must watch TV: Rectify and Halt and Catch Fire

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Rectify

Instant love on this series. The writing, direction, the acting all near-perfection. What happens when you’re exonerated from Death Row after 19 years? At 17, Daniel Holden [Aden Young] got convicted of raping and choking to death his then girlfriend. He’s since been on death row for 19 years. He survived that time through extensive reading and meditation. His sister’s been fighting for him through every legal recourse possible. His calm mother [J. Smith-Cameron] is always there for him. Holden finds that in this small town in Georgia many things have changed while many things remain the same. He returns home to the devoted mother and sister [Abigail Spencer], a stepfather, step-brother who doesn’t like or trust him and a teenaged half-brother.

It’s an ambitious show with a fantastic premise. Did Daniel commit the rape and murder that put him in prison? Apparently he was on shrooms and can’t remember anything from that night. The show keeps it ambiguous so far. Sometimes it seems impossible other times perhaps he could’ve done it. Female writers and directors added to the mix make this a spectacular, provocative show.

halt and catch fire

Halt and Catch Fire

Season one just finished but I DVR’ed the entire series. I’ve now watched four episodes. To be honest, I wanted to make sure it made it to the end. I’m a fan of Lee Pace. I adored Pushing Daisies. It’s fantastic to see him play an entirely different, darker character here. He’s Joe MacMillan a former IBM sales guy and kinda hot-shot at least in his head. It’s the 80s and a small computer company in Texas aims to build a personal computer to compete with IBM. Mackenzie Davis, in a bleach blonde pixie cut, plays genius college dropout Cameron Howe. She’s anti-establishment, rebellious and young. Then there’s the family man with lingering dreams Gordon Clark played with just the right reluctance by Scoot McNairy [Touchy Feely]. Tons of promise here. Bonus for female directors.

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