Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Little Show That Couldn't But Did

Just before sundown on Tuesday, hours before the third season finale, I see that one of my favorite shows, AMC's Halt And Catch Fire, has been renewed for a fourth and final season.  Great news, to be sure, but bizarre.  Someone at AMC must love this show, because if they made decisions based on ratings, it would have been canceled after season one.

The show is about the computer world of the 1980s.  It stars Lee Pace, Mackenzie Davis, Scoot McNairy, Kerry Bishe and Toby Huss.  Each season the basic plot and location changes as the characters try to make their way in a fast-developing industry.

The premiere episode got 1.2 million viewers.  It hasn't come close since. By the end of the first season, in fact, there were half as many people watching.  And it's been downhill since.  In the present season, they're averaging about a third of a million per episode.

Compare this to AMC's biggest hit, The Walking Dead, which started with over 5 million viewers and now can expect to start season seven with 14 or 15 million.  Then there are the class shows--which win lots of Emmys (unlike Halt And Catch Fire)--Mad Men and Breaking Bad, shows that started with about the same viewership as HACF, but ended up doubling or tripling their audiences.

But the show has gotten critical respect, and a committed (if small) fan base.  Indeed, I don't care if I'm the only one watching.  I'm just glad that AMC is making enough money that they can do things like this.

PS  In other Tuesday TV news, this year's schedule has The Middle and Brooklyn Nine-Nine going up against each other at 8 pm.  I don't watch that many sitcoms, so why do two that I try to catch have to be on at the same time?.

The last time this happened was when The Big Bang Theory went up against Community.  I decided to watch Community and catch The Big Bang Theory later.  I haven't decided which to watch in this new faceoff, but considering how it worked out last time, I assume both shows would rather I watch the other.


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