March 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm #314051
Premiere date: Apr 6, 2014
When? Air Time: 10:00 PM
First reviews are very enthusiastic.
Discuss.March 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm #314053
I’m intrigued. At first glance, I thought it would be boring but it looks good. I’ll give it a shot.March 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm #314054
I’ll check it out, because HBO almost never disappoints. I can’t say the plot interests me but I’m wiling to suspend my doubt.March 30, 2014 at 5:53 pm #314055
The premiere of Silicon Valley is a week away, but the sitcom about young software developers is already earning rave
reviews. In addition to naming it HBO’s
best comedy in years, one that is “flat-out brilliant” and “consistently
funny,” Tim Goodman’s review for The Hollywood Reporter effusively
discusses the series’ “mass-appeal prospects” and says that “Silicon Valley”
has the potential to become “HBO’s first bona-fide, broad-based comedy hit.” Brian Lowry of Variety echoes that praise, writing that “HBO has its most fully
realized and potentially commercial player within [the comedy] genre in some
The critical darling Louie and
the populist The Big Bang Theory
seemed to pose viable threats to Modern
Family last year, but the former proved too niche and dramatic, while the
latter was broad and old-fashioned. These
early reviews are painting Silicon Valley
as the perfect antidote to Modern Family
fatigue. It seems that the best is yet
Mike Judge, known for cult classic film Office Space and MTV’s animated Beavis
and Butt-Head, co-created the show and serves as head writer and lead
director. He previously shared the Emmy
for Outstanding Animated Program for King
of the Hill, which he also co-created. Other executive producers include EGOT winner Scott
Rudin and frequent Larry David collaborator Alec Berg, a five-time Emmy
nominee. Judge is a likely contender for
co-writing and directing the pilot, as six of the last ten winners for comedy
directing have been pilots; half as many won for writing. HBO is famous for its savvy Emmy campaigns
and will be sure to put up a good one for Silicon
Valley, especially since it has not won best comedy since 2001 for Sex and the City, which was also its
Silicon Valley has
hundred-to-one odds at Gold Derby right now in every category, but that will
change once its existence is publicized.
There are only two months left in the Emmy eligibility cycle for the
2013–2014 season, but do not think that Silicon
Valley is too-little-too-late: April is the same month that HBO launched Game of Thrones in 2011 and Veep in 2012. The premium cable network is now ensuring a
strong sampling for Silicon Valley by
sandwiching its premiere on April 6th at ten o’clock between those
two established hits. Silicon Valley will be everywhere in a
few weeks when its Nielsen ratings are scrutinized and its status as the next
great sitcom is debated.
The acting ensemble is filled to the brim with vaguely recognizable
faces—an asset when competing for the best casting Emmy, which favors new
series. Thomas Middleditch is the
series’ lead actor and “demonstrates a sly range,” according to Joanne Ostrow
of The Denver Post. Variety
says that he “seems to be channeling a young Gene Wilder from The Producers,” alluding to a role that
garnered an Academy Award nomination.
The supporting cast includes Christopher Evan Welch who passed away
during filming, the only actress among the eight-strong regular cast Amanda
Crew, Zach Woods who gives the “personal favorite” performance of Indiewire critic Alison
Willmore and Martin Starr, who delivers the trailer’s
climactic line: “What do we do? All those
YouPorn ones and zeroes streaming directly to your shitty little smartphone,
every dipshit who shits his pants if he can’t get Skrillex in under twelve
seconds—it’s not magic; it’s talent and sweat.
That’s what the fvck we do.”March 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm #314056
Specially loved the doctor appointment scene, that was hillarious.March 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm #314057
Looking forward to giving this a try.April 1, 2014 at 8:15 am #314058
Hollywood Reporter’s positive review:
Valley: TV Review
1:47 PM PDT 3/10/2014 by Tim Goodman
Bottom Line: Mike Judge has created a series that perfectly spoofs the tech
industry, nerds, visionaries, geek-status and what it means to make a lot of
money (or not).
