen. Some art vendors had the artists' contact information, allowing the buyers to deal with them directly. The designers also rented pieces from local galleries that were able to sign releases on the artists' behalves. Near the end of the first season, Totten began using a local vendor called Elk Creative to digitally create custom paintings in the style of 1970s/1980s mass-produced corporate art.
Freilich said that the early 1980s fashion was "a little bland, a beige time", and that as a result, vintage clothing stores did not carry much merchandise from the period. The wardrobe department ultimately obtained many articles of clothing from shops and rental houses in Los Angeles where inventory was larger.
The original score was composed by Austrian musician Paul Haslinger, formerly of German electronic music group Tangerine Dream from 1986–1990. He landed the position on the series through its music supervisor, his friend Thomas Golubić. Having previously recorded music during the 1980s, Haslinger was drawn to Halt and Catch Fire as a second chance to write for the decade. However, rather than merely revive 1980s music, he instead wanted to draw from its moodiness, and to combine his favorite retro sounds with modern-day elements. Haslinger's score was electronic, making heavy use of synthesizers; he used his original equipment and samples as well as virtual instruments, creating a blend of "analog and digital sounds from that era and [his] own sound design". He rationalized the restraint he exhibited in his compositions by citing the mid-range spectrum that he believed 1980s music mostly occupied. He sought to emulate "the inaccuracies of the technology of that time", explaining that the music was never perfectly in tune or in sync. Certain characters were accompanied by recurring musical elements; for Joe, Haslinger composed "glassy" tracks with out-of-focus, slightly off-pitch elements to match the character's struggles. However, he eschewed explicit musical themes for each character to avoid sounding "hokey". Instead, he tried to write for the subtext or underlying tension of scenes. Starting with the third season, Haslinger sought to pare down his compositions, often starting with fifteen tracks of audio before scaling down to five. He also incorporated more influences from beyond the 1980s, such as the works of Giorgio Moroder. A compilation of tracks from the first three seasons was released on vinyl record through Lakeshore Records on September 16, 2016. A second volume followed on vinyl, CD, and digital services on April 5, 2019.
Golubić and his team at the firm SuperMusicVision handled music licensing, creating a soundtrack of album-oriented rock, college rock, new wave, and 1980s punk. Golubić said that his team sought to license lesser-known tracks, believing the use of obvious 1980s hits would be "kitschy" and not within the series's budget; explaining their approach, he said, "We want to immerse people in that time period, not distract them". The music supervisors were engaged by the writers early in their creative process in an attempt to better integrate music into the series. Golubić and his team started by compiling playlists of songs that were evocative of the show's period setting, before attempting to secure licensing deals. They also curated playlists for each of the main characters after discussing them and their backstories. Golubić said of the process, "This is how we informed ourselves of the world that the characters live in." The playlists were sent to the actors to help them prepare for their roles, and were used by the producers, writers, and editors as a reference for developing the story. For example, Joe was seen as a "futurist looking forward" embodied by acts ahead of their time such as Gary Numan, the Cars, and Wire, while Gordon was interpreted as someone whose musical tastes did not evolve past 1970s acts such as Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs due to his preoccupation with work. AMC partnered with music streaming service Spotify to share the character playlists online and to promote them on amctv.com and the network's "Story Sync" second screen platform.
Punk rock played a prominent role in the characterization of Cameron, frequently playing through her headphones on-screen or non-diegetically to represent her temperament as a rebellious loner. The scene in which she enters the Cardiff Electric offices for her first day of work is soundtracked by the Clash's "The Magnificent Seven", whose lyrics about the "futility of the capitalist grind underscor[e] her ambivalence about the job", according to Pitchfork. After she founds Mutiny, the company offices are frequently heard playing punk, post-punk, and alternative rock, representing her growing influence in the tech industry. Towards the end of the series, punk music is used in the characterization of the Clarks' teenage daughters. The rebellious, troublemaker Joanie enjoys Shonen Knife, and Haley listens to PJ Harvey and riot grrrl bands while coming to terms with being queer.
Among the tracks licensed for use in the series were "Red Eyes" by the War on Drugs, "Velouria" by Pixies, "So Far Away" by Dire Straits, a cover of the Joy Division's "She's Lost Control" by the Raveonettes, and "Mercy Street" by Peter Gabriel. For the closing sequence of the series finale, the song "Take Me Home" by Phil Collins was originally written into the script, but due to the high cost of licensing it, the producers instead went with Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill".
The opening title sequence was created by the design studio Elastic, with creative direction from Antibody. The title sequence depicts an electrical signal racing across a neon-red digital landscape, leaving a trail as it travels. Along the way it passes digitally distressed images of the main cast members, before it completes its journey to light up an LED indicator. Lead animator Raoul Marks said the signal was depicted "allegorically to illustrate the competing forces driving young tech entrepreneurs towards a new technological dawn".
The animators were tasked with creating an "abstract and symbolic" sequence "about the computer era that was about people, not machines". The sequence originated as a pitch to the showrunners to depict the "birth of an idea". The artists' first inspiration was to show a lightbulb turning on, a common visual metaphor for an idea, and consequently they sought to show the journey of a signal to light up the bulb. Sequence director Patrick Clair said the storyboarding process took longer than usual and went through many iterations. During this stage, Herringson toyed with geometric shapes inspired by Saul Bass art, retro video games, and sex education films; Clair said the team "bounced between digital sperm to missile command and back — all in 8-bit." After several iterations, they replaced the lightbulb with an LED indicator to better evoke the computer era. In the initial pitch, the artists depicted competing signals that ended up disintegrating or being left behind, but these elements were scaled back. The team took artistic license with the appearance of electric and digital signals in the sequence. Due to the need to show the signal in a state of constant motion from shot to shot, precise animation and cuts between shots were required. Serif fonts were used for the credits and were inspired by the mature, classical typography and conservative layout design of personal computing advertisements from the 1980s. The color scheme, inspired by high-saturation 4-bit color computer graphics, was dominated by an "iridescent red that never peaked beyond hot magenta".
To give the title sequence a human element, images of the main cast members were incorporated. Rather than show "beauty shots" of the actors, the animators heavily edited images of them in a glitch art style. Marks "de-rezzed" the character images with Adobe Photoshop by selecting rectangular sections and using the software's average color feature on each; Marks said the process gave each portrait an "interesting facial approximation". Afterwards, the images were built into 3D models, although the artists did not want a "fully immersive 3D scene" but one that still had "more depth than just a graphic". Since the series's story was about "people putting pressure on themselves, and risking self-destruction through their own ambition", the artists wanted to depict them "decaying, breaking under the pressure of velocity and self-destruction". They achieved this by streaking debris, digital artifacts, and facial details away from the portraits in horizontal lines; Marks likened the effect to a person "re-entering the atmosphere from orbit but in a digital world".
