Should You Invest in HBO’s Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley (Photo: HBO)
Silicon Valley (Photo: HBO)

Mike Judge launched a new startup called Silicon Valley on HBO Sunday. Is it a killer app or does it need another beta?

Show

Silicon Valley, 10pm Sundays on HBO.

Premise

Richard Hendrix (Thomas Middleditch), a meek app developer working in the Aviato incubator in Silicon Valley, wants to find a buyer for his project Pied Piper. The app is designed to help songwriters to search for music online to detect copyright infringement. It turns out the app is able to do searches on compressed files without degrading the quality. This reduction would revolutionize the web, leading to a bidding war for the product. Richard decides to join forces with Steve Jobs-like guru Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch) to develop his own startup behind the Pied Piper app.

Pedigree

Mike Judge wrote and directed the 1999 film Office Space, which touched on some of the same story points. Judge’s television experience includes Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill. The show is an HBO project, so that will carry quite a bit of weight.

What Works

Everything? As he did with Office Space, Mike Judge plays up the stereotypes of workplace culture in a way that reads both as caricature and true-to-life. There may be a hesitation to watch for those who are not tech savvy, but many of the character interactions match the tropes of high school set films and shows, which should make Silicon Valley accessible. If you do not understand what a character is talking about, there’s a good chance the character doesn’t either, which is part of the point.

What Doesn’t Work

Shortly after receiving counteroffers for his product, Richard goes to urgent care to address a panic attack. This led to a scene with Andy Daly as a less-than-helpful doctor. Although the scene was enjoyable as a piece, it felt a little too sitcom-y within the entire episode. The show has set itself up with a rather large supporting cast, though the permanent players did not get much playtime in the pilot.

Verdict

This is the first time I have seriously considered getting HBO.1 You should be watching this.

  1. I watched the pilot on HBO’s YouTube, not through methods.  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv