Sweet dreams are made of this—silicon chips and PC competition. At least that is what multiple new cable shows seem to suggest this year, including AMC’s intriguing looking Halt and Catch Fire. And the cable network that gave us Mad Men and Breaking Bad has released a trailer for the PC series that is set at the fictional Texan computer start-up Cardiff Electric, a company that dared to challenge the IBM goliath of the 1980s.
Halt and Catch Fire captures the rise of the PC era in the early 1980s, during which a renegade trio — a visionary, an engineer, and a prodigy — risk it all to realize their vision of building a computer that could change the future. The series charts the changing culture of Texas’ Silicon Prairie while tensions build within the group as they attempt to navigate the thin line between visionary and fraud and genius and delusion, and as their drive to do something that matters runs up against their ability to truly innovate. The 10-episode series is created by Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers and executive produced by showrunner Jonathan Lisco (Southland), Gran Via Productions’ Mark Johnson (Breaking Bad) and Melissa Bernstein (Breaking Bad).
Halt and Catch Fire is set roughly one year after IBM all but corners the market with the release of its first major product — the IBM PC. It is also the same year people realize that the IBM PC has a fatal flaw, which quickly makes personal computing anyone’s game. In this fictional drama, a former IBM executive, Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace), plans to reverse-engineer the flagship product of his former employer, and he forces his current company, Cardiff Electric, into the personal computer race. MacMillan enlists the help of Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), a once-great engineer who dreams of creating a revolutionary product while trying to manage his initially unsupportive wife, Donna (Kerry Bishé), and Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), a volatile prodigy who puts her future in jeopardy to join MacMillan’s rogue PC project. Halt and Catch Fire thrives on the spirit of innovation and explores what it’s like to stand at the forefront of something truly great and world-changing and work toward it, no matter the risk.