Halt and Catch Fire AMC HD June 1, 2014 - Page 11 - AVS Forum
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post #301 of 377 Old 08-09-2014, 11:40 AM
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Fans of Kerry Bishe (Donna) will find her in the movie "Goodbye World" which is currently playing on Netflix WI.
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post #302 of 377 Old 08-10-2014, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post
HFC is an old phrase that indicates a CPU has stopped operating .. although the Catch Fire part is really more of a programmers inside joke ..

I certainly remember the HALT command that stopped the CPU from executing instructions. Frequently this was unintentional, and it made the programmers/operators very angry, hence the "catch fire" joke. As an assembly instruction, HCF was right in there with RPM (read programmer's mind) as well a few others.
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post #303 of 377 Old 08-10-2014, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Church AV Guy View Post
I certainly remember the HALT command that stopped the CPU from executing instructions. Frequently this was unintentional, and it made the programmers/operators very angry, hence the "catch fire" joke. As an assembly instruction, HCF was right in there with RPM (read programmer's mind) as well a few others.
Wasn't catch fire from a printer error?
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post #304 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 07:57 AM
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I was also involved in that exciting age of new computers so I found the program really interesting, but if the ratings were bad, maybe the time period was a little too early for most of today's viewers.
I have trouble buying this.

We've had plenty of well received shows that take place during the 60's, the Revolutionary War, the 1800's, the 70's and other eras well before the current Facebook and Twitter crowd was born. Heck, another show that takes place in the 80's (the Americans) is doing fine.

Perhaps the problem with Halt is people saw it for what it really is: a lesser version of Mad Men.

It wants to have all the drama with the main character that seems to disappear from work more than he's there, the female struggling to find her place in "a man's world" and the under appreciated main character that just can't seem to break out from the shadow of "the star" of the operation (and is unsatisfied with his home life). Heck, we even have the boss that seems to be a relic from the past and is slowly being pushed out by the young stars. Finally, we have another female genius (living in the shadow of her parents) who tries to prove herself to her boss, only to end up changing companies to get where she wants to be.

The problem is, Joe is no Don Draper. Gordon isn't Pete. Cameron isn't Joan and John Bosworth isn't Roger Sterling. Donna isn't Peggy. Their characters feel like the minor league versions of them.

Further, unlike with Mad Men, there's very little in the way of an immersive environment that cleary stamps the era the show takes place in. Sure, they throw us a few bones here and there, but the complete lack of pop culture and noteworthy events from the era makes me think these people need to get out more. Apparently nobody on the show watches TV or listens to music. Nobody goes to the movies. Nobody keeps up on current events. I say this because nobody discusses anything related to those things at all.

Sure, toward the end, they started getting more of that stuff in there and they did a respectable job at giving us a feel for the trade show, but most of the references felt like someone read the script and realized they ought to have something in there to remind the audience it takes place in the 80's.

On a show that ties itself so closely with computers, the early episodes felt like the hired Hollywood "computer experts" instead of actual computer experts. Otherwise, how would they have come up with something as stupid as the "manually spinning the platters" method of file recovery. With stuff like that, they likely turned off a lot of geeks that felt like it was going to be yet another "people typing fake commands into computers" show that relied on Soap Opera antics to fill in the blanks.

Finally, the cast was too constrained. You can't build a show around 4 people and make them interesting enough to care about them each week. This show needed an ensemble of performeres and what we got was a barber shop quartet where nobody seems to be singing the right tune.

As I noted earlier in the thread, I think a better show would have surrounded a business software company that Joe convinces to become a game company. That would allow for more people to be hands on and have more memorable references. Aside from a few exceptions, people remember games - they don't remember computers. We could see the games race from the point of view of not just computers, but consoles and arcades. At the same time, we could see a parade of computer hardware rolling through as the team ports their wares to various platforms.

At the same time, Donna at TI could represent the struggles of developing hardware.
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post #305 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post
I have trouble buying this.

We've had plenty of well received shows that take place during the 60's, the Revolutionary War, the 1800's, the 70's and other eras well before the current Facebook and Twitter crowd was born. Heck, another show that takes place in the 80's (the Americans) is doing fine.

Perhaps the problem with Halt is people saw it for what it really is: a lesser version of Mad Men.

It wants to have all the drama with the main character that seems to disappear from work more than he's there, the female struggling to find her place in "a man's world" and the under appreciated main character that just can't seem to break out from the shadow of "the star" of the operation (and is unsatisfied with his home life). Heck, we even have the boss that seems to be a relic from the past and is slowly being pushed out by the young stars. Finally, we have another female genius who tries to prove herself to her boss, only to end up changing companies to get where she wants to be.

