• Network: AMC
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 1, 2014
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Jeff Korbelik
    Jun 2, 2014
    83
    The thrill comes not from the actual computer building, but the people doing the building. These characters are complex and well-developed, especially Pace’s fiery exec, who is a mesmerizing manipulator.
  2. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    May 29, 2014
    83
    [An] entertaining, engaging start.
  3. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    May 30, 2014
    80
    Though the pilot of Halt and Catch Fire, AMC's latest character-driven drama premiering Sunday, doesn't hit the gloriously high bar set by the opening episode of "Mad Men," it is provocative and promising nonetheless.
  4. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    May 30, 2014
    80
    A stellar Toby Huss portrays the hard-driving Bosworth, a commanding presence. There are more than a few of these in Halt and Catch Fire, a drama set in Texas, filmed in Georgia--and from the available evidence an immensely seductive enterprise.
  5. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    May 30, 2014
    80
    It all adds up to a promising, surprisingly lively and fast-paced drama that humanizes those early computer geeks.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    May 28, 2014
    80
    It’s not quite as nuanced as "Mad Men," but it could be before the end of the season.
  7. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    May 27, 2014
    80
    The good news is that Halt and Catch Fire is a triumphant pilot with excellent writing, impressive acting and a noteworthy cinematic visual style. ... But ultimately that means nothing until we see the next episode. And the one after that. And the one after that. So take this early praise with that caveat.
  8. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jun 2, 2014
    75
    Halt and Catch Fire’s operating system is solid, crafty and cunning. Boot it up.
  9. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    May 30, 2014
    75
    The drawback to Catch Fire is that we aren't yet interested enough in the backup characters. For now Pace is reason enough to watch this on whatever TV, laptop or mobile screen you prefer in the digital age. [9 Jun 2014, p.33]
  10. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    May 30, 2014
    75
    So far it’s promising without being riveting, with the potential to be Facebook--or Myspace.
  11. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    May 30, 2014
    75
    The premiere flags a bit when we get to the actual business at hand; Pace and McNairy hole up in the latter’s garage, furiously soldering wires and reading off columns of numbers. It’s not the stuff of great drama.... Things pick up as Joe takes a calculated risk by outing their project to the competition, putting his bosses in a no-win position that demands they fund the build.
  12. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    May 30, 2014
    75
    Halt And Catch Fire has a great cast, a neat title, a solid pilot script from Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, and some intriguing direction from Juan José Campanella that turns both the human face and circuit boards into things to be broken down into component parts and understood. But it lacks a suggestion that it will reassemble the parts of better dramas that it has gathered into something uniquely its own, instead of a mostly functional knockoff.
  13. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    May 30, 2014
    75
    Halt is wise enough to play this out against Gordon’s stress over providing for his family, Joe’s mysterious background and Cameron’s cute pixie haircut. The ad men in “Mad Men” changed a great deal; the people who put a computer in every home changed everything. And that keeps Halt and Catch Fire interesting.
  14. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    May 27, 2014
    75
    The action unfurls a mere 30 years ago, but it may as well be the Dark Ages when viewed through today’s technology-dependent lens. That’s a big part of what makes the show such fun.
  15. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    May 30, 2014
    70
    There's a tentativeness to Halt's first hour--it doesn't end especially strongly--but overall, the drama has a mostly credible pilot and lead actors who will probably be able take the show in compelling directions.
  16. Reviewed by: Marisa LaScala
    May 30, 2014
    70
    With the relationships among MacMillan, Clark, and Howe in the foreground, Halt and Catch Fire makes impressive use of its time period without treating it as an elbow-to-the-ribs joke.
  17. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    May 30, 2014
    70
    You don't need to speak geek to watch Halt and Catch Fire, any more than you need to know corporate law to love "Suits."
  18. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    May 30, 2014
    70
    Sunday’s premiere doesn’t give a great sense of what the show will be on a weekly basis--a business drama with a side of humanity about following one’s passion, perhaps?--though it definitely leaves viewers curious about what comes next.
  19. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    May 30, 2014
    70
    First impression is that Halt is fresh and fraught with calculated promise, but whether that's enough to catch fire remains to be seen.
