HBO has had an interesting problem for some time in the Game of Thrones era of their original programming. They’ve gone from being the leader of the pack in terms of quality programming to having the field dictate the pace. For a channel that unleashed The Sopranos and The Wire, changing the course of modern television in the process, the high water mark of the channel outside of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” adaptation is fairly pedestrian for the most part.
Shows on HBO will always be compared to the greatness of the channel’s past; The Wire and The Sopranos are still discussed in depth as among the very best shows television has ever produced. Entourage had such an audience that a poorly received film was put into production. Sex and the City wound up with two massively popular films after being one of the first premium channel television shows to cater to a male audience. It’s in this vein that Silicon Valley has managed to find a similar mark.
Silicon Valley has transported the Entourage formula and personality archetypes to a new setting, of the Bay Area and the tech hub that is Silicon Valley, in one of television’s best under the radar comedies.
It’s a simple premise. Richard (Thomas Middleditch) had a difficult choice. He can either sell it to his current employer, a stand in for Google, or strike out on his own to strive for the great internet tech dream. Striking out on his own with Pied Piper, the show follows him and his crew of miscreants as they try to turn Pied Piper from just another internet startup into a billion dollar business.
The show works because it takes the essence of Entourage and channels it into a new format. It’s about the nature of friendship when it’s mixed with business, only this time it’s not the glitz of Hollywood but the technical wonderland that is the Bay Area. And that’s why the show works; Mike Judge has channeled Doug Elin’s formula and thrown his own spin on it.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s also exceptionally cast as well. The cast is mainly comprised of character actors who’ve had small parts in bigger projects over the years but they mesh well together here. It doesn’t hurt that the writing is exceptional, as well, but part of what drives the show to such quality comedic heights is that it has the exact right cast.
Silicon Valley may not have the hype that Game of Thrones does, nor the audience, but it’s the best thing going on HBO right now.
There are six audio commentaries, some deleted scenes and an EPK piece on the film’s art and science.
HBO presents Silicon Valley. Starring T.J Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr. Run Time: 360 minutes Not rated. Released on DVD: 4.19.2016
Tags: Martin Starr, Silicon Valley, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch