Smart? Check. Character driven? Check. Female leads (yes, plural) who pass the Bechdel test? Check. Wait, what?
Yes, folks, it’s real. AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire (HACT) is the show you should be watching right now.
The show quickly moved from being about 2 guys and their volatile and brilliant female coder building a laptop before laptops were a thing to a show about two women running their own startup internet company in the mid-1980’s.
The first idea was a really good show, but the evolved premise is much more compelling. HACT is one of the rare shows that starts strong and fulfills on its promise, getting better with each season.
Season 3 is airing now on Tuesday nights on AMC, and you can catch up on AMC.com or on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, or XBox. You don’t need to see the first two seasons to enjoy the current season, but if you enjoy a binge–and who doesn’t, really?–you can can catch up on previous seasons at the above sites or on Netflix.
In addition to being good television–smart, consistent, coherent, character rich, well-developed–HACT is also important television. TV shows about women are rare. TV shows about self-sufficient women with an identity outside of their husband or boyfriend are practically non-existent.
Donna (Kerry Bishé), one of the show’s leads, has a husband and two daughters. Cameron (Mackenzie Davis), the other lead, has boyfriend…problems, mostly. So they are like most women, and like most women, there is more to them than that.
They also are smart with computers and have great ideas for the wild west that is the internet in the 80s. They have business ideas and little experience. They need help sometimes. They mess up sometimes. They make really horrible, heartbreaking choices sometimes. All the parts of their lives get jumbled together.
They are not one thing.
This show gives its female characters a degree of development and complexity that is not often seen. That is important. That is why you need to watch this show now.