Put “from the producers of Breaking Bad” in front of the announcement of a new TV series and everyone is going to take notice. Indeed, as part of this year’s new “episodic” programming at SXSW in Austin, Texas, one of the most buzzed about screenings was a premiere preview of a series with one such prefix.
This morning, the pilot of the new AMC series Halt and Catch Fire screened to the public for the first time. The series documents what the show creators call an “alternate reality” of what became known as “silicon prairie” in Texas. A period in the 1980s where smaller companies emerged to compete in the home computer market with leaders IBM. They focus on an entrepreneurial pair, who in the pilot commence plans to do just that: compete with the giants.
At the panel with cast and crew that followed the pilot screening, the creators (Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers) called the series a “passion project” that was “written years before the resurgence of interest in the life of Steve Jobs”, though by giving the show two leads in Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy, they admitted it’s hard not to compare to and reference similar pairs like Jobs and Wozniak.
“But we wanted to make reference to it in an interesting way… So, we also show what happens when two people (Gordon and his wife before the events of the show) go into the garage and failed… We see what that does to someone”.
Halt and Catch Fire premieres in the USA on AMC network on June 1st. News of an Australian screening date has yet to be announced. The series is not to be confused with HBO’s Silicon Valley, which is also premiering at SXSW. We’ll have the full review of Halt, and more from the panel will be on the AU closer to its release.