The opening theme was composed by Danish electronic musician Trentemøller. Marks described the theme as "straddl[ing] the line between contemporary electronica and more retro-analog" sounds. The theme was provided late in the process of creating the title sequence.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||June 1, 2014||August 3, 2014|
|2||10||May 31, 2015||August 2, 2015|
|3||10||August 21, 2016||October 11, 2016|
|4||10||August 19, 2017||October 14, 2017|
In 1983, former IBM sales executive Joe MacMillan joins Cardiff Electric, a Dallas-based mainframe software company. There, he enlists the help of computer engineer Gordon Clark to reverse engineer an IBM PC and reconstruct the assembly language code of its BIOS. Company owner Nathan Cardiff and vice president John Bosworth confront the two when the company is sued by IBM for copyright infringement. After Joe reveals that he told IBM about the project, Cardiff Electric is forced to legitimize it and enter the personal computing business. Needing a software engineer to write the BIOS for their IBM clone, Joe recruits prodigy college student Cameron Howe to join Cardiff. Joe heads the PC project, with Gordon leading the hardware team and Cameron writing the BIOS in a "clean room". Joe's goal for the PC is to be twice the speed at half the cost of IBM's PC, but much of the company does not buy into his vision or trust him. He further alienates himself from Cardiff and Bosworth by upsetting a potential investor and causing IBM to respond to the project with aggressive undercutting, luring away two-thirds of Cardiff Electric's clients, resulting in layoffs.
Despite her suspicions of Joe, Cameron begins an on-again, off-again relationship with him. Gordon's wife, Donna, an engineer at Texas Instruments, is wary of her husband's involvement in the project after the failure of their PC, the Symphonic, years prior. Eventually she contributes to Cardiff Electric's project, first by leading a data recovery effort (for a data loss event faked by Joe) then inspiring Gordon with the idea for a double-sided printed circuit board. Gordon brokers a deal to procure discounted liquid crystal displays through his father-in-law's connection with a Japanese company. After finishing the BIOS, Cameron is promoted to head of the software engineering team and designs a user-friendly operating system (OS) intended to draw the user in. Joe's ex-lover Simon, an industrial designer, designs the case for the PC, which is named the "Cardiff Giant". Initially hesitant to the project, Bosworth comes around, only to be denied further funding by Cardiff. With Cameron's help, Bosworth embezzles money to sustain the project but is arrested as the company office is raided by the FBI. Having smuggled out the prototype of the Giant, Gordon convinces the others to proceed with their plan to present at the COMDEX trade show.
At COMDEX, the team are shocked to discover the "Slingshot", a copycat of the Giant, being presented by the Clarks' neighbor (a former Cardiff Electric employee) and Donna's former manager from TI. In order to undercut the Slingshot and make the Giant commercially viable, Gordon removes Cameron's OS and the supporting hardware. When Joe supports the decision, a heartbroken Cameron leaves him. Joe and Gordon present the downgraded Giant at COMDEX and secure their first order, but it's a hollow victory for the team. After witnessing a demonstration of the Apple Macintosh at the conference, Joe becomes disillusioned with the Giant. Cameron quits Cardiff Electric and takes most of the software engineering team with her to start an online gaming startup company called Mutiny. After Donna leaves TI, she accepts an offer from Cameron to join Mutiny. The Cardiff Electric team celebrates the completion of the Giant, but Joe sets fire to the truck containing the first shipment and disappears, leaving Gordon to run the company.
After releasing two models of the Giant, Cardiff Electric is sold to an international conglomerate in 1985. Running Mutiny in a rented house with their developers, Donna and Cameron are frantically dealing with day-to-day crises to keep the company afloat. Gordon collects a six-figure check from Cardiff Electric's sale, but Joe receives nothing due to his arson. Ready to move on from his past, Joe gets engaged to his girlfriend Sara and goes to work at Westgroup Energy, an oil magnate where her father, Jacob Wheeler, is CEO. Starting in data entry, Joe spots an opportunity to use the company's mainframe computers for time-sharing.
Cameron hires a paroled Bosworth, who provides managerial direction for Mutiny. She also hires one the company's subscribing users, Tom, a game designer whom she begins dating. In his newfound free time, Gordon attempts to map Mutiny's network by writing a computer program called "Sonaris", but it inadvertently acts as malware. Eager to make up for his mistake, Gordon obliges Joe's request to help secretly configure Westgroup's mainframes for time-sharing, on the condition that Mutiny be the first client at a discounted rate. With a stable network, Mutiny thrives, due in part to the service's popular new "Community" chat rooms conceived by Donna. Her dedication to work takes her attention away from home, and after becoming pregnant, she secretly has an abortion. Meanwhile, Gordon hides his toxic encephalopathy diagnosis from Donna.
Jacob supports Joe's time-sharing idea but asks for more lucrative terms. Joe raises the hourly hosting rate, upsetting Cameron, but Donna and Joe negotiate a compromised rate based on Mutiny meeting certain benchmarks. One of those is porting their software to the AT&T Unix PC, which the Mutiny team unsuccessfully fakes during a demo for Joe. Despite the ruse, he is impressed by their innovation to transmit data over coaxial cable. Seeing the potential for broadband network connections, Joe convinces Jacob that Westgroup should acquire Mutiny. Cameron considers their offer but is dissuaded by Joe after he realizes Jacob would corrupt the startup's vision. Joe decides to quit Westgroup and after marrying Sara, plans to move them to California.
Gordon admits to Donna his medical diagnosis, but refuses to let it distract her from Mutiny. However, after his condition worsens following the failure of his homebuilt computer business, he begins stress therapy. Tom and Cameron write a first-person shooter game, but on the night of its planned launch, they discover Westgroup has replaced Mutiny's service on their network with a copycat version called "WestNet". The Mutiny staff disbelieve Joe when he denies involvement. Cameron and Donna are forced to sell the game to sustain the company, a decision that results in Tom breaking up with Cameron and quitting Mutiny. Cameron visits Joe at Westgroup and emotionally manipulates him, allowing her to run the "Sonaris" malware on a computer of theirs, crippling the company's network during Joe's presentation of WestNet at a shareholders meeting.
Losing her trust in Joe, Sara divorces him. Jacob is blamed for the WestNet fiasco and is fired. After Gordon admits to having an affair, Donna gives him an ultimatum to save their marriage: he must purchase and renovate a mainframe computer located in California for Mutiny, move their family there with the company, and take a job with them; he agrees. Gordon writes Joe an antivirus program in hopes it will help Westgroup, but Joe uses it instead to pitch a venture capitalist. He invites Gordon to join him in the endeavor but is refused. Gordon is furious to learn later that Joe has received $10 million in funding for a new company in the San Francisco Bay Area, MacMillan Utility. Having transitioned from games to an online community, Mutiny departs for California.
In 1986, Mutiny reaches 100,000 users and celebrates the launch of its mainframe computer. Cameron is living with the Clarks, whose marital tensions flare up in the office, and Gordon is involved in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Joe. After noticing that Mutiny's chat feature is facilitating user-to-user transactions, Donna and Cameron are inspired to build an online trading feature and begin pitching venture capitalists. One of them, Diane Gould, helps them acquire a competitor, Swap Meet. Meanwhile, a Mutiny programmer, Ryan Ray, uncovers a security vulnerability in the chat rooms, but Donna and Cameron pay little attention. Ryan feels underappreciated at Mutiny, and after being inspired by Joe's presentation of MacMillan Utility's no-cost consumer antivirus software, Citadel, he convinces Joe to hire him.
The merger between Swap Meet and Mutiny causes friction, as Cameron is resistant to adapting her code to be compatible with Swap Meet's. She expresses a desire to fire the Swap Meet founders, Doug and Craig; Donna lies to Cameron about Diane's willingness to support such a decision. MacMillan Utility plans to charge users for Citadel, which Ryan views as a betrayal of Joe's principles. In order to keep Citadel free of charge, Joe says they will need another revenue stream. Beginning a special project in Joe's apartment, Ryan maps the ARPANET, an early predecessor to the Internet. Studying the map, they see potential in NSFNET, a backbone network not yet approved for commercial use. The two build their own regional network at MacMillan Utility, but after spending millions of the company's money and making a handshake deal with the NSFNET in defiance of the company's board of directors, Joe is stripped of his executive powers. As a result, he declares in a deposition that Citadel was stolen from Gordon.
