AMC's Charts a Future in the 1980s and 18th Century

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The network that found great success with period prestige drama is sticking to the past. AMC announced that it ordered two new shows to series today in conjunction with their Television Critics' Association panel and both trade on nostalgia. 

This, Philiana Ng of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, is the first time AMC "has picked up more than one series in the same cycle," and both sound intriguing. Halt & Catch Fire rides the bandwagon of shows—a lá The Americans—that force their actors to wear 80s clothing. It's a story, starring Lee Pace late of Pushing Daisies and a bunch of other stuff, of the personal computing boom in Texas' Silicon Prairie. That's not an inherently fascinating subject, so we'll have to see how compelling this turns out to be.

The title suggests that the show, which has Breaking Bad pedigree in producers Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein, might be pretty insider-y. It is, according to Screen Rant, "a term for a computing code specifically designed to destroy a machine’s CPU." Then again, prove to us you knew what "breaking bad" meant before the show. 

The other show goes way farther back historically, taking you to America in the Revolutionary War. The show focuses on a farmer, played by Jamie Bell (a.k.a. Billy Elliot all grown up), who joins up with the Culper Ring, described as an "unlikely group of spies." The show is written by Craig Silverstein of network fare like Bones and Nikita. Revolutionary War seems like pretty untrodden territory for the medium—if you discount John Adams—so whether people will want to tune in every week to watch a fight for independence is up in the air. 

The shows act as something of a changing of the guard for AMC, which also used TCA as a Breaking Bad farewell tour. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.