The problem is, Joe is no Don Draper. Gordon isn't Pete. Cameron isn't Joan and John Bosworth isn't Roger Sterling. Donna isn't Peggy. Their characters feel like the minor league versions of them.

Further, unlike with Mad Men, there's very little in the way of an immersive environment that cleary stamps the era the show takes place in. Sure, they throw us a few bones here and there, but the complete lack of pop culture and noteworthy events from the era makes me think these people need to get out more. Apparently nobody on the show watches TV or listens to music. Nobody goes to the movies. Nobody keeps up on current events. I say this because nobody discusses anything related to those things at all.

Sure, toward the end, they started getting more of that stuff in there and they did a respectable job at giving us a feel for the trade show, but most of the references felt like someone read the script and realized they ought to have something in there to remind the audience it takes place in the 80's.

On a show that ties itself so closely with computers, the early episodes felt like the hired Hollywood "computer experts" instead of actual computer experts. Otherwise, how would they have come up with something as stupid as the "manually spinning the platters" method of file recovery. With stuff like that, they likely turned off a lot of geeks that felt like it was going to be yet another "people typing fake commands into computers" show that relied on Soap Opera antics to fill in the blanks.

Finally, the cast was too constrained. You can't build a show around 4 people and make them interesting enough to care about them each week. This show needed an ensemble of performeres and what we got was a barber shop quartet where nobody seems to be singing the right tune.

As I noted earlier in the thread, I think a better show would have surrounded a business software company that Joe convinces to become a game company. That would allow for more people to be hands on and have more memorable references. Aside from a few exceptions, people remember games - they don't remember computers. We could see the games race from the point of view of not just computers, but consoles and arcades. At the same time, we could see a parade of computer hardware rolling through as the team ports their wares to various platforms.

At the same time, Donna at TI could represent the struggles of developing hardware.
For me, I am not a drama fan since I couldn't get into Manhattan, Mad Men, etc. I do like the (19)80s stuff especially with computers but I didn't get into computers until later years of the decade like my Apple //c.
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post #306 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 09:53 AM
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NetworkTV --I agree with most of your analysis but do take issue with your downgrading of Halt and Catch Fire's outstanding ensemble cast. It seems to me that Lee Pace, Scoot McNary, et al. have shown themselves to be more than talented enough to carry a show as well as Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, et al. carry Mad Men. The problem that Pace and the others had was that they didn't have Matthew Weiner at the controls. In short, there is no substitute for great writing, particularly in a serialized television drama. Halt and Catch Fire wasn't a poorly written show, it seems to me, but it certainly wasn't in a class with Mad Men.

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post #307 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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HCF simply could not find an audience large enough .. it's really simple as that .. partly due to no real marketing push by AMC .. partly due to the subject matter .. the writing was as good or better than other dissimilar shows that have been ongoing for years .. people were just not interested and no buzz ever developed, which is really what AMC relies on a la Walking Dead and Breaking Bad ..

Those that stuck with it, liked it .. myself included .. it pulled an 8.2 / 10 on IMDb ..

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post #308 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 10:32 AM
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From the beginning I read that this was going to be like Mad Men - but I never saw many similarities. By that logic, any series set in an earlier time could be considered a Mad Men clone. Mad Men (actually Matthew Weiner) was obsessed with getting all the minutiae exactly right of that time and place, and the characterization and writing and well, the depth were just on another level. Just didn't see that in Halt and Catch Fire. One example was the two brilliant women geeks at a time when the profession was almost entirely dominated by men. Good dramatic touch, but a little unrealistic, and something Matthew Weiner wouldn't have tolerated. So I thought it was an excellent show, and I hope it comes back, but the comparisons with Mad Men are way off base.
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post #309 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by cwilson View Post
From the beginning I read that this was going to be like Mad Men - but I never saw many similarities. By that logic, any series set in an earlier time could be considered a Mad Men clone. Mad Men (actually Matthew Weiner) was obsessed with getting all the minutiae exactly right of that time and place, and the characterization and writing and well, the depth were just on another level. Just didn't see that in Halt and Catch Fire. One example was the two brilliant women geeks at a time when the profession was almost entirely dominated by men. Good dramatic touch, but a little unrealistic, and something Matthew Weiner wouldn't have tolerated. So I thought it was an excellent show, and I hope it comes back, but the comparisons with Mad Men are way off base.

I'd have to disagree on the women part. Sure it was dominated and to a lesser existent still dominated by men. My mother was a programmer during this time and there were other women with her where she worked, although they had to work twice as hard to get recognition.
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post #310 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 11:05 AM
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NetworkTV --I agree with most of your analysis but do take issue with your downgrading of Halt and Catch Fire's outstanding ensemble cast. It seems to me that Lee Pace, Scoot McNary, et al. have shown themselves to be more than talented enough to carry a show as well as Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, et al. carry Mad Men. The problem that Pace and the others had was that they didn't have Matthew Weiner at the controls. In short, there is no substitute for great writing, particularly in a serialized television drama. Halt and Catch Fire wasn't a poorly written show, it seems to me, but it certainly wasn't in a class with Mad Men.
I wasn't downgrading the cast - just the show and the characters.