Cameron's and Donna's relationship continues to deteriorate; Cameron unilaterally fires Doug and Craig, and the women clash on a solution for implementing credit card transactions, as well as whether to undertake an initial public offering (IPO) after Mutiny receives a $20 million acquisition offer from CompuServe. Cameron wants to delay it 1–2 years to continue developing Mutiny, while Donna sees a window of opportunity of just three months. Cameron is outvoted by Donna, Diane, Bosworth, and Gordon on the IPO; feeling betrayed, she leaves the company, and decides to move to Japan with her newly-wed husband Tom. The Mutiny IPO dramatically underperforms expectations to everyone's shock.
Gordon and Joe preserve the NSFNET deal with Gordon heading MacMillan Utility, but the company is thrown into disarray after Ryan releases Citadel's source code and becomes a fugitive from the FBI for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Due to his association with Ryan, Joe steps away from the project. Months later, Ryan shows up at Joe's apartment and is dismayed to learn his legal options. The next morning, Joe discovers that Ryan has killed himself; his suicide note warns about the ways in which people will use the connectedness of computer networks to hurt each other.
Four years later in 1990, Mutiny has folded. The Clarks are amicably divorced. Donna is a partner at Diane's VC firm, while Gordon is running the regional network. Joe is working out of his apartment. Bosworth is retired and living with Diane. Cameron is a successful video game developer for Atari. While promoting her game Space Bike IV at COMDEX, she reconnects with Joe and sleeps with him. Shortly after, Donna, Joe, Gordon, Cameron, and Tom meet at the former Mutiny office over several days to discuss a memo about the fledgling World Wide Web that Donna sent them. Joe proposes building a web browser, and everyone but Tom is receptive; he and Joe have a physical altercation, halting the meetings. Still hurt by the dissolution of their friendship, Cameron tells Donna she cannot work with her; Donna begrudgingly tells her to take the project and leaves. Huddled around a computer, Gordon, Joe, and Cameron prepare to start their new venture.
Over three years, Gordon and Joe run an internet service provider (ISP) called CalNect, though Joe focuses on logging new website URLs. Meanwhile, Cameron, working from Japan, fails to complete a web browser for the team before they are beats to market by Mosaic. When CalNect's backbone provider MCI declines to offer them more bandwidth, Gordon and Joe realize MCI is forming its own ISP, causing them to sell CalNect. Cameron's latest game, a cerebral role-playing game called Pilgrim, performs poorly in focus groups and is put on hold by Atari after a negative review is published. During a visit to California, she tells Joe that Tom is divorcing her; she and Joe rekindle a romance. At the VC firm AGGEK, Donna sets up an incubator for a medical database indexing company called Rover to pivot them into web indexing. Needing to dig himself out of debt, Bosworth unretires to oversee the project.
After Gordon's teenage daughter Haley builds a website from Joe's directory of URLs, they form a new startup called Comet to develop it into a human-curated web directory. The team hires a chief ontologist, Katie, whom Gordon begins dating. Donna is surprised to learn her daughter is working on a competing search engine. As Comet grows, Rover's algorithm proves substandard. Desperate for the project to succeed, Bosworth approaches Cameron to ask for help improving the algorithm, which she obliges. Rover's sudden improvement results in Series A funding but Donna is suspicious. During her ensuing argument with Bosworth about the subject, he suffers a heart attack. At the hospital, Donna realizes Cameron was behind the algorithm and tells her to stay out of her life. Cameron admits to Joe her role in helping his competition.
Facing an intellectual property ownership conflict, Donna fires Rover's head programmer but when she refuses to purchase the rights to the algorithm from Cameron, Diane orders her to leave the project; Cameron signs away the algorithm to Rover without accepting compensation. After meeting with a financier named Alexa, Cameron receives funding to work independently and begins developing virtual worlds. When Haley's school grades begin slipping, Gordon tells her she must take time off from Comet, leading to her storming out. Bosworth admits to Diane that he is in debt; the two marry. After Donna tells Gordon she thinks retaining web visitors longer will be the key to their websites' success, he is inspired with an idea to relaunch Comet as a web portal, which Joe excitedly agrees to. However, before they can begin, Gordon dies from a stroke. His friends and family gather to grieve and clean out his house; Cameron and Donna reconcile, while Katie departs for Seattle.
Months later, Comet is ready for its relaunch, for which Cameron led the development. Joe wants to optimize the site for the yet-to-be released browser Netscape Navigator. After Alexa sends Cameron a beta copy of it, she and Joe discover that Yahoo! has received prominent placement on the browser's toolbar as its default search provider. They realize that Comet has already lost, and after one final night together, they break up. Joe sells Comet, and AGGEK sells Rover's algorithm. Diane retires and is succeeded at the firm by Donna, who renames it "Symphonic Ventures" and fosters a relaxed, inclusive work culture. Cameron ends her professional relationship with Alexa. Preparing to leave California, Cameron stops at Donna's house to say goodbye but stays to try to recover Haley's school project from her crashed hard drive. Donna and Cameron discuss the prospect of working together again. Later that evening, Donna hosts a gala for women in tech before visiting the former Mutiny offices with Cameron. The following morning, as they leave a diner, Donna has an epiphany and tells Cameron, "I have an idea". Joe returns home to Armonk, New York, to become a humanities teacher. Addressing his students with the same words he spoke to Cameron's college class in the series pilot, he says, "Let me start by asking a question."
The pilot was screened at the South by Southwest festival on March 8, 2014. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak moderated a panel discussion with Cantwell and Rogers at the festival. He called the pilot "very realistic". Beginning on May 19, 2014, the premiere episode was made available through video on demand and TV Everywhere services, as well as online for streaming on AMC.com and the network's Tumblr page, making it the first TV series to premiere on Tumblr. The pilot was also screened for employees of several technology companies, such as Apple, Twitter, Google, and Dropbox. Halt and Catch Fire premiered on June 1, 2014. The pilot episode was the only one distributed to critics for review, an uncommon practice for new series, which usually make multiple episodes available upon premiering.
Season one was released on Netflix and AMC.com for home streaming on April 8, 2015, for a limited time. It is also available on Amazon Video in the UK and Germany. In December 2017, the entire series became available for streaming on Netflix.
Halt and Catch Fire premiered in Australia on June 23, 2015, on Showcase. It also appears on AMC's international channels in Asia, Europe and Latin America. The series was distributed internationally by Entertainment One Television.
|1||78% (40 reviews)||69/100 (31 reviews)|
|2||90% (20 reviews)||73/100 (8 reviews)|
|3||96% (23 reviews)||83/100 (12 reviews)|
|4||100% (24 reviews)||92/100 (8 reviews)|
The first season received favorable reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the first season received an average score of 69, based on 31 reviews. According to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 78% approval rating with an average score of 7.27 out of 10, based on 40 reviews; the site's consensus said, "A refreshingly well-acted period drama, Halt and Catch Fire convincingly portrays the not-too-distant past." Reviewing the pilot, Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe was intrigued by the possibility that the series would "be able to delve beneath the surface of its milieu". He highlighted the "distinctive visual style", focus on "material that has not already been done to death elsewhere on TV", and the "pair of unfamiliar and interesting lead actors". Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter called the opening episode a "triumphant pilot with excellent writing, impressive acting and a noteworthy cinematic visual style". Although skeptical about how the show would evolve beyond its premiere, Goodman said, "It's a premise with possibilities and could be AMC's best offering of the post-classics (Breaking Bad, Mad Men) era." Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times said that although the pilot "doesn't hit the gloriously high bar set by the opening episode of Mad Men, it is provocative and promising nonetheless."
