This is a fine show you should probably watch, but you don't for the same reason you don't read DeVries (above), because it's not outlandish enough. It's not about the edges of society, it's about the edges of individuals. It is set against the backdrop of the earlier days computer revolution -- let's hear it for punk rock and Commodore 64! -- in Austin, but despite the period-piece positioning, it's the drama within that counts.
The single best thing about Halt and Catch Fire is that it is personal. As I pointed out above we are not looking at a dark mirror into society's ills. We are not looking back twenty-five years and sneering at the backwards fools who were so insufficiently progressive. In less talented hands this turns into a lurid soap opera of cartoon corporate evil or another incessant lecture on the moral horrors of previous decades ala The Knick or Masters of Sex. The settings and events of Halt and Catch Fire are in the service of the characters, not the reverse. That alone puts it in the top 1%.
There are four main characters in Halt and Catch Fire all have the common trait of a capacity and passion for technological achievement. The difference comes in how that influences their personalities. There is Joe, a Steve Jobs-ian salesman with an almost sociopathic obsession with changing the world. Cameron, an over-the-top brilliant programmer who has no interest in doing anything if it is not in defiance of someone else. Gordon, a hardware genius, carries a low burning dissatisfaction in that he has never put together a grand and glorious romantic vision and fears that he remains an underappreciated nerd, though it is mostly his own self-image. Donna, the most complex character, is a synthesizer and personalizer, she alone sees the real human effect of technology and, as such, is the one really ahead of her time, but that ability also causes her to have the clearest perspective on the costs of the other's obsessions and with her own compromises to deal with them.
The first season carried a few good episodes and finished strong. This second season really stepped up the game as all the characters tried to break out of their modes, but with only partial success and whatever gains they made had enormous costs. Although it may not be at the level of a Mad Men, Halt and Catch Fire is a quality drama of humanity, so naturally its renewal for a third season is dubious. Given the state of TV it would be a big loss. But let's face it, the best way to get a loyal following is to target a demographic and use your drama to make them feel just and righteous in their beliefs (see Aaron Sorkin).
The first season could get bogged down early, but this second season has kept things clipping along. Vibrant scenes at a showstring '80s gaming startup are a delight. The plotting of how the four characters are kept interacting is quite clever and involves early attempts at tech concepts like time-sharing and viruses and social apps. Humor is peppered in at appropriate times and in appropriate quantity. Just flat out good quality drama.
I made the comparison to Mad Men and suggested you can think of Halt and Catch Fire as a lesser version of that. That raises the question of why I think it is lesser, and I'm not sure I can pinpoint it. Honestly, it could be Lee Pace as Joe. I've never really warmed to his brand of intensity and his sales pitches seem too slimy to me, versus the chilling sauve of a Don Draper. Beyond that I don't know. It's possible that the characters are not quite as complex or fleshed out, but I can't really say why I think that other than that I don't feel as connected to them as the Sterling Cooper crowd.. It could also be the sense that all these folks are going to sort themselves out and have happy endings eventually, which was not the case with Mad Men, lends it a more prosaic sense, but again I don't know why I think that. All this leaves the door open to the possibility that you won't find it lesser at all.
Do the world a favor and binge it. Maybe we can get a third season out of AMC that way. You'll be entertained and I'll be grateful.