The problem wasn't with the actors, it was the writing and the overall production quality. It felt cheap in every aspect, including the dialog. I have no doubt that in better hands, Halt would really show what the talent we saw could really do.

The whole show just felt like you had someone writing it who had to keep asking consultants how things would have worked. It felt like someone like me writing a show about over the road trucking based only on my experience of seeing trucks on the highway.

"I've seen computers from the 80's, so I'll make a show about a company building one"....

As a result, it came off as though the writers didn't fully understand the context.

"Hey, I need some code for this scene."
"I read on Wikipedia TI had quality control issues at one point with their computers. Let's put that in somehow...like maybe they could talk about it in a board meeting."
"Hey, we need to reference Cabbage Patch Dolls."

It just felt like any references were shoved in there just to make people say, "oh, I remember that" rather than actually fit properly into the story.

That's one thing I like about Mad Men: the references play real roles in the plot of the show.
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post #311 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 11:20 AM
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I'd have to disagree on the women part. Sure it was dominated and to a lesser existent still dominated by men. My mother was a programmer during this time and there were other women with her where she worked, although they had to work twice as hard to get recognition.
I know that there were a few women programmers and technical gurus at that time - but not many - and the innovators were almost all men. Not a comment on capability, just a recognition of the reality of the times. So to have the brilliant Cameron do the BIOS, and then the wife of Gordon out of the blue solving the motherboard problem - that's just too slick a plot device to have the smell of authenticity. Later on they throw in a brilliant black computer case designer who was Joe's former lover. What Mad Men did religiously was show the times as they were. Halt and Catch Fire showed the times as the writers might have liked them to be.
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post #312 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 11:21 AM
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However more drama happened at ad agencies than at 1980s computer companies. It's a challenge to make the latter interesting to the general public.
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post #313 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 11:32 AM
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However more drama happened at ad agencies than at 1980s computer companies. It's a challenge to make the latter interesting to the general public.
As someone who has worked in advertising, I can assure you that most of the work we did was brain-numbingly boring. Had even 1/4 the hijinks shown in Mad Men gone on, most of us would have been fired before we finished our first campaigns. In fact most of my days were spent listening to the client tell me their brilliant (read sarcasm) marketing campaign ideas all while ignoring any ideas we had that would actually not suck.

The same goes for being a news reporter, doctor, lawyer or a private detective. Most of the day is completely dull and repetitive.

Any drama you see on any workplace show is complete and utter BS.

Having said that, the fact that the writers of Halt couldn't even make up decent BS drama says a lot about their writing skills. Heck, had they taken even the most mundane stories from the early days of Apple under Steve Jobs, they'd have more drama than an Actor's Studio master class...

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post #314 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 11:50 AM
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Fans of Kerry Bishe (Donna) will find her in the movie "Goodbye World" which is currently playing on Netflix WI.

She was also in Argo, along with her hubby from this series.

RIP John, my best friend. Oct 17th 1966 - Nov 13th 2010

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post #315 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 11:51 AM
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Halt and Catch Fire AMC HD June 1, 2014

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Originally Posted by cwilson View Post
I know that there were a few women programmers and technical gurus at that time - but not many - and the innovators were almost all men. Not a comment on capability, just a recognition of the reality of the times. So to have the brilliant Cameron do the BIOS, and then the wife of Gordon out of the blue solving the motherboard problem - that's just too slick a plot device to have the smell of authenticity. Later on they throw in a brilliant black computer case designer who was Joe's former lover. What Mad Men did religiously was show the times as they were. Halt and Catch Fire showed the times as the writers might have liked them to be.

Rate yes, impossible no. I'm not going to compare this to Mad Men as these are two totally different shows. Maybe because I was exposed to the small "anomalies" portrayed on the show it help me accept it more. While rare what was seen (as far as characters) was possible. They could have gone with the "norm" and that would have been ok too.

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post #316 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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At the extreme risk of going totally against the grain here .. Don Draper and his colleagues showed little respect for the underlying purpose of their work – to serve the interests of their clients .. that was a complete fabrication of reality ..
"Mad Men" was nothing more than the fulfillment of every possible stereotype of the early 1960s bundled up nicely to convince consumers that the sort of morally repugnant behavior exhibited by its characters was the norm .. and in that respect, it was far off from reality ..
And, yes, I still liked the show ..

