Let’s start with the unexpected. AMC has gone ahead and renewed freshman series Halt And Catch Fire for a second season. Despite middling ratings and buzz, the 80s period drama about the PC Revolution will return next year. Star Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies) provided the initial draw and after a slow build the show became fun summer fare with its knack for capturing the exciting, experimental era it’s set in. From the technological jargon to the music, HCF eventually found its creative streak and has me yearning to see more in a second season. Props to Pace’s costars Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, and Kerry Bishé for their emotionally grounded performances that made it easy to get invested.
“This is a show about invention, experimentation and the inherent risks in trying to break new ground — themes that really resonate with us as a network and attracted a passionate audience,” said AMC president Charlie Collier. “We have a history of demonstrating patience through the early seasons of new shows, betting on talent and building audience over time. We see that opportunity here and look forward to a second season of Halt and Catch Fire from creators Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, and showrunner Jonathan Lisco.”
Elsewhere, FX renewed Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse’s vampire horror fest The Strain and Showtime is bringing back Masters of Sex and Ray Donovan for a third season. No surprise here, really. Though I’m not the loudest Strain supporter (I have issues with the writing and acting) it’s the type of summer fare that just makes sense. As for Masters of Sex, this is the show that just keeps on giving. This season’s bottle episode “Fight” might be the series best thus far featuring phenomenal performances by stars Martin Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
“We’ve never had any doubts about The Strain,” said FX Networks head John Landgraf. “It is thrilling when you have a show that is a creative and commercial hit, which is a rare accomplishment in this increasingly crowded marketplace. We look forward having it on FX for as long as Carlton, Guillermo and Chuck Hogan need to tell this epic tale.” Added del Toro: “I am thrilled! Another season to spread the virus! Working with Carlton, Chuck and FX has been immensely rewarding and we have such sights to unveil in the upcoming episodes — the blood hits the fan on this one, mankind becomes an endangered species.” Added Cuse: “I am grateful for all the blood, sweat and tears (but mostly blood) given to the project by all involved, and I could not be more excited to continue telling this epic story.”
“Both Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex are quintessentially Showtime: bold, provocative, premium television with production values at the top of the food chain,” said Showtime president David Nevins. “These acclaimed shows are filled with complex and interesting characters and settings that will no doubt give audiences compelling television to invest in for seasons to come.”