AMC Orders 1980s Computing Boom Show HALT & CATCH FIRE and Revolutionary War-set TURN to Series; Starz Renews BLACK SAILS for Season 2

     July 26, 2013


Some developments regarding upcoming pay-cable series have been announced.  First up, AMC has given series orders to a pair of pilots: Halt & Catch Fire and Turn.  The former takes place during the 1980s computing boom and “is told through the eyes of a visionary and an engineer prodigy whose innovations directly confront the corporate behemoths of the time.”  Halt & Catch Fire is set in Texas’ Silicon Prairie and appears to be loosely based on the rise of Apple and Microsoft.  The impressive cast is led by Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, and Kerry Bishe, with Jonathan Lisco acting as showrunner.  The series was created by Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers, with Breaking Bad’s Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein acting as executive producers.

Hit the jump for more on AMC’s new Revolutionary War show Turn and Starz’s very early renewal of Michael Bay’s pirate series Black Sails.

low-winter-sun-posterAMC has also ordered the drama Turn to series, which is based on author Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies.  Set during the summer of 1778, the show centers on a New York farmer named Abe Woodhull who “bands together with a group of childhood friends to form the Culper Ring, a group of spies who turn the tide in America’s fight for independence.”  Jamie Bell stars in the period series, with Nikita’s Craig Silverstein acting as creator/head writer and Barry Josephson onboard as executive producer.

This is the first time that AMC has ordered two new shows to series in the same cycle, but it comes at a time when AMC is facing a pretty significant turning point.  Breaking Bad ends its series run this fall, and Mad Men returns for its final season next spring, which leaves the network without two of its most popular shows.  Of course the ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead will still be running for quite a long while, but the only other scripted series on the lineup include the uneven (but improving) The Killing, the low-rated Hell on Wheels, and the new crime series Low Winter Sun, which premieres on August 11th.  Obviously the network is hoping that its three new offerings catch on, and all of them certainly look promising.  Expect Halt & Catch Fire and Turn to premiere sometime next year.

Additionally, before its first season has even aired, Starz has gone ahead and renewed the pirate drama Black Sails for a second season.  The show takes place 20 years before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel Treasure Island and centers on Captain Flint (the deceased pirate who literally put the treasure in Treasure Island) and a young Long John Silver as they fight for the defense of notorious criminal haven New Providence Island.  Season one premieres this coming January, but Starz announced today that production on the 10-episode second season will begin this November in Cape Town, South Africa under the tutelage of showrunner Jonathan Steinberg and executive producer Robert Levine.