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post #317 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 01:36 PM
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I'd have to disagree on the women part. Sure it was dominated and to a lesser existent still dominated by men. My mother was a programmer during this time and there were other women with her where she worked, although they had to work twice as hard to get recognition.
Yeah, the technically brilliant girls worked for me too. In fact, I thought they were high points in the show. Still, I agree with cwilson that there's only one Matthew Weiner, so Halt and Catch Fire is not in Mad Men's class.
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post #318 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 02:03 PM
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Yeah, the technically brilliant girls worked for me too. In fact, I thought they were high points in the show. Still, I agree with cwilson that there's only one Matthew Weiner, so Halt and Catch Fire is not in Mad Men's class.

Indeed, I'm not sure how MM was brought up for comparison, but it was a bad one (at least to me). I can see trying to attain what MM has done, but these shows are too different for direct comparison besides being in different decades than the one we are in currently.
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post #319 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 04:27 PM
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So it's definitely dead?

Sounds like a post-mortem here.
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post #320 of 377 Old 08-12-2014, 04:30 PM
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So it's definitely dead?

Sounds like a post-mortem here.

No one knows for sure, just going off the ratings I would say yes.
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post #321 of 377 Old 08-13-2014, 07:35 AM
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So it's definitely dead?

Sounds like a post-mortem here.
Every time I open this thread, that's what I'm afraid I'm going to read.
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post #322 of 377 Old 08-13-2014, 09:12 AM
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Well, no news is good news perhaps?

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post #323 of 377 Old 08-13-2014, 11:50 AM
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As someone who has worked in advertising, I can assure you that most of the work we did was brain-numbingly boring. Had even 1/4 the hijinks shown in Mad Men gone on, most of us would have been fired before we finished our first campaigns. In fact most of my days were spent listening to the client tell me their brilliant (read sarcasm) marketing campaign ideas all while ignoring any ideas we had that would actually not suck.

The same goes for being a news reporter, doctor, lawyer or a private detective. Most of the day is completely dull and repetitive.

Any drama you see on any workplace show is complete and utter BS.

Having said that, the fact that the writers of Halt couldn't even make up decent BS drama says a lot about their writing skills. Heck, had they taken even the most mundane stories from the early days of Apple under Steve Jobs, they'd have more drama than an Actor's Studio master class...
My late brother was of the "Mad Men" generation and many of the hijinx did remind me of he and his friends and their businesses. I also worked as a musician on commercials back in the 1970s so have some familiarity with ad agency people.

I recall the 1980s being rather drawl compared to the 60s and 70s. Perhaps a drama about an early game software company might be more interesting. However in the 1990s when I worked at such a company we would have dads bring their son in to see the place and I couldn't imagine why because it was very boring with just a bunch of folks staring at computer screens. Perhaps that was their ploy to show the son that his dream of working at a game wasn't going to be what he thought it was.
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post #324 of 377 Old 08-13-2014, 01:11 PM
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HCF simply could not find an audience large enough .. it's really simple as that .. partly due to no real marketing push by AMC ..

.. people were just not interested and no buzz ever developed, which is really what AMC relies on a la Walking Dead and Breaking Bad ..

Those that stuck with it, liked it .. myself included .. it pulled an 8.2 / 10 on IMDb ..
I watch a fair amount of cable TV (BB, WD, The Bridge, etc.). I had never heard of this show until about episode 5, not one commercial or bill board.

I heard about it here at AVS, in the "Hot off the press" thread. I caught up on-line. I really love the show, warts and all.It became a must see show for me. But the lack of advertising hints to me that AMC was never very serious about it.
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post #325 of 377 Old 08-20-2014, 09:50 AM
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According to a post in HoTP, show got renewed for another season. Pretty surprised at that one but glad to see it.
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post #326 of 377 Old 08-20-2014, 10:06 AM
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According to a post in HoTP, show got renewed for another season. Pretty surprised at that one but glad to see it.

Same here, but glad to to still have it around. I wonder where they plan on taking it now, that was a pretty fractured group when we last left them. I'm sure they can get the band back together.
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post #327 of 377 Old 08-20-2014, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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post #328 of 377 Old 08-20-2014, 11:07 AM
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Saw that Halt just got renewed. I liked the show up until the season finale. Lee Pace in particular mailed it in, part of it may have been poor writing, very formulaic, but come on. What's next??? Guess we are going to find out.
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post #329 of 377 Old 08-20-2014, 11:34 AM
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I won't find out, I deleted it from my series list. I just couldn't get into any of the characters, I only stayed with it to see what happened with the Giant.
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post #330 of 377 Old 08-20-2014, 12:13 PM
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Wow, surprisingly good news. I was enjoying this one at the end.
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