World premiere held at SXSW; premieres April 6, 10 p.m.,
Mike Judge, John Altschuler, and Dave Krinksy
Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Kumail
Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Josh Brener, Christopher Evan Welch, Amanda Crew, Matt
finds its best and funniest full-on comedy in years with this Mike Judge
creation, and it may even tap into that most elusive thing—a wide audience.
It’s not exactly clear whether HBO ever intended to
create a comedy brand wrapped around super creative, not very popular niche
shows. It’s probably more likely that it wanted two or four other shows in the
vein of Sex and the City—or even Entourage. Hell, at this point, it might
even go for another Curb Your Enthusiasm
(or, barring that, just a firm commitment from Larry David to make another season of Curb).
But reputations firm up over time by repetition and
expectations. HBO is no stranger to shows like Bored to Death, Family Tree,
Flight of the Conchords, Eastbound & Down, Enlightened, Hello Ladies, and the recently renewed but barely seen Getting On, which wasn’t exactly a
barn-burner in the ratings. None of those comedies were. Even Girls, its best half-hour and certainly
its most written about series, is more of a dramedy and isn’t a gigantic
ratings magnet. Veep, which is
hilarious and has confidently found its stride in season two, may eventually
break out but doesn’t seem to have the mass-appeal prospects of the Silicon Valley premise.
Which makes Silicon
Valley stand out all the more. The Mike
Judge-created series about life in modern-day Silicon Valley is,
immediately, HBO’s funniest series and quite possibly the most likely to lure a
large audience. The series had its world premiere at the SXSW festival Monday,
but it will premiere for everybody else on April 6 almost fully formed. The
pilot is flat-out brilliant, and both the concept and target are broad. There’s
material to mine here for ages and it has the ability—no guarantees, of course—to
be HBO’s first bona-fide, broad-based comedy hit.
Nerds and geeks rule the comedy world, and almost
everybody is either a slave to or an acolyte of technology, which is where Silicon Valley mines its humor.
Judge (Office Space,
Beavis & Butt-head, King of the Hill) worked as an engineer
in Silicon Valley in the late ’80s, so he has some understanding of the
culture. But the series is very much of the current age, skewering Google-like
companies and tiny start-ups with equal fervor. No angel investor or wannabe
hacker is spared the knife that Judge and co-creators John Altschuler and Dave
Krinsky slash around with reckless abandon.
Whether employees are taking “bike meetings” or
going to voluntary company retreats that are clearly not voluntary, Judge,
Altschuler, and Krinsky are there to satirize the culture of tech, nerdism,
geek-speak, and the lust for zeros and ones that go faster and can be compacted
smaller each year. Or month.
The series focuses on Richard (Thomas Middleditch; Search
Party, The Office) who works at
Hooli, a tech company run by Gavin Belson (Matt
Ross; Magic City, Big Love), who never lets a moment pass
when that moment could be selling himself to the world as a rich do-gooder.
Skewering tech bosses who are so filthy rich they can only justify it by saying
their products are “making the world a better place” is just one of
the spot-on jokes that Silicon Valley
Richard is painfully shy, socially awkward, and gets
grief from others higher on the nerd totem pole. He has developed, on the side,
a product called Pied Piper that allows musicians to see if their music and
lyrics have been used before by others. It’s not a killer app but, at the
center of it, Richard has created a killer algorithm that sets a new, faster,
and smaller-sized standard. It could be worth billions.
That gets Belson bidding for it, but also opens up the
eyes of eccentric billionaire venture capitalist Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch; The Master, Vicky Cristina Barcelona—who sadly died during filming of the
series in December 2013), who Richard met at—wait for it—a TED talk. Both power
players have different approaches. Belson quickly goes from an initial offer of
$600,000 and a promotion to, in escalating moments of desperation, $10 million.
