It’s been a while since I didn’t spot a piece of vintage code or computer in a movie or series. I will fix that now, with S1:E2 – Rightful Place – of the TV miniseries Under the Banner of Heaven. This new series produced by FX – available on Hulu – is about a gruesome double murder involving a Mormon community, three siblings, and their families. I won’t talk more about the plot for two obvious reasons. First, it is too early into the narrative to have anything meaningful to share. Second, even if I had something to share, I would not spoil it for you. One thing is sure, the cast is solid, and the show is entertaining: Andrew Garfield (Detective Jeb Pyre), Sam Worthington (Ron Lafferty), and Daisy Edgar-Jones (Brenda). Dustin Lance Black created the series based on Jon Krakauer‘s eponymous book.
The story takes place in 1984 in Utah. As such, it is a good window into the ‘80s tech. And for sure, we can spot our first two computers of the series. I have the weakness to believe that there will be no more, but who knows, and I may be positively surprised. Regardless, one of the computers is a venerable Commodore PET.Certainly a model 8032. It thrones in the police station and displays a few lines of information. I am wondering where the mass storage is? Maybe it is used as a dumb terminal? Who knows? And is that the password on that Post-It?
But where is the second computer? It is hiding in the same police department, on a desk just a few feet away. It is a Hewlett-Packard HP-85B. We can recognize its tape drive and its colored keys. Where the PET makes sense, what is the role of an HP-85? It doesn’t make sense to have a scientific computer outside of a lab. I hope we will see more action around it. But for now, nice try avoiding our vigilance. You’ve been spotted!