HBO Silicon Valley, HBO Silicon Valley Review, Mike Judge, Mike Judge Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley Review, Silicon Valley Show, Silicon Valley Show Review, Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller, Zach Woods
Sunday always marks the end of the weekend, and this Sunday marks the end of the first season of HBO’s new comedy series “Silicon Valley“. The Mike Judge created show, about a group of techie’s building a potential billion dollar business, has become one of my favorites. The writing is great, the cast delivers and it succeeds in being a light-hearted and hilarious show that is surprisingly relate-able. Judge, the man behind “King of the Hill”, “Beavis and Butthead” and the cult favorite “Office Space” applies his similar stamp to this show. He has a sort of dry, unassuming humor that is hilarious because it’s so understated. And he always manages to make us understand his characters, though we might not all be the most tech-friendly people watching, the writers do a great job of humanizing situations so we can see it from their unique perspectives. The actors also do a impressive job of keeping the characters real and not caricatures of what we’d think programming guys were like. It’s a show that has so much going for it, but isn’t overt in showing off it’s greatness.
The series started with main character Richard Hendriks, played with great finesse by Thomas Middleditch, a lowly employee at Google-like company Huli. He has invented a revolutionary compression code as part of a bigger website he hopes to kick off. He doesn’t even realize that the code alone has billion-dollar potential until he is faced with the decision to sell it to Huli or build the company with the help of billionaire and eccentric genius Peter Gregory. With the help of his roommates, he decides to build the company, named Pied Piper, and each episode we get to see the progression of the company, one issue at a time. From finding a name for the company, coming up with a logo, pitching the technology, and finally getting a demonstration ready for a TechCrunch expo, which concludes tonight on the Season Finale.
Each episode, and each new challenge, is written to perfection. The writers do an excellent job of staying true to the jargon, but managing to write dialogue that more or less simplifies the information so we viewers understand the severity of each situation. The writers on “Silicon” offer one of the best things about creative writing, allowing you to see life from a different perspective and giving you a better understanding of certain types of people and their problems.
Of course the show couldn’t succeed if the cast didn’t do their job in bringing these characters to life. Luckily everyone in the cast is excellent at being true to the people they are asked to portray. Middleditch is great at playing the often anxious Richard with his nervous mannerisms and ticks, also there is a subtle growth of confidence that could be difficult to pull of, but Middleditch does this effortlessly, making this character real and one you want to root for. On the opposite spectrum, there is the overly confident Erlich played with so stand-out humor by T.J. Miller who gives just the right level of obnoxiousness and arrogance, with a hint of insecurity and regret within the character. We the viewers can see through Erlich’s bravado and end up liking him for it. For whatever reason Zach Woods as Jared (err Donald) is my favorite character, he’s the push-over of the group and seems to have embraced it as he struggles to take control as the business consultant for the building company. There is something so lovable and adorable that Woods brings to this otherwise pathetic character that just makes me so sympathetic to him. Rounding out the cast is the un-spoken love affair between roommates Bertram and Denish (Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani) that offer some great gags and one-liners, but even these two maintain a realism to the characters, that could be used as just slap-sticky comic relief under the writing of a less skilled staff.
Christopher Evan Welch, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory with an amazing subtlety, passed away in December 2013 so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next season (and we’re crossing our fingers that it gets picked up), but the show is so well done that as Pied Piper continues to grow, there’s an infinite amount of situations this crew can get into. And with great writers, great acting and a great feel overall I will definitely be there to see how their story plays out.