Luke Owen reviews Silicon Valley: The Complete First Season…
In the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success. A comedy partially inspired by Mike Judge’s own experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the late 1980s.
Remember those kids in school? The ones who were glued to computer screens instead of playing football with the “cool” kids? Of course you do. They were usually picked on, beaten up, bullied to the point of being afraid to leave their bedroom. Perhaps you were one of them. Perhaps you were one of the kids who kicked their heads in during lunch. Well, those nerdy computer kids now rule the world. Silicon Valley is about those kids. And it’s brilliantly funny.
Like The Big Bang Theory for grown-ups, Silicon Valley: The Complete First Season focuses on a young coder who has unknowingly created an algorithm that can drastically minimise the size of data, which he is pointlessly using on a music-rights website. When some programmers discover this, they take it to the Google-type company he works for who offer his $10 million for it. However, he opts to work with another upstart millionaire who offers him substantially less, but the opportunity to turn this idea into a full business along with his rag-tag group of friends.
Written and created by Mike Judge (the genius behind Bevis & Butthead and Office Space), Silicon Valley is a perfect satire of the technology boom world we live in where simple ideas turn into million-dollar juggernauts. But in the wake of people like Mark Zuckerbeg and Steve Jobs, every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks they now have the next idea that will change the world, which they can then sell to Google for an obscene amount of money. Silicon Valley cleverly parodies these people without forcing the point, but also highlight how ridiculous it is that someone people earn these deals with corporate giants just so they can hire Kid Rock to play in their back garden and brag about meetings with Barack Obama. In many ways, Silicon Valley is like a 21st Century version of Office Space, and it hits just as many nails on the head as that under-appreciated comedy gem does.
From the instance the show starts, it has that brilliant HBO vibe to it where you can say whatever you like and get away with it, which just makes the show better. It’s hilariously funny with a sharp, witty sense of humour, but doesn’t just play to the tech-crowd. So long as you have operated a computer and used the type of websites they’re spoofing, you will have a ball with Silicon Valley. It also helps that the performances from all inloved are tremendous, with Thomas Middleditch perfectly cast as the shy-but-plucky coder who has been given a new lease on life. And while the likes of Josh Brener, Kumail Nanjiani and Amanda Crew are ace in their supporting roles, it’s T.J. Miller and Martin Starr who steal the show. The former is sensational as a man who has already sold a company and claims to know everything while he is really leeching off other people’s projects and Starr (who is never not brilliant) is hilariously dry as the satanic worshipping Gilfoyle. This is also the last output for Christopher Evan Welch, who sadly passed away towards the end of the production. A real shame as his comedic timing in this show is impeccable.
With just eight episodes running at 30 minutes each, Silicon Valley is the perfect kind of show to binge watch on a lazy Saturday or Sunday. There’s so much to keep you engaged and the characters are so likeable and wacky that you will want to join them on these equally wacky adventure. Brilliant from beginning to end, Silicon Valley is must-see TV.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.