I’m of the opinion that TV has never been better than it is just now, however by TV I mean TV drama because TV comedy currently is at an all-time low. I can’t think of many comedies that I’d class as being very good and I have often wondered why cable stations have generally stayed away from making comedies, however my friends (or they are in my head anyway) over at HBO seem to be noticing that gap in the market and have put out Silicon Valley which is easily the best new comedy of the year.
So you’ve sort of guesses where this is going then I imagine, and good for you, although I wasn’t very subtle in my opening paragraph. Unlike your shity network comedies Silicon Valley actually has a proper story arc, so there will be some spoilers included.
Silicon Valley is essentially a show about a nerdy guy who writes a great algorithm code which becomes the centre of a bidding war between two billionaires where he is offered $10 million or $200k for 5% of his company which could be worth billions in the future. Now personally I’d have taken the $10 million and shipped myself off to the Bahamas but I guess that wouldn’t have made a very good show, so he took the $200k and all the stress which is involved. The show pretty much centres around the race to be the first one to released their algorithm software as Richard (the main guy) goes against the might of his ex-boss’ ($10m guy) company Hooli. That is essentially the emphasis of the show and it all builds towards the final two episodes which focus on a tech convention.
What I love about Silicon Valley is that it is effortlessly funny in a manner where it doesn’t feel like the jokes are forced. You watch Silicon Valley and it feels like you could be watching genuine people, in a genuine situation. When Richard or Jared act awkward you feel like they are doing it in a natural manner, rather than it being forced. When Elrich shows his arrogant bravado you buy it because despite being a weird ginger guy with god awful facial hair you see people like that all the time. The characters have been well written and well developed and although people like Dinesh and Gilfoyle could’ve have got more screen time they were still effective in their comedy duo role.
One of the best things about the series was Christopher Evan Welch as an eccentric billionaire who gave Richard the $200k investment. He was an absolute standout but missed the last few episodes because sadly he died from cancer and the show suffered from it. I totally understand why they didn’t reshoot his scenes because he was outstanding but I wonder if they will live to regret the decision because they have now lost a major character that was fairly vital to the story.
Don’t get me wrong I really liked Silicon Valley; it is sort of what the Big Bang Theory would be like if the Big Bang Theory was at all relevant to the culture which they portray and was also funny but it wasn’t perfect. I’m not really sure what the point of Big Head was, he sort of seemed like he was going to be important only for his character to seemingly be dropped as the season progressed. The other major sticking point for me was the incredibly forced sexual tension between Richard and Monica. Yes I don’t mind if he has sexual tension in regards to her but I think you’re stretching it a bit when you send it the other way. Maybe she’s been told to do so to keep an eye on him sort of thing but much like Stretch Armstrong there is only so far you can stretch things before their arms fall off. The final area of annoyance was how despite their whole world crashing down after his ex-boss produced a better version of their software, Richard managed to re-write his code (I also get my best ideas after long conversations about cocks) and create something twice as good in one night which blows everyone away. I get it because the story is dead in the water if he doesn’t do it and succeed but it seemed a tad forced.
I’ve already professed my love for HBO and cable providers in general but I’m hoping that shows like Silicon Valley, Girls and Episodes are the beginning of a comedy TV revolution. I think that the standard 30 minute comedy where we watch 24 episodes in a season and each episode makes almost no difference to the one which proceeded it should be a thing of the past, replaced with 30 minute comedies which actually contain a storyline which is vital to the season and series as a whole, where the story has progressions and actions have consequences and best of all I’m not told when to laugh by an obnoxious laugh track. Silicon Valley isn’t the first of these comedies but it is hopefully part of the start of a trend which will deliver us the viewing public our well-deserved quality comedy series’ which we have been gagging for, for a number of years now.
Silicon Valley is one of the brightest comedies to come out in years; I’d say it’s fairly realistic (or as realistic as TV ever gets), it’s funny and has likable characters, yes there are issues with the writers forcing certain issues to try and drive the plot in a direction they desire but the show has shown vast potential and will hopefully grow in the seasons to come. Silicon Valley deserves the plaudits it is receiving.
So what did you think of Silicon Valley’s first season? Did you love it? Hate it? Are you still wondering what a Hooli is? Leave a comment and let everyone know. Plus you can find all my other work at bm23 tv reviews or by checking out the Facebook and Twitter pages.