SILICON VALLEY | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 30, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:51 PM, May 13, 2015

TV SERIES REVIEW

SILICON VALLEY

An honest tech sitcom. Really.

Rating: 8.5/10
Allow me to introduce Silicon Valley, HBO's sitcom revolving around the lives of a few tech geeks living together. Wait, haven't we already seen the like in The Big Bang Theory? Yes and no. 

The main story of Silicon Valley is about five young men and their tech start-up company in California's Silicon Valley. Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) and a few of his co-workers reside in Erlich Bachman's (T. J. Miller) house – termed “tech incubator” by himself – and design a music app with superb data compression called “Pied Piper.” When their boss Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), CEO of Hooli, learns about it, he proposes to buy Pied Piper. But Richard has a panic attack and decides to keep the company and build it, with the help of Hooli's rival Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch) who invests in Pied Piper whilst keeping a 5% ownership of the technology.

That's when the plot starts to pick up. Richard, the coy programmer with a history of panic attacks, Elrich, a Steve Jobs wannabe, and the bickering duo of Bertram Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh Chugtai (Kumail Nanjiani), are soon joined by Jared Dunn (Zach Woods), who leaves his prestigious marketing post at Hooli, and together they form the non-formidable team of Pied Piper, completely clueless and incompetent overall. But soon they learn that Hooli reversed Pied Piper's data compression algorithms and was trying to steal the idea, and the team steps up its game.

The series' comedy quotient takes off from the third episode, honestly. But it kept soaring, mingled with real facts regarding the world of technology and some punch lines. The show might seem a little sexist and even stereotypical to geeks, but after binge watching the entire first season overnight, I've concluded that these were intentionally put in for comedy purposes. In fact the only female lead is Amanda Crew playing Monica, Gregory's assistant.

The acting and portrayal of the respective roles came naturally, it would appear. Especially T. J. Miller's performance as a good-for-nothing opportunist with a flair for the dramatic dreaming to be the next Steve Jobs is equally praiseworthy and humorous. Though his character isn't killed off, we don't get to see Christopher Evan Welch after the fifth episode, since he actually died of lung cancer after shooting the first five episodes, and wasn't replaced.

Back to the comparison of Silicon Valley with The Big Bang Theory. While the comedy about a group of geek friends working together is something we've seen in TBBT, Silicon Valley goes a little easy on the technical terms, yet still being solely about the tech world. The two shows have different story-lines and the situational comedies are much different among the two, and better if not compared. A bonus point for not using laughter tracks. Moreover, SV is for a slightly mature audience due to language and some inappropriate scenes.

Silicon Valley, created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, is a sitcom that comedy lovers and tech-savvy people would both like. It contains themes of friendship gone sour, the tug-of-war between the richest of the richest companies, and pursuing one's dreams rather than being a sell-out - all presented in a balanced, humorous way. The first season comprises of eight episodes, 30 minutes each. So if you have some four hours to spare, and if you like sitcoms, have a go at Silicon Valley.

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