Halt and Catch Fire, AMC’s consistently entertaining, detail-obsessive ’80s period drama, will return for its third season on August 23rd. The season’s first two episodes will air back-to-back beginning at 9PM ET.
Halt and Catch Fire’s third season will see the show moving from Texas to Silicon Valley for its 10-episode run. Last season, the series largely followed Cameron and Donna’s attempts to get their online games company, Mutiny, off the ground. Although the show sometimes seemed uncomfortable in the startup world, given the first season’s exploration of the slightly stodgier Cardiff Electric, it remained innovative and well-crafted.
This is great news for a great, and underrated show.
I grew up in the early 80s and can attest to how ‘detail-obsessed’ the show is. Many times in shows and movies, when they’re depicting computers, they use interfaces and sounds that don’t exist in real life. In Halt and Catch Fire they’re true to the real world (or pretty close anyway).
And as for where the title comes from:
In computer engineering, Halt and Catch Fire, known by the assembly mnemonic HCF, is an idiom referring to a computer machine code instruction that causes the computer’s central processing unit (CPU) to cease meaningful operation, typically requiring a restart of the computer. It originally referred to a fictitious instruction in IBM System/360 computers, but later computer developers who saw the joke created real versions of this instruction for some machines. In the case of real instructions the implication of this expression is that, whereas in most cases in which a CPU executes an unintended instruction (a bug in the code) the computer may still be able to recover, but in the case of an HCF instruction there is, by definition, no way for the system to recover without a restart.
The expression “catch fire” in this context is normally facetious, rather than literal, referring to a total loss of CPU functionality during the current session.
Not only is the show great, so is the intro:
Oh, and I have a crush on Kerry Bishé:
August 23rd, 9PM. I’m there.