Reviewing several episodes, Chris Cabin of Slant Magazine said "the show's creators choose to tailor the series to focus on the enigmatic MacMillan, which might explain why Halt and Catch Fire comes off as overtly coy and more than a little aimless". The review concluded by calling the show "a hungry anticipation for what machines can and will do, but it only has a cursory interest in the complex humans that built them." Alan Sepinwall of HitFix believed the series was derivative of others and analogized this assessment to the show's plotline of reverse engineering the IBM PC, calling Halt and Catch Fire "a series that has not only been reverse-engineered from past cable drama hits, but that seems acutely aware of that fact." Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club echoed these sentiments, writing that the pilot "feels like the network trying to reverse engineer... its success with Mad Men". VanDerWerff, though, said that "the pilot moves with a kind of confidence that's hard to fake" and praised Campanella's "intriguing direction". Joanne Ostrow of The Denver Post called it a "dreary imitation" of Mad Men in which "the brooding, secretive loner guy was a tad too familiar, yet not as moving as that earlier slick-suited version". She liked the stories of the male leads and the progression of the female characters but said that "Pace's excellent performance was not enough to make the show rewarding". Colin McGuire of PopMatters said that the season was "not perfect" and accurately gave the impression of having been written by two newcomers to television. He noted, however, the "worthwhile cast that did far more than enough to bring the occasionally spotty narrative to life" and said, "The groundwork for something special is there, imperfections and all."
The second season received strong reviews, with many critics noting the series's improvement over its first season. At Metacritic, the season received an average review score of 73 out of 100, based on 8 reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the second season holds 90% approval rating with an average score of 8.32 out of 10, based on 20 reviews; the site's critical consensus said, "Halt and Catch Fire version 2.0 has received some upgrades and improvements, including a welcome focus on its female leads." Sepinwall praised the acting, writing, and directing of season two, and noted that one of his frustrations with the first season, the downplaying of Donna and Cameron, was resolved: "Now it's essentially Halt and Catch Fire 2.0, with all the bugs worked out so that it can function exactly as it first promised." Sepinwall summed up the season's changes by saying, "Those who stayed patient with Halt season 1, or those who come to the show now that the quality has gone up significantly, will be rewarded." Andy Greenwald of Grantland called season two a "hard reboot" that was exponentially better. He praised the emphasis placed on the female leads, particularly Davis's performance, and how it reframed the male leads, while noting that the focus on Mutiny "inject[ed] the show with the jittery, caffeinated energy of a start-up". Greenwald liked most how the season "casts its characters, male and female, not as fundamentally unhappy but as deeply dissatisfied" and how it motivated them to innovate. Willa Paskin of Slate said that the series was able to successfully pivot by shifting focus to a startup setting and to Cameron and Donna, the latter of whom Paskin said "has blossomed into a character with ambitions all her own". Commenting on the season's exploration of issues facing working women, Paskin wrote, "what is so satisfying about its treatment of sexism... is not the extent to which the sexism conforms to our expectations, but that the women involved do not." Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker called season two "such a startling upgrade of the first that it begs for technological metaphors". She said that the chemistry between Donna and Cameron "is looser, releasing the show from the burdens of its gloomy forerunners", and that the marriage between Gordon and Donna felt nuanced. Nussbaum said the series was best at being "a platform for a fascinating, buried period of history" that provided "oddly profound meditations on the nature of originality in the digital age, nested within relationship talk". James Poniewozik of Time said the show "remade and refocused itself in its second season" by focusing on the Cameron–Donna partnership and that "it now has a compelling subject". Poniewozik said, "true to Moore's Law, it has become magnitudes better."
Several publications ranked the second season among the best television series of 2015 on their end-of-year lists. The Atlantic and James Poniewozik of The New York Times shortlisted it, while it was ranked: first by Slate; fifth-best by RogerEbert.com; eighth-best by Vox Media; and 23rd-best by Rolling Stone.
The third season received critical acclaim. At Metacritic, the season has an average review score of 83 out of 100, based on 12 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". According to Rotten Tomatoes, the third season holds a 96% approval rating with an average score of 8.62 out of 10, based on 23 reviews; the site's critical consensus said, "Halt and Catch Fire finds its footing in an optimistic third season that builds on the fascinating relationship between a pair of emerging protagonists." David Sims of The Atlantic said Halt and Catch Fire was "one of TV's most elegantly crafted shows", "the best drama on television", and the most underrated. Sims praised the series for creating emotional investment in the characters' ideas, for its depiction of teamwork and the act of creation, and for using "[Joe] MacMillan to satirize the Jobsian cult of personality that defines so much of the tech world". Todd VanDerWerff of Vox Media said, "This is the rare recent TV drama that's both as good as it is and as optimistic as it is." He praised Cantwell and Rogers for continued character development and highlighted the series for leading the movement of what he called "empathy dramas". Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter called out the Donna–Cameron partnership as the highlight of the show, writing, "There's nothing like it on TV." He praised the lead actors' performances, the nuanced characters, and the directing, calling Halt and Catch Fire "one of TV's best-directed shows". Maureen Ryan of Variety called the series "both a retro pleasure and a forward-looking gem" that was bolstered by its performances, soundtrack, and individual episode story arcs. Ryan said the irony of the characters striving to connect through their work but instead fracturing their relationships was effective because of "its compassionate approach to its core characters". Jen Chaney of Vulture wrote that the third season "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". Chaney said the series earned its "should-watch status" through its cast, use of restraint, and, with the benefit of hindsight, the irony of depicting characters close to technological breakthroughs who do not realize it. Poniewozik, writing for The New York Times, said the season "makes its past future feel dewy and new" and that despite some initial slow pacing, "The character dynamics are solid... and the '80s details continue to be spot on." Hank Stuever of The Washington Post said, "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." The review said that the show "survives — and arguably thrives — in Season 3" on the Donna–Cameron storyline, but that it still struggled with Joe's character.
Many publications ranked the third season among the best television series of 2016 on their end-of-year lists. The Atlantic shortlisted it, while it was ranked: first by Vox Media; third-best by Willa Paskin and June Thomas of Slate; fourth-best by Consequence of Sound and Sonia Saraiya of Variety; sixth-best by RogerEbert.com and The A.V. Club; seventh-best by The Ringer; ninth-best by Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter; and tenth-best by Paste.