Gregory offers only $250,000 and 5 percent of the company—but Richard would
still own the rest of the company. Sell out and lose control or build your
dream and take your chances? It’s the question Richard involuntarily throws up
Of course, Richard is already down 10 percent to Erlich (T.J. Miller), who became a millionaire
by selling his own much lamer idea and who now hosts a Hacker Hostel—his home,
essentially, to programmers who want to live there for free and develop things
in exchange for 10 percent of whatever company they build or sell.
Miller is the pop-out performer on Silicon Valley because he gets so many great lines. But others are
equally strong in different ways, including fellow incubator house guests as
Richard’s best friend Big Head (Josh
Brener, Glory Daze), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani, Portlandia) and Gilfoyle (Martin
Starr, Freaks and Geeks). Joining
them is Belson’s former head of business development, Jared (Zach Woods; In the Loop, The Office),
another nerdy, nervous type who thinks Richard is a hero for turning down the
$10 million, even if that decision is still making Richard throw up. (Amanda Crew has a role as Gregory’s
assistant that will hopefully grow, since Silicon
Valley lacks a strong female presence.)
Now that Richard knows he’s got a dream product, he needs
to make it happen with the relatively paltry money Gregory has invested. Not
selling out while living in Palo Alto, Calif., and commuting to San Jose,
Calif.? Almost impossible. But the dream is there for the taking.
Judge and company milk innumerable hilarious moments from
the tech world in the pilot (listing them would only ruin it for you), and
though Silicon Valley takes a slight
dip in the second episode, it moves skyward again in the third episode and
beyond. Again, this series needs no time to find its legs. Its premiere is
confident, spot-on, searingly funny and uncommonly insightful.
Are some of the tech topics and habits of that environ
too easy to spoof? Sure. But even when you see a good joke coming, it’s often
funnier than you expected. And Silicon
Valley has countless moments in the first handful of episodes where sharp,
satirical stabs at the holier-than-thou, we’ve-inherited-the-world, POV of the
real Silicon Valley are almost too close to the funny bone.
That’s a great sign—it means Judge and fellow creators
know who we are, as users of technology. They know what we love and hate, what
we use all the time, when we use social media and why that’s inherently funny
or helpful (to, say, a firm wanting to capitalize on that information).
Mostly though, Silicon
Valley has a strong cast that can pull off all kinds of comedy. It has tech
lust, which so many of us swim in, for a starting point. And it has
consistently funny writing. It’s the best, most wide-appeal show that HBO has
had in ages. Now the channel will just need to find out if any of the people it
will appeal to are subscribers.
April 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm #314059
Entertainment Weekly’s review:
by Karen Valby on Mar 26, 2014
EW’s GRADE: A-
Start Date: Apr 06, 2014; Genre: Comedy; With: Thomas
Middleditch; Network: HBO
There’s a great scene in Mike Judge’s 1999 cult classic Office Space in which a couple of
working stiffs—understimulated, put-upon cubicle dwellers—kick the stuffing out
of a printer while Geto Boys blasts in the background. The equally unlikely,
similarly alienated heroes of Judge’s terrific new comedy Silicon Valley are
essentially their modern-day flip side—but with sharper minds and insane
earning potential. Welcome to a world where Kid Rock performs at a corporate
event as uninterested nerds sip test tubes of $200-a-quart liquid shrimp and
any female guest above a 7 has been paid to be there.
The anchor of the series is the easily overwhelmed
Richard (played with beautiful awkwardness by Thomas Middleditch), who while
living in a start-up incubator house with fellow coders unwittingly develops a
game-changing compression algorithm. (I don’t know what that is, which is why
I’ll never get a chance to shoot shrimp juice.) The poor boy, once just a cog
in a Google-like tech company called Hooli, must decide whether to sell his
invention for $10 million to his megalomaniacal boss Gavin Belson or steer his
own ship with $200,000 in seed money from billionaire venture capitalist Peter
Richard’s potential mentors are among the show’s many
pleasures. Belson (Matt Ross) is the type of blowhard who believes his own
self-righteous corporate prattle such as ”We can only achieve greatness if
first we achieve goodness.” Belson’s nemesis is Gregory (Christopher Evan
Welch), a genius screwball whose flat, monotone voice makes him sound like a
drowsy child just arisen from a nap.
