A group of computer code writers develop a revolutionary program and create a start-up company in California's Silicon Valley.
April 6, 2014
Director(s): Mike Judge, Alec Berg, Jamie Babbit, Eric Appel, Charlie McDowell, Matt Ross, Liza Johnson, Tricia Brock, Maggie Carey, Tim Roche, Clay Tarver, Cillian Robespierre, Pete Chatmon.
Writer(s): Mike Judge, John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Shawn Boxe, Andrew Law, Rachele Lynn, Carson Mell, Amy Aniobi, Dan Lyons, Meghan Pleticha, Meghan Pleticha, Alec Berg, Ron Weiner, Clay Tarver, Carrie Kemper, Dan O’Keefe, Grahm Wagner, Matteo Borghese, Jessica Gao, Rob Turbovsky, Adam Countee.
Composer: Jeff Cardoni
Starring: Thomas Middleditch, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kuumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Matt Ross.
Silicon Valley is an American television comedy series created by Mike Judge, Dave Krinsky, and John Altschuer. The series premiered on April 6, 2014 and is distributed by HBO. The series follows a group of computer code writers who create a revolutionary program and start-up company in California’s Silicon Valley. The series finale premiered on Sunday, December 8th, 2019 which wrapped up its six season run.
Executive producer and series creator Mike Judge found inspiration for the show from working at a software company as a programmer himself. The series pilot began filming on March 12, 2013 and was greenlit by HBO for a full series on May 16, 2013. The series’ top billed cast includes Thomas Middleditch in his first lead role, Josh Brener of the “The Internship,” Martin Starr of “Knocked Up,” Kumail Nanjiani of “The Big Sick,” Amanda Crew of “Sex Drive,” Zach Woods of “Ghostbusters” (2016), Matt Ross of “American Psycho,” and T.J. Miller of “Deadpool”. Although Miller was the more familiar actor of the cast ensemble, it was announced he would be exiting the series after the fourth season.
Upon its initial premiere, Silicon Valley faired extremely well with critics and audiences alike. Durning its six season run on HBO, the series achieved an average Rotten tomato critic score of 94% with an audience score of 92. Metacritic averages the series with a score of 84 and a user score of 9.0. IGN scored the overall series a nine out of 10. Although Silicon Valley may have been overshadowed by other critically acclaimed HBO series such as Game of Thrones, Veep, Barry, and Chernobyl, Silicon Valley has been able to gain a small yet solid and loyal fan base.
Spiritual Content: One of the main characters is a proud Satanist; however, very little aspects of his faith are featured in the series. Another main character follows the teachings of Buddha which is taught to him by a conman.
Violence: The series has very little violence. An occasional object is thrown across the room or a punch to the wall is shown.
Language/Crude Humor: The series is littered with foul language from F**K, B***h, A**, D**k, and many others. The subject matter of many jokes are of a vulgar or sexual nature.
Sexual Content: There is very little sexual content is Silicon Vally. There is no nudity nor are there any scenes of sexual encounters.
Drug/ Alcohol Use: Drug and alcohol use are featured throughout the series. A multitude of different characters smoke marijuana and cigarettes. Many characters drink alcohol during the entirety of the show.
Other Negative Themes: Greed, corporate back stabbing, and sabotage are featured throughout the series. Characters intentionally ruin others’ goals for their own benefits.
Positive Themes: Perseverance is a constant theme throughout the series. Characters are challenged with difficult circumstances, yet they persevere through the challenges and problems.
Silicon Vally follows a computer program coder named Richard Hendricks who has developed a revolutionary program that would change the tech world forever. Hendricks partners with a group of intelligent programers and administrative personel all with quirky personalities to create a company based on this revolutionary program. Hendricks and his staff board with a Steve Jobs wannabe, Erlich Bachman, who allows new start-up tech companies to occupy his home as a workspace for a percentage of their company. Hendricks and his team create the company “Pied Piper” in order to develop and market Hendricks’s compression algorithm software. Pied Piper’s software compresses information in order to virtually provide infinite storage. As the tech industry learns of this valuable program, a multitude of larger computer and software companies offer to buy out Pied Piper and its compression program. The Pied Piper team embarks on a journey of corporate greed, backstabbing, sabotage, and dominance. The Pied Piper team seeks to not only change the tech industry forever, but also try to survive in the process. As Bachman and the team try to survive ever-growing change in the tech industry, they inevitably create alliances and enemies. One such enemy is Gavin Belson. Belson is the CEO of a gigantic tech company comparable to Google by the name of Hoolie. Hendricks and Belson’s feud and hatred for each other become the center focus of the entirety of the series.
One of the major successes of Silicon Valley is its remarkable witty and quippy writing. The series stands out with dialogue that seemingly flows effortlessly. Although some of the tech jargon can be overdone, it lends itself to the authenticity of the industry. Though characters spew out tech language at a million miles a minute, the viewer is given a more simplified explanation to better follow the plot. The audience is never treated as ignorant, yet the series does not hold back. The scripts are sharp and the characters’ one-liners land with thunderous weight. The writers exceed at building tension. Every small joyful success is met with overwhelming and tremendous disaster. There is an expert blend of geekiness, cringey-ness, and grounded realism to make Silicon Vally a pleasure to binge.
The characters in Silicon Valley are expertly developed. Although most of them can fall into a traditional character trope such as the nerdy programmer, the fish out of water coder, the satan worshiping goth programmer, a narcissistic CEO, egotistical wannabe, and bumbling idiot, they all are easy to fall in love with. Whether you love to love them or love to hate them, we are invested in the characters’ outcomes. The performances of the actors are all extraordinary and breathe life into their characters. Its authentic performances allow the world of Silicon Valley to come to life in brilliant geeky tech glory. As the series moves forward, the characters continue to stay true to their arc, yet there is tremendous growth as well. Some characters come and go throughout the series, including one of the main cast members (T.J. Miller), which leads to some inconsistency in tone and development. The loss of T.J. Miller’s Erlich is one of the series major flaws. Silicon Vally’s success did not depend on this one character’s presence, however, the absence of Miller is felt tremendously and changes the overall atmosphere of the show.
Silicon Valley will not stand the test of time as other comedy series such as Friends or The Office, but the series definitely found a place in many people’s hearts. At first glance, Silicon Valley looks like HBO’s attempt to capitalize on the “Geek Culture” craze that has exploded in pop culture in the last decade. Unlike a series like “Big Bang Theory,” where characters many times feel unauthentic and manufactured and story and dialogue can feel like it is pandering to the geeks and nerds in the audience, Silicon Valley is a more grounded and bona fide representation of tech culture. The series as a whole is enjoyable. Some seasons are better than others. The series finds its stride in the second and third seasons, but unfortunately never rebounds after that. Characters are fun to watch as your stomach twists as they bounce in and out of turmoil. Will Silicon Valley draw you back for infinite rewatches as other popular sitcoms? No. But was it an overall fun ride? Yes.
-Inconsistent tone throughout the seasons
-Good start, lackluster ending