Thursday, November 16, 2017

Now on Netflix: Halt and Catch Fire, Season 4 (2017)

Halt and Catch Fire, Season 4 (2017) - Created by Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers; Starring Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishe, Toby Huss, Annabeth Gish, Kathryn Newton, Suzanna Skaggs.

By Kenny Howell

Halt and Catch Fire always had the disadvantage that it lived in the shadow of Mad Men.

It seems that Mad Men is why Halt and Catch Fire got made. Both were AMC shows, and it started very similar with a period piece, this the 1980s as opposed to the 1960s, with an eccentric, brilliant mind with all kinds of issues.

That is where it stuck in the first season, which was kind of underwhelming, but what it became over season two and three was something completely different and quite good. It took our core characters through the exploding tech industry, sometimes jumping years between episodes. Joe McMillan (Lee Pace), who was the focus at the start of the show, kind of took a back seat to Gordon (Scoot McNairy), Donna (Kerry Bishe) and Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), and the show got so much better. When Joe's imprint was brought back to level with everyone else on the show, his character became a bit clearer and things went smoother for the entire cast.

In the fourth season, we jump into the mid 1990s as businesses are trying to make sense of the web. Donna is in a high power firm developing big ideas, and she is the one steering decisions. Joe and Gordon are working together. And Cameron is trying to get her sophomore effort of a video game to the market, but is having trouble getting people to see its positives with the likes of Doom and Wolfenstein blowing up the PC gaming world.

The web is established, and the next step is to organize it. Joe and Gordon are working toward indexing the web and making it searchable. Donna's company is working on that as well, but things get complicated when Donna and Gordon's daughter Haley creates a webpage that will become the basis for Joe and Gordon's indexing site. They hire a big crew and get to work creating a searchable internet.

Since this is the end of the series, enmeshed within all of that is saying goodbye to the characters in some way. It feels by the end that we get that goodbye, some sad, some happy, but the right way to send them off. Halt and Catch Fire never was Mad Men, but when it found out it didn't have to be, it became something quite special.

All four seasons of Halt and Catch Fire are now available on Netflix.

Rating: ***1/2

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