Tuesday, September 13, 2016

We Should Make Chat Rooms? (Halt and Catch Fire)

This has been one of my best kept secrets. Not by chose, it's just y'all never wanted to watch. Till now? Hopefully so. I don't want the show to end. It seem to be finding the footing. The first two season have been met with nothing but positive. This third season has been met with critical acclaim. (Insert cpu joke here). 

  The series is set in the Silicon Prairie of Texas, starting in 1983, and depicts a fictionalized insider's view of the personal computer revolution.  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)

Characters to watch:

Cameron Howe 
Cameron Howe, born "Catherine", is a volatile prodigy who drops out of college and puts her future in jeopardy to join Joe MacMillan's rogue PC project. This 22 year old programmer is a shock to the system of conservative, old-guard Cardiff Electric, but she simultaneously represents what is next in the world of computing while delivering a slap in the face to the traditionally male-dominated 1980s tech industry.

The product of a tumultuous childhood, she finds connection and comfort in the mathematical certainty of coding but at the same time tends to create chaos everywhere she goes.

 John Bosworth 
John Bosworth is a old-school businessman who has built Cardiff Electric into a regional power, a task that has taken him 22 years. As senior VP, he runs the day-to-day operation of Cardiff Electric for the founder, Nathan Cardiff, and he handles all of the company’s finances. After Joe MacMillan forces his company into the PC race, Bosworth is forced to keep an eye on him for better of for worse.

Despite his attitude towards Joe, Bosworth is a man with a code, who knows he still has a vital role to play in the company’s future and he won't go quietly.

Donna Clark
Donna Clark is Gordon's wife and ex-engineering partner. Donna grew up in a new-money family in Dallas and her parents are entrepreneurs who founded a high-end gadget company called Razor’s Edge. An accomplished musician, Donna found her calling in computers while attending the University of California, Berkeley, with her husband Gordon, where she went into to engineering.

She is resigned to her husband's mental absence since their failed Symphonic project, but she is also scared that the new Cardiff Electric PC project will result in the end of her marriage. Despite this, she tries to support Gordon, in the hope that this will be the thing that brings him back to life. 

Favorite episodes:   

Season One. Episode Nine "Up Helly Aa"
When the Cardiff Electric team arrives in Las Vegas, they learn that their reservations have been cancelled due to the company's corporate assets being frozen. After the team manages to secure a suite and a booth by other means, Donna and Gordon discover that the Giant is malfunctioning; during the would-be demo, Joe distracts the drunken attendees with booth babes. Eventually, Donna and Gordon get the Giant repaired. The next day, the team notices a large gathering at a particular booth; they then realize that Donna's former boss Hunt was marketing a knockoff of the Giant called the Slingshot. At their suite, Gordon accuses Donna of having an affair with Hunt. Joe realizes that the Slingshot is faster and cheaper than the Giant, and Gordon removes Cameron's OS in response. Cameron is upset over Gordon's actions; however, Joe has to side with Gordon for the sake of survival. Joe successfully pitches the Giant during the on-floor presentation, securing a large pre-order from a computer retailer. As Cardiff celebrates their hollow victory, Joe stumbles upon a gathering in another room where the Apple Macintosh is being demonstrated, and Joe immediately sees it as the IBM PC-killer he envisioned.

Season One. Episode Ten "1984"
 After COMDEX, Joe and Gordon manage to convince Nathan Cardiff into giving them operational control of the company as well as minority ownership. Donna severs her ties with TI after she deliberately tanks her performance review. While testing the first batch of Giants, the engineers discover a defective test unit. Now fixated on the Macintosh, Joe tasks the programmers with creating a killer application to bundle with the Giant. After Gordon suspects that Joe had engineered another crisis, Donna tells Gordon that he must force Joe out of the company; Gordon plans to do so by threatening to turn Cameron over to the FBI for her role in embezzling Cardiff's money. After parting ways with Joe and Cardiff Electric, Cameron creates her own startup company called Mutiny to host online games, recruiting most of Cardiff's programming team. With no programmers left, Joe drops his plans for a killer app, and Gordon too drops his plan to oust Joe. Gordon holds an office party to celebrate the launch of the Giant. Later, Gordon invites Donna to work as head engineer at Cardiff Electric; however, she declines, deciding to work with Cameron at Mutiny. Gordon is left unsure of how to move forward after Joe abruptly (and dramatically) leaves Cardiff Electric.

Season Two. Episode Two "New Coke" 
 Joe and Sara meet with her father Jacob Wheeler, a wealthy oil magnate and head of Westgroup Energy. Noting Joe's troubled work history, Jacob offers him a job with Westgroup. Joe initially declines, but he later accepts the offer; however, after going to Westgroup's headquarters, Joe discovers that he was given a low-level data entry job. When Cameron tries to bring on Bosworth to manage Mutiny, Donna protests since he is an ex-convict. At home, Gordon loads Mutiny's Tank Battle and obsesses over a glitch in the game. Donna and Cameron attempt to seek capital to expand Mutiny, but they are turned away by a sexist venture capitalist. The coders discover that a user had cloned Mutiny's flagship game, Parallax, and is distributing copies for free. After confronting the hacker, Tom Rendon, Donna attempts to take legal action against him; however, Cameron had hired Tom after he demonstrated how he got multiple users on a single phone line. Donna threatens to walk out on Mutiny if Cameron continues to make brash, unilateral business decisions. After the coders find a rather personal letter between him and Cameron, Bosworth tells her that Mutiny isn't the right place for him at the moment and needs time alone.

AMC  June 1, 2014 – present

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