The fourth season received critical acclaim, and the strongest reviews of any season of the series. At Metacritic, the season has an average review score of 92 out of 100, based on 8 reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the fourth season holds a 100% approval rating with an average score 9.53 out of 10, based on 24 reviews; the site's critical consensus said, "Halt and Catch Fire's character-driven drama culminates in an optimistic ode to the early internet age that's bound to stand the test of time." Michael Roffman of Consequence of Sound called the fourth season "a victory lap for everyone who championed the show from the very beginning". He said the series's refusal to offer reassurances that the characters will prevail "doesn't just make for great television, but great characters, and those characters are partly why Halt has staved off its own demise." Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly said that the extended conversation between Joe and Cameron in the season's second episode mirrored the show's ability to overcome "a sputtering start to become a luminous drama". He praised Cantwell and Rogers for progressing "from aping the antihero playbook to refining it" and for making the characters "incredibly compelling and unique". He concluded his review by calling the series "an urgent story of rehumanization for a cold, wired culture". Eric Thurm of The Verge called the show "the best depiction of technological innovation on television, because it focuses on collaboration rather than constraint, problem-solving over vision, and people instead of potential Academy Award trophies". The review lauded the "truly formidable" cast and the show's visual style for "charg[ing] meetings, coding sessions, or a group of people standing in front of a whiteboard with creative potential". VanDerWerff commended the series's ability to create nostalgia for the early days of the Web "by creating nostalgia for that moment in anybody's life when they've been waiting and waiting and waiting for someone or something to come through". He called it one of the few dramas that did not need to overhaul its cast to "stay nimble and sharp, because it finds endless new iterations of the characters it already has, simply by throwing them into new groupings with each new season." In his end-of-year rankings of the best series, VanDerWerff said the season's final four episodes "were as emotionally overwhelming as anything [he's] ever seen on television". J.M. Suarez of Popmatters said the season "never sacrifices nuance and thoughtfulness for twists or attempts to outdo itself," calling the show "confident enough to let its characters succeed and fail without having to spell out who's right and wrong". Sims said the fourth season "succeeds by making its tech narrative not a dry history lesson, but rather a battle of wills between four very flawed, compelling characters, each possessed of the kinds of manic ambition and tendency toward self-destruction that make for the best television drama". Alex Cranz of Gizmodo called the fourth season "easily one of the best seasons of a television show ever produced", while Brian Grubb of Uproxx similarly called it "one of the best seasons of television [he's] ever seen".
Many publications ranked the fourth season among the best television series of 2017 on their end-of-year lists. The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vox Media, and The Philadelphia Inquirer shortlisted it, and two critics at Variety ranked it in their top fives. The series was ranked: second-best by Consequence of Sound and Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter; third-best by Uproxx; fifth-best by The A.V. Club, Forbes, Slate, and Jen Chaney of Vulture; sixth-best by The Oregonian; seventh-best by IndieWire and The Ringer; ninth-best by Paste; 13th-best by Rolling Stone; and 39th-best by The Guardian. According to Metacritic, Halt and Catch Fire's fourth season was tied for the 41st-highest-rated TV season of all time, and, based on critics' end-of-year lists, the 17th-highest-ranked series of 2017.
The premiere episode drew 1.2 million viewers according to Nielsen data, 433,000 of them in the 18–49 age demographic; it was the only episode of the series to surpass one million viewers during its initial broadcast. The first season drew modest overall viewership, averaging 760,000 viewers per episode, and a 0.3 rating in the 18–49 age demographic for live plus same-day viewings. When accounting for time shifting via digital video recorders (DVRs), the season averaged 1.3 million viewers per episode in live plus 7-day viewings; 606,000 of them were ages 18–49, making Halt and Catch Fire among the "most upscale dramas on ad-supported television" behind Mad Men and The Good Wife, according to AMC. Despite the low overall ratings, AMC renewed the show in August 2014 for a second season of ten episodes. The network's president Charlie Collier said, "We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time."
Season two premiered on May 31, 2015, and concluded on August 2, 2015. The premiere drew 659,000 viewers, 262,000 of whom were ages 18–49. Compared to the first season premiere, this marked a 45% drop in overall viewership and a 39% drop in the 18–49 demographic. Despite the critical acclaim that season two garnered, viewership declined overall. The season averaged 520,000 viewers per episode and a 0.2 rating in the 18–49 age demographic in live plus same-day viewings. Still, AMC renewed the series in October 2015 for a ten-episode third season. Stillerman said, "The critical momentum was a big part of the decision."
AMC renewed Halt and Catch Fire for a fourth and final season of ten episodes on October 10, 2016. The final season began with a two-hour premiere on August 19, 2017, and concluded with a two-hour series finale on October 14, 2017.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2014||Satellite Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||Halt and Catch Fire||Nominated|||
|Best Actor – Television Series Drama||Lee Pace||Nominated|
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Most Exciting New Series||Halt and Catch Fire||Won|||
|2015||Casting Society of America's Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Pilot – Drama||Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Lisa Mae Fincannon (location casting), Craig Fincannon (location casting), Allison Bader (associate), and Jen Ingulli (associate)||Nominated|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Main Title Design||Patrick Clair (creative director), Raoul Marks (animator), Eddy Herringson (designer), Paul Sangwoo Kim (typographer), and AMC||Nominated|||
|SXSW Film Design Awards||Excellence in Title Design||Patrick Clair||Nominated|||
|Hollywood Post Alliance Awards||Outstanding Sound – Television||Susan Cahill (supervising sound editor), Keith Rogers (re-recording mixer), Scott Weber (re-recording mixer), Jane Boegel (dialogue editor), Mark Cleary (sound effects editor), Kevin McCullough (sound effects editor), and NBC Universal Studio Post
for episode: "SETI"
|2017||Guild of Music Supervisors Awards||Best Music Supervision in a Television Drama||Thomas Golubić and Yvette Metoyer
for season 3
|2018||Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR for Episodic Short Form Broadcast Media||Susan Cahill (supervising sound editor), Sara Bencivenga (supervising ADR editor), and Jane Boegel (dialogue editor)
for episode: "So It Goes"
|Peabody Awards||Entertainment honoree||AMC Studios and Gran Via Productions
for Halt and Catch Fire
|Women's Image Network Awards||Actress Drama Series||Kerry Bishé||Nominated|||
|Drama Series||Halt and Catch Fire
for episode: "NeXT"
|2019||Guild of Music Supervisors Awards||Best Music Supervision in a Television Drama||Thomas Golubić and Yvette Metoyer
for season 4
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 26, 2013). "TCA: AMC Picks Up 'Halt & Catch Fire' & 'Turn' To Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- "AMC Drama 'Halt and Catch Fire' to Bow June 1 After 'Mad Men' Finale". Variety. March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Shapiro, Marissa (June 27, 2017). "Premiere Date for the Final Season Revealed". AMC. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- Roots, Kimberly (June 1, 2014). "Halt and Catch Fire: Does AMC's New Drama Compute?". TVLine. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- Darling, Cary (May 31, 2014). "AMC does Dallas, and Fort Worth, in 'Halt and Catch Fire'". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
- Labrecque, Jeff (June 1, 2014). "'Halt and Catch Fire': If Don Draper and Walter White met in 1983". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- Seemangal, Robin (June 30, 2014). "'Halt and Catch Fire' 1×05: Daddy Issues". New York Observer. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Yarm, Mark (May 30, 2014). "Halt and Catch Fire Gets the '80s PC Revolution Perfectly Right. Here's How". Wired. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- McHenry, Jackson (October 11, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire's Showrunners on Their Daring Season 3 Finale and Plans for the 4th Season They Didn't Expect to Get". Vulture. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- O'Neill, Phelim (October 12, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire: not Mad Men in the 80s, but so much better". The Guardian. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Poniewozik, James (August 3, 2015). "Halt and Catch Fire Became the Next Mad Men When It Stopped Trying to Be". Time. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Herman, Alison (October 15, 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Was Moving to the End". The Ringer. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Collins, Sean T. (August 21, 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Season Premiere Recap: Live and Let Dial-Up". Decider. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
- Snetiker, Marc (July 25, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire: Matthew Lillard joins season 3". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Stanhope, Kate (March 11, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Adds 'Hundred-Foot Journey' Star for Season 3 (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
- Petski, Denise (June 9, 2017). "'Halt And Catch Fire': Anna Chlumsky Set To Recur In Fourth & Final Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- Galas, Marjorie. "The Fresh Faces Behind 'Halt And Catch Fire'". Variety 411. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
- Tone, Joe (May 15, 2014). "The Unlikely Engineering of Halt and Catch Fire". Dallas Observer. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
- Palmer, Lisa (June 20, 2015). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Co-Creators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell: How We Made It in Hollywood". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Borrelli, Christopher (May 28, 2014). "The Full Nerdy: The tech developer, newly fleshed out on TV, is having a moment". Chicago Tribune. section Arts+Entertainment, pp. 1, 4.