  20. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    May 29, 2014
    70
    While Halt and Catch Fire captures the professional and financial excitement and mystery of those days, before we knew computers would change the world, it also takes on the complex personalities involved.
  21. Reviewed by: Melissa Maerz
    May 30, 2014
    67
    There are still quite a few good reasons to watch this flawed show. The pilot features some clever twists that I won’t ruin here. The dialogue can be highly quotable, in an engrave-this-mantra-on-your-iPad way. (“Computers aren’t the thing–they’re the thing that gets us to the thing!”) And McNairy is fantastic, simmering with quiet intensity that suggests that there’s much more to Gordon than we’re privy to in the pilot.
  22. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Jun 23, 2014
    63
    With little exception, MacMillan is the sole character given scenes that seek to bring out his antic inner life, the most memorable of which being his meltdown in an electronics store, where he tries to find a hold of his ambition in a torrent of comingled rhythms emanating from various speakers.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    May 29, 2014
    63
    The plot takes a few satisfyingly clever twists, some of them possibly even fact-based. The period touches seem well-observed, and the acting is fine throughout--with Pace a standout for the way he allows anger and doubt to be just barely visible below a calm, confident shell. Yet too often the writing lets the actors down.
  24. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    May 30, 2014
    60
    The pilot, moreover, is not easy to follow. Somewhat like “Turn,” an AMC show about spies during the American Revolution, this new series is a little too opaque at the outset.
  25. Reviewed by: Andrew Romano
    May 30, 2014
    60
    So how is the Halt and Catch Fire pilot? Surprisingly good in some ways—and fairly typical in others. Surprisingly good in some ways--and fairly typical in others.
  26. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    May 29, 2014
    60
    There are certainly enough moving parts here (pardon the expression) to merit further attention, but there’s also a feeling that the whole thing is running in mud (or at least sand).
  27. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    May 30, 2014
    50
    Halt and Catch Fire suffers from a common case of style over substance.
  28. 50
    The problem is, once you get past the initial shock of a fresh premise and start watching the pilot, the show starts to seem more formulaic, with stock characters (mostly female, alas) and what sounds like placeholder dialogue that was supposed to filled in with good stuff later but wasn't.
  29. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    May 30, 2014
    50
    Due to faulty programming, it's a mixed bag of delights and drawbacks. The performances are exceptional. The dialogue is ham-fisted and stilted. The dark, grim tone is intriguing. The pace is choppy.
  30. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    May 28, 2014
    50
    At least in the one episode sent to critics--Halt doesn't offer up complicated, three-dimensional characters. Instead, we get versions of familiar types pulled from the character storage room by the writers.
User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 3 out of 24
  1. Jun 1, 2014
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. While the comparisons to Mad Men aren't exactly there, this show seems determined to make it's own path by exploring the early days of the personal computer boom in 1980's texas and by showing these three desperate characters making it much more personal.
    Joe Macmillan seems to be the lead star with the almost Patrick Bateman-esque bad boy charisma.

    The only real fault of the show so far is rushing through some of the technical details like in the montage in Gordon Clark's house when they are taking apart an IMB computer.
    Full Review »
  2. Jun 2, 2014
    9
    It might not end up being as good as Mad Men or Breaking Bad but it sure is promising. As far as prestige dramas on TV this is the mostIt might not end up being as good as Mad Men or Breaking Bad but it sure is promising. As far as prestige dramas on TV this is the most compelling new show to come around in ages. Full Review »
  3. Aug 4, 2014
    6
    Halt and Catch Fire fails to measure up to Mad Men. It lacks the substance and longing. No one has much nostalgic affection for 5 1/4" disks,Halt and Catch Fire fails to measure up to Mad Men. It lacks the substance and longing. No one has much nostalgic affection for 5 1/4" disks, dot matrix printers and Lotus 123. Mad Men was inherently atmospheric and enigmatic, set in a trans-formative decade. H&CF attempts to trick us into believing the same. At best, the show is a crafty experiment, perhaps an executive wager: let's take a weak premise and infuse it with high production values and an ever-so-trendy gloomy narrative drag. At it's core Mad Men was driven by a melancholy angst-ridden emptiness. Halt is simply a barren riff on Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Courtney Love assembling a Compaq Portable. Full Review »