Hey, AMC: Quit screwing around and renew ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

On Friday, AMC came to press tour and announced renewals for a whole bunch of shows that are not “Halt and Catch Fire.”

This is unacceptable.

Sure, for much of it its first season, “Halt” was a collection of interesting performances and ideas in search of a TV show worth containing them all. But by the time it started this second season, the show about the dawn of the computer age had given itself a massive system upgrade, and is now one of the very best dramas in all of television, let alone on AMC. There was a moment in tonight’s season finale – a conversation on an airplane between spouses Donna (Kerry Bishé) and Gordon (Scoot McNairy) that had a much deeper meaning for her than for him – that hit me as hard as anything I’ve seen in a good long time, and it was just one spectacular scene among many this season.

As was the case at this time last year, the show’s future is up in the air. AMC waited a few weeks after that finale to order a new season, and where press tour would have been an easy time to proudly announce a season 3, that didn’t happen.

AMC’s not in the business of charity, but I’d like to think that having two different “Walking Dead” shows, not to mention a successful (and terrific in its own right) “Breaking Bad” spin-off gives the channel license to keep around a less popular show that continues the tradition of quality started with Don Draper and Walter White.

But while we wait, I emailed the show’s creators, Christopher Cantwell and Christopher C. Rogers, some questions about the season finale, season 2 as a whole, and their hopes for the series’ future, all coming up just as soon as I write in my stress journal…

Both seasons ended with the launch of new business ventures, in ways that could have been the set-up for a new season or a reasonable end point for the show, and both seasons have ended in the real world with your future very much up in the air. How did you approach these finales in terms of closure, or the lack thereof, particularly this year when you had a better sense of what your audience was and what AMC’s expectations were?

Christopher C. Rogers: As writers we believe in playing fair with the audience and that one of our responsibilities as storytellers is to entertain. For us, that has always entailed providing some degree of closure toward the end of each season, while at the same time suggesting in that Sopranos way that life continues, messy and uncaring, etc. We also like to use each finale to suggest a “big idea” for where the story might go next. At the end of Season 1 that idea was Mutiny, at the end of Season 2 it is California.