- Montini, Laura (May 30, 2014). "Tech War: AMC's New Show Reveals the Scrappy Roots of PCs". Inc. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
- Lambert, Molly (May 27, 2015). "'The Lambert Account' Podcast: 'Halt and Catch Fire' Cocreators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell". Grantland (Podcast). Retrieved November 4, 2018.
- Kurp, Josh (October 11, 2016). "A 'Halt And Catch Fire' Co-Creator Details The Show's History In A Revealing Tweetstorm". Uproxx. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- Cantwell, Christopher [@ifyoucantwell] (October 11, 2016). "Jan 2011: @CCR & I began writing #HaltandCatchFire. Wrote the first 8 pgs of Joe walking down an IBM hallway at my DTLA apt on 7th & Spring" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Andreeva, Nellie (November 27, 2012). "AMC Orders Period Drama Pilots From Craig Silverstein/Barry Josephson, Mark Johnson". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Snierson, Dan (July 26, 2013). "AMC greenlights drama series 'Halt & Catch Fire' and 'Turn'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Goldberg, Lesley (February 26, 2013). "'Pushing Daisies' Alum Lee Pace to Star in AMC's '80s Computer Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Goldberg, Lesley (March 4, 2013). "'Argo' Actor to Co-Star in AMC's '80s Computer Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Goldberg, Lesley (March 12, 2013). "Kerry Bishe to Reteam With 'Argo' Co-Star in AMC's '80s Computer Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 21, 2013). "Kevin Dunn Upped To Regular On 'Veep', David Wilson Barnes Joins AMC Pilot 'Halt'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- Sepinwall, Alan (October 14, 2017). "The 'Halt And Catch Fire' Series Finale Is A Perfect Idea Perfectly Realized". Uproxx. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Travers, Ben (October 14, 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Series Finale Review: The Future Is Female in a Powerful Ending to a One-of-a-Kind Show". IndieWire. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- Wagmeister, Elizabeth (February 19, 2015). "AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire' Adds Two Cast Members for Season 2". Variety. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Patten, Dominic (February 2, 2015). "AMC's 'Halt & Catch Fire' Adds James Cromwell". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- McHenry, Jackson (August 23, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire's Creators on Moving the Show to San Francisco and Why the '80s Are Big on TV". Vulture. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Jung, E. Alex (July 26, 2017). "Halt and Catch Fire's Mackenzie Davis and Kerry Bishé Get the Same Pay As Their Male Co-stars for the Final Season". Vulture. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- O'Falt, Chris (June 20, 2018). "'Halt And Catch Fire' Creators Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers". IndieWire (Podcast). Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Goldberg, Lesley (October 8, 2015). "AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire' Renewed for Season 3 With New Showrunners". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (July 30, 2013). "Jonathan Lisco Inks Overall Deal With AMC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- Miller, Liz Shannon (May 30, 2015). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Showrunner Jonathan Lisco on Season 2 Changes and Joe's 'Fluid Sexuality'". IndieWire. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Rozeman, Mark (June 1, 2015). "Coding the Human Condition: Halt & Catch Fire Showrunner Jonathan Lisco on the Sophomore Season". Paste. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Fienberg, Daniel (June 7, 2014). "Interview: 'Halt and Catch Fire' showrunner Jonathan Lisco on the TV tech zeitgeist and more". HitFix. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
- Adalian, Josef (October 8, 2015). "Why AMC Renewed Halt and Catch Fire for a Third Season Despite Its Dismal Ratings". Vulture. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
- Ausiello, Michael (October 8, 2015). "Halt and Catch Fire Scores Season 3 Renewal Amid Showrunner Switch". TVLine. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (October 12, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire's creators on why their '80s tech drama couldn't avoid the internet forever". Vox Media. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
- Villarreal, Yvonne (May 25, 2014). "The PC revolution". Los Angeles Times. p. S4. Retrieved December 14, 2015.
- Bell, Shavonne (June 2014). "Halt and Catch Fire Q&A – Scoot McNairy (Gordon Clark)". AMC. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- McCracken, Harry (August 27, 2016). "Welcome To 1986: Inside 'Halt And Catch Fire's' High-Tech Time Machine". Fast Company. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Collins, Sean T. (August 23, 2016). "How Halt and Catch Fire Became the Underdog Success of the Peak TV Era". Esquire. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- Jung, E. Alex (August 14, 2017). "Mackenzie Davis Answers the Tough Questions". Vulture. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (August 23, 2016). "AMC's Halt and Catch Fire is set in tech's past. But it just might be TV's future". Vox Media. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Weintraub, Steve "Frosty" (August 19, 2017). "Lee Pace on 'Halt and Catch Fire' Season 4 and the 'Perfect' Series Finale". Collider. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Adams, Erik (October 14, 2017). "The creators of Halt And Catch Fire walk us through their series' emotional conclusion". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
- Adams, Erik (August 17, 2017). "Halt And Catch Fire's cast and creators on getting great while no one was looking". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- Yakas, Ben (August 21, 2017). "Interview: 'Halt And Catch Fire' Creators Embrace The '90s In Season Four". LAist. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Schilling, Dave (August 22, 2018). "Halt and Catch Fire: on the set of the best show on TV (that no one is watching)". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Lambert, Molly (May 27, 2015). "'The Lambert Account' Podcast: 'Halt and Catch Fire' Cocreators Chris Rogers and Chris Cantwell". Grantland. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Greenwald, Andy (October 12, 2016). "How the 'Halt and Catch Fire' Showrunners Decided on a Time Jump". The Ringer. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (August 4, 2015). "Halt and Catch Fire's creators hope you think they're 'the worst writers in the world'". Vox Media. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
- Adams, Erik (October 11, 2016). "Halt And Catch Fire showrunners talk season finale: 'It scared us, and it felt bold'". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
- Weintraub, Steve "Frosty" (August 26, 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Creators Talk Final Season and How the Series Came Together". Collider. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- Agard, Chancellor (August 18, 2017). "Halt and Catch Fire producers preview the fulfilling, celebratory final season". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
- Herman, Alison (August 17, 2017). "How 'Halt and Catch Fire' Evolved Into Prestige TV's Only Worthy Successor". The Ringer. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
- Jung, E. Alex (October 14, 2018). "The Making of Donna's Big, Series-Ending Speech on Halt and Catch Fire". Vulture. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
- Hughes, William (November 27, 2018). "Thank god Halt And Catch Fire didn't go with its original ending". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
- Bunish, Christine (October–November 2014). "Halt and Catch Atlanta". Oz Magazine. pp. 29–33. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
- Littleton, Cynthia (October 8, 2015). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Renewed For Season 3 By AMC". Variety. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
- Hagey, Keach (May 29, 2014). "AMC Bets on Payoff From Its Original Shows". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2018.
