‘Silicon Valley’ finale preview: Season 4 ends with dramatic showcase for star Thomas Middleditch

Silicon Valley” concludes its fourth season Sunday, June 25 with an episode titled “Server Error” that is sure to factor into several Emmy races, including Best Comedy Actor for Thomas Middleditch. The first season finale “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency” was nominated for its writing and production design. The second season finale “Two Days of the Condor” was nominated for its writing and won for its editing. The third season finale “The Uptick” was nominated for its writing and editing. All three finales were also included among the show’s submissions for Best Comedy Series once nominated.

With cast member Zach Woods calling it the best episode of the series and having seen it myself, “Server Error” is sure to be included in their Best Comedy Series entries if “Silicon Valley” reaps a fourth consecutive nomination. It also might be Middleditch’s submission if he repeats his nomination for Best Comedy Actor, although he might opt for more comedic work in an episode such as “The Blood Boy” or “The Patent Troll,” both of which culminate in a humorous confrontation with the eponymous character.

“Server Error” finds Middleditch’s character Richard Hendrix at wit’s end and wiping away tears as his employees turn against him because of his increasing Machiavellian and deceitful ways, which are even physically endangering civilians. It would not be out of place as an acting showcase among the antiheroes nominated for Best Drama Actor.

Although the episode marks the final appearance of T.J. Miller, do not expect him to submit it if he breaks through with a Best Comedy Supporting Actor nomination. That the character is apparently written off so casually is almost as surprising as the fact that the show is losing its second-billed actor.

The biggest impediment to “Server Error” being nominated in both races for which it is actually listed on the nominating ballot — Best Comedy Directing and Best Comedy Single-Camera Picture Editing — is its June 25 airdate. Voting for nominations opened June 12 and closes June 26, so many voters surely submitted their ballots without a chance to watch the episode. However, HBO hedged their bets last year with the same broadcast schedule and the show received a record 11 nominations. Despite airing in the last 24 hours of voting like this year’s finale, last year’s was nominated in both categories that it was submitted; it notably marked the first time that “Silicon Valley” had multiple episodes nominated for Best Comedy Writing.

“Server Error” might be the biggest lock for a nomination on the Best Comedy Directing ballot because it is credited to Mike Judge, who has a perfect nomination record for directing “Silicon Valley” at both the Emmys and the Directors Guild of America Awards. He is only the third in television history to have been consistently nominated by the Emmys and DGA for directing the first three seasons of a series, after Barnet Kellman for “Murphy Brown” (1989–1991) and James Burrows for both “Cheers” (1983–1985) and “Will & Grace” (1999–2001).

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