There’s so much money on the table and cultural absurdity
to lampoon in this dotcom world. In one gem of a scene, Belson stands next to
his spiritual adviser looking disdainfully down from his office window: ”They
always travel in groups of five, these programmers. There’s always a tall,
skinny white guy; short, skinny Asian guy; fat guy with a ponytail; some guy
with crazy facial hair; and then an East Indian guy. It’s like they trade guys
until they all have the right group.” His guru nods approvingly. ”You clearly
have a great understanding of humanity.”
But, as in Office
Space, the heart of the show is watching Richard and his friends struggle
to make sense of themselves and their purpose. They’re good, weird guys you
want to hang out with. My one wish is for some female characters to be as
carefully and oddly drawn. We have Gregory’s head of operations, Monica (Amanda
Crew), who is a perfectly lovely voice of reason but who fails to serve a story
purpose other than being ready for someone to fall in love with her. Richard
would be lucky to have her, but we deserve better.
April 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm #314060
Can this possibly be bad? I don’t see how. Veep + Silicon Valley is going to be such a great combo.April 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm #314061
The AV Club gave the first five episodes a “B” grade. They have also went ahead and reviewed three episodes of Game of Thrones (A-) and five episodes of Veep (A-).
The comparisons with Entourage are starting to worry me, but we won’t have to wait too long to find out if they are accurate. Although, there should be a disclaimer next to Todd VanDerWerff reviews saying: “I did not have Breaking Bad’s final season in my top ten for 2013 and I thought Homeland’s second season was the second best TV show of 2012.”
So, in other words, take it with a grain of salt.April 3, 2014 at 6:09 am #314062
Most of the time I agree with VanDerWerff, but his Homeland Season 3 reviews were way off so I’ll take it with a grain of salt.April 4, 2014 at 9:44 am #314063
Went to the HBO Premiere last night and it really is all it’s hyped up to be. If the first two episodes are any indication of the series itself, then this will be the one to dethrown ‘Modern Family’ from its 5th consecutive Emmy for Comedy Series. I was sitting next to a senior editor for The Hollywood Reproter, and after the screening he decalred it as the best new comedy this season. I’d have to say I completely agree.
Emmy-wise, in the big categories, I’d say the show is solid for: Comedy Series, Supporting Actor (TJ Miller), Guest Actor (Christopher Evan Welch), and Writing (Pilot). Lead Actor (Thomas Middleditch) is possible, but he shouldn’t submit either of the first two eps, and depending on how much more they give Amanda Crew throughout the season, a Supporting Actress nom could also be in the cards.April 4, 2014 at 11:17 am #314064
Welch is unfortunately supporting.April 4, 2014 at 11:36 am #314065
Welch is unfortunately supporting.
Eh. That’s what Marcus and I were thinking, but with only 5 episodes and limited screen-time (as great as he is), it’d be foolish of HBO not to use their muscle and declare him in Guest (which if ‘Shamelss’ can go Comedy with the Academy’s blessing, they should have no trouble doing).April 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm #314066
[quote=”thedemonhog”]Welch is unfortunately supporting.
Eh. That’s what Marcus and I were thinking, but with only 5 episodes and limited screen-time (as great as he is), it’d be foolish of HBO not to use their muscle and declare him in Guest (which if ‘Shamelss’ can go Comedy with the Academy’s blessing, they should have no trouble doing).[/quote]
And let’s not forget that this is a posthumous nomination we’re talking about, which the Emmys rarely do. I think the “easier” placement is routinely the guest acting categories, but if Welch is as good as the reviews suggest, then maybe a real supporting push by HBO is in order. He was so good in “Rubicon.” It’s a tragic loss. I don’t think it was ever disclosed what happened to him.
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