- McNamara, Mary (May 30, 2014). "AMC plays well with tech 'Fire'". Los Angeles Times. pp. D1, D7. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- Laughlin, Jamie (May 7, 2013). "AMC Needed Centennial Liquor's Neon Tex for its New Pilot, So it Gave Him a Makeover". Dallas Observer. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Solomon, Dan (May 22, 2014). "'Halt And Catch Fire' Showrunner Jonathan Lisco On Making Computers Interesting With Complex Characters". Fast Company. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
- Kate (July 9, 2015). "An Interview with Halt and Catch Fire Set Decorator Lance Totten". Mirror80. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
- Kate (July 30, 2015). "A Halt and Catch Fire Interview with Lance Totten – Part 2". Mirror80. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
- Ho, Rodney (May 28, 2014). "AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire' attempts to turn Atlanta into Texas circa 1983, debuting June 1". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Brett, Jennifer (December 7, 2013). "New AC pilot now shooting in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. D2.
- Brett, Jennifer (May 31, 2014). "Late artist's work to be featured on AMC show". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. D2.
- Conner, Cheryl (May 29, 2014). "Lessons In Tech And Business: AMC's New 'Halt And Catch Fire'". Forbes. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (October 17, 2017). "The delicate art of the TV series finale". Vox Media. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- Ho, Rodney (August 6, 2018). "AMC's 'Lodge 49': an offbeat character study packed with oddball likability". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
- Walljasper, Matt (May 21, 2015). "Behind the Scenes of AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire'". Atlanta. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- Sirois, Justin (September 22, 2015). "Gamer's Grammar: An interview with one of the creators of 'Halt and Catch Fire'". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Hank, Melissa (August 29, 2016). "Behind the scenes of Halt and Catch Fire". Canada.com. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Vehlinggo, Aaron (December 2, 2017). "Is It Really Over Already?: Talking About 'Halt and Catch Fire' With Composer Paul Haslinger". Vehlinggo.com. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Hawkins, Andrew (August 18, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Composer Paul Haslinger on New Soundtrack". FANDOM. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Houston, Shannon M. (June 1, 2014). "Catching Up With Halt And Catch Fire Composer Paul Haslinger". Paste. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Appelo, Tim (June 24, 2014). "A Tangerine Dream Conquers Television". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Roffman, Michael; Blackard, Cap (July 15, 2014). "Paul Haslinger: Halt and Score Fire". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Hutchinson, Sean (August 23, 2016). "Electronica's Triumphant Cinematic Return". Inverse. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Roffman, Michael (August 24, 2016). "Stream: Paul Haslinger's exceptional Halt and Catch Fire score". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
- Aubrich, Wess (April 2, 2019). "Exclusive: Check out this track from former Tangerine Dream member Paul Haslinger, of AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire Vol. 2' soundtrack". The 405. Retrieved April 4, 2019.
- Gundersen, Edna (June 11, 2014). "Playlists kindle AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire'". USA Today. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Bryant, Adam (2016). "Halt and Catch Fire Q&A — Thomas Golubić (Music Supervisor)". AMC.com. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Payne, Jason (September 2017). "DOPE JOBS: Halt and Catch Fire Music Supervisors Yvette Metoyer & Thomas Golubić (Interview)". FanBros.com. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Jung, E. Alex (August 3, 2015). "The Essence of Each Halt and Catch Fire Character Distilled Into a Single Song". Vulture. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Berman, Judy (October 13, 2017). "How 'Halt and Catch Fire' Used Punk Music to Empower Its Female Characters". Pitchfork. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Cabin, Chris (August 23, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Season 3 Review: Mutiny Faces Growth, Earthquakes, and Joe MacMillan". Collider. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Leas, Ryan (July 31, 2014). "The Best Soundtrack Moments Of July 2014: Boyhood, Lucy, Halt And Catch Fire, & More". Stereogum. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Landekic, Lola; Perkins, Will (June 3, 2014). "Halt and Catch Fire (2014)". Art of the Title. Interviewed by Ian Albinson. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- Hurst, Adriene. "Spotlight on Raoul Marks". Maxon.net. Retrieved June 24, 2018.
- "AMC Sets June Premiere Date For Drama Series 'Halt And Catch Fire'". Deadline Hollywood. March 5, 2014. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
- "AMC launches multi-platform preview of 'Halt and Catch Fire'". Akron Beacon Journal. May 19, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
- Sepinwall, Alan (June 1, 2014). "Series premiere review: 'Halt and Catch Fire' – 'I/O'". Uproxx. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Lambert, David (February 24, 2015). "Halt and Catch Fire – Press Release Announces 'The Complete 1st Season' for DVD, Blu-ray". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on February 25, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- Lambert, David (May 16, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire – 'The Complete 2nd Season' Press Release, Package Art". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on August 22, 2016. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
- "'Halt and Catch Fire' Dials Up Season Two on Sunday, May 31 at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT" (Press release). AMC. March 26, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
- "Season 2 of 'Halt and Catch Fire' for Amazon Prime Instant Video UK" (Press release). Advanced Television. March 31, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
- Spelling, Claire (December 14, 2017). "Rejoice, AMC Fans! 'Halt and Catch Fire' Season 4 Is Now Streaming On Netflix". Decider.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- CharlesP (June 1, 2015). "Foxtel in June: 200+ new shows including Orange Is The New Black, True Detective, Suits, PLL, Wimbledon and more". Foxtel. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "AMC Networks Re-Brands MGM Channel As 'AMC'" (Press release). AMC Networks. August 4, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie (October 8, 2015). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Renewed For Season 3 By AMC With The Series Creators As New Showrunners". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 31, 2014.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 1 (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- Gilbert, Matthew (May 30, 2014). "The promise of Halt and Catch Fire". The Boston Globe. p. 18G. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
- Goodman, Time (May 27, 2014). "'Halt and Catch Fire': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- Cabin, Chris (June 23, 2014). "Halt and Catch Fire: Season One". Slant Magazine. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- Sepinwall, Alan (July 28, 2014). "Review: AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire' nears end of season 1". HitFix. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (May 30, 2014). "Halt And Catch Fire tries to reverse engineer Mad Men". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- Ostrow, Joanne (July 31, 2014). "'Halt and Catch Fire' never did, while 'Silicon Valley' connected". The Denver Post. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- McGuire, Colin (August 19, 2014). "In Defense of a Second Season for 'Halt and Catch Fire'". PopMatters. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire : Season 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
- Sepinwall, Alan (May 28, 2015). "Review: 'Halt and Catch Fire' upgrades in a big way for season 2". HitFix. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
- Greenwald, Andy (May 28, 2015). "Hard Reboot: The Excellent Season 2 Makeover of 'Halt and Catch Fire'". Grantland. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- Paskin, Willa (May 28, 2015). "The Perfect Pivot". Slate. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
- Nussbaum, Emily (August 10–17, 2015). "Clone Club". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- Poniewozik, James (May 28, 2015). "Review: Halt and Catch Fire Works the Bugs Out in Version 2.0". Time. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
