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The definition is in the opening sequence: Halt and Catch Fire is "an early computer command that sent a machine into a race condition, forcing all instructions to compete for superiority at once. Control of the computer could not be regained." Now it takes on another meaning: It's AMC's most exciting new show of the year, the network's great hope now that Breaking Bad is over and Mad Men on its way out.
In an age where everyone watches their favorite '90s movies on their iPads, listens to '70s rock on their wireless headphones, and uses a GPS to get them back home, AMC's newest series, Halt and Catch Fire fits right in. It's perfectly nostalgic. The '80s-set story follows the quest of Don-Draper-esque entrepreneur Joe Mac Millan (Lee Pace), frustrated engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), and rebellious prodigy Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis)—not unlike Angelina Jolie in Hackers—to cash in on the personal computing boom. With the help of a reluctant corporate bigshot John Bosworth (Toby Huss) and the wary support of Clark's wife Donna (Kerry Bishe), the trio attempt to top IBM.
For anyone jaded by technology, the series is a refreshing look into an era we've taken for granted, an era that created whatever you're reading this on right now. Soundtracked by '80s hits, the show is dressed in neon and riddled with awful haircuts and bad suits, yet you can't look away. Eye candy and ear candy abound. The clever dialogue, the nerd words you can't understand, and all the distinct characters will pull you right in. Just like the technology the trio seek out to create, it's addictive.
Before you tune into the show's premiere tonight at 10 p.m., get to know the cast. Complex got a chance to wax nostalgic with Pace, McNairy, Davis, Bishe, and Huss as each of them recounted the first time technology really impacted their lives.
As told to Tara Aquino (@t_akino)
[Ed note: This article originally appeared as part of Complex Pop Culture's SXSW coverage.]