- Sims, David (December 21, 2015). "The Best Television Shows of 2015". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Poniewozik, James (December 7, 2015). "The Best TV Shows of 2015". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Paskin, Willa (December 10, 2015). "The Top 10 TV Shows of 2015". Slate. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Tallerico, Brian (December 28, 2015). "The Best TV of 2015". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (December 21, 2015). "Best TV shows 2015: from Mad Men to Jessica Jones". Vox Media. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Sheffield, Rob (December 2, 2015). "25 Best TV Shows of 2015". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- Sims, David (August 23, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire Is TV's Most Underrated Drama". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Fienberg, Daniel (August 23, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Season 3: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Ryan, Maureen (August 22, 2016). "TV Review: 'Halt and Catch Fire' Season 3". Variety. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Chaney, Jen (August 22, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire Is Still a Very Good Period Piece in Season Three". Vulture. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Poniewozik, James (August 22, 2016). "Review: 'Halt and Catch Fire' Time-Travels to Silicon Valley's Dawn". The New York Times. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Stuever, Hank (August 22, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' is a good example of how 'slow TV' can eventually pay off". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Sims, David (December 20, 2016). "The Best Television Shows of 2016". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (December 21, 2017). "Best TV shows 2016: from O.J. Simpson to Atlanta to Samantha Bee". Vox Media. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Cosores, Philip (December 26, 2016). "Top 25 TV Shows of 2016". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Saraiya, Sonia (December 9, 2016). "Sonia Saraiya's 20 Best TV Shows of 2016". Variety. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Tallerico, Brian (December 26, 2016). "The Ten Best TV Shows of 2016". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- O'Neal, Sean (December 14, 2016). "The best TV of 2016, part 2". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Herman, Alison (December 6, 2016). "The Year the Hourlong Drama Died". The Ringer. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Fienberg, Daniel (December 15, 2016). "Daniel Fienberg: The Best TV of 2016". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Moore, Trent (December 1, 2016). "The 25 Best TV Shows of 2016". Paste. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- Roffman, Michael (August 17, 2017). "AMC's Halt and Catch Fire Logs Off a Winning Underdog". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Jensen, Jeff (August 16, 2017). "Halt and Catch Fire remains a luminous drama in final season: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- Thurm, Eric (August 18, 2017). "Halt and Catch Fire is the perfect show about tech innovation". The Verge. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (August 24, 2017). "Halt and Catch Fire's final season inspires nostalgia for the early days of the internet". Vox Media. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (December 19, 2017). "The 18 best TV shows of 2017". Vox Media. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Suarez, J.M. (August 31, 2017). "'Halt and Catch Fire': Season 4 Deals With the Past While Moving Forward". Popmatters. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Sims, David (August 22, 2017). "It's Not Too Late for Halt and Catch Fire". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Cranz, Alex (December 16, 2017). "Why Didn't You Watch the Best Show Ever Made About Silicon Valley?". Gizmodo. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Grubb, Brian (December 19, 2017). "In Memoriam: A Tribute To The TV Shows We Lost In 2017". Uproxx. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- Poniewozik, James; Hale, Mike; Lyons, Margaret (December 4, 2017). "The Best TV Shows of 2017". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Gilbert, Sophie (December 11, 2017). "The 20 Best TV Shows of 2017". The Atlantic. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Variety Staff (December 13, 2017). "The Best TV Shows of 2017". Variety. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Gray, Ellen (December 24, 2017). "Best of 2017 – Television: Stories that stay with you". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. H3. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Gerber, Justin (December 29, 2017). "Top 25 TV Shows of 2017". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Fienberg, Daniel (December 15, 2017). "Daniel Fienberg: The 10 Best TV Shows of 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Sepinwall, Alan (December 18, 2017). "Alan Sepinwall Picks The 20 Best TV Shows Of 2017". Uproxx. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Murray, Noel (December 13, 2017). "The A.V. Club's 20 best TV shows of 2017". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- St. John, Allen (December 31, 2017). "The Best of Television 2017: The Deuce, The Handmaid's Tale, Jimmy Kimmel And More". Forbes. Retrieved January 21, 2017.
- Paskin, Willa (December 14, 2017). "The 10 Best TV Shows of 2017". Slate. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Chaney, Jen (December 6, 2017). "Jen Chaney's 10 Best TV Shows of 2017". Vulture. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Turnquist, Kristi (January 2, 2018). "Best and worst of TV 2017: Great performances, big duds and dreary trends". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Travers, Ben; Miller, Liz Shannon; Nguyen, Hanh; Greene, Steve (December 5, 2017). "The Top 10 TV Shows of 2017". IndieWire. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
- Herman, Alison (December 5, 2017). "The Best TV Shows of 2017". The Ringer. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
- Brennan, Matt (November 28, 2017). "The 25 Best TV Shows of 2017". Paste. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Sheffield, Rob (December 5, 2017). "20 Best TV Shows of 2017". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- "The 50 best TV shows of 2017: 50-1". The Guardian. November 30, 2017. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
- Lynch, John (July 3, 2018). "The 50 best TV show seasons of all time, according to critics". Business Insider. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Dietz, Jason (December 4, 2017). "Best of 2017: Television Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
- O'Connell, Michael (June 2, 2014). "TV Ratings: AMC's 'Halt and Catch Fire' Opens to Just 1.2 Million Viewers". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- Porter, Rick (October 10, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' will get a fourth and final season: A tale of Peak TV". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
- Littleton, Cynthia (August 20, 2014). "AMC Renews 'Halt and Catch Fire' for Season 2". Variety. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Andreeva, Nellie (August 19, 2014). "AMC Renews 'Halt and Catch Fire' For Second Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Hibberd, James (August 20, 2014). "Surprise: AMC renews 'Halt and Catch Fire'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (March 26, 2015). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Season Two Premieres Sunday May 31". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- Patten, Dominic (June 2, 2015). "'Halt & Catch Fire' Ratings Fall From 2014 Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
- VanDerWerff, Todd (October 8, 2015). "AMC renews Halt and Catch Fire for a 3rd season, even though nobody watched it". Vox Media. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- Mitovich, Matt Webb (August 21, 2016). "Halt and Catch Fire Gets Secret Sunday Sneak Peek Ahead of Tuesday Premiere". TVLine. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- Roots, Kimberly (June 30, 2016). "Date for Halt and Catch Fire's Two-Hour Season 3 Premiere Set at AMC". TVLine. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- Levin, Gary (August 30, 2016). "Nielsens: MTV's VMAs hits another record low". USA Today. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
- Holloway, Daniel (October 10, 2016). "'Halt and Catch Fire' Renewed for Fourth and Final Season at AMC". Variety. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season One Ratings". TV Series Finale. August 20, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season Two Ratings". TV Series Finale. October 8, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season Three Ratings". TV Series Finale. October 12, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- "Halt and Catch Fire: Season Four Ratings". TV Series Finale. October 17, 2017. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
- Pond, Steve (February 16, 2015). "Satellite Awards: Complete Winners List". The Wrap. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
- Andreeva, Nellie (June 9, 2014). "Critics' Choice TV Awards Name Top New Series, Sets Ryan Murphy For Icon Honor". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- "2015 Artios Awards". Casting Society of America. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- Hipes, Patrick (July 16, 2015). "Emmy Nominations 2015 – Full List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
- "2015 SXSW Film Design Awards: Excellence in Title Design". Art of the Title. March 18, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- "Hollywood Post Alliance Unveils Nominations for The 10th Annual HPA Awards". Hollywood Post Alliance. September 21, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- "Guild of Music Supervisors Awards: The Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. February 16, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- Pedersen, Erik (January 22, 2018). "Motion Picture Sound Editors Reveal Golden Reel Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- Littleton, Cynthia (April 10, 2018). "Peabody Awards Unveil 60 Nominees for 2017". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
- "The 19th Women's Image Network Awards Winners". Women's Image Network Awards. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "2019 Guild of Music Supervisors Awards: Complete Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. February 13, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2019.