Silicon Valley is a comedy series on HBO from creator Mike Judge (Office Space) about a software startup company called Pied Piper. The series stars Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Amanda Crew and Matt Ross. Season four debuted April 23, 2017. Season five returns 2018!
Partially inspired by co-creator Mike Judge’s experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s, this comedy series follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmer Richard and his brainy friends as they attempt to strike it rich in a high-tech gold rush. They live together in a Bay Area startup incubator loosely run by self-satisfied dot-com millionaire Erlich, who lets them stay in his house rent-free in exchange for a stake in the projects they invent there. But when Richard develops a powerful search algorithm at his day job, he finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war between his boss — whose firm offers Richard an eight-figure buyout — and a deep-pocketed venture capitalist.
T.J. Miller, aka Erlich Bachman has left Silicon Valley. Will the show survive without its incompetent but hilarious stoner who holds leadership over the infamous incubator? Yes it will. The show dynamic will definitely change without Miller being there to throw in his usual quips, but the cast is so great I don’t see this being a major problem. For now anyway… Mike Judge mentioned that Miller had wanted to leave “for some time now”, so they wrote the season four finale in a way that he could return down the road, but also — Judge says probably not and I’m OK with that. Miller has said publicly that one of the reasons he was OK with leaving was due to the cyclical nature of the series – succeed, fail, repeat. As much as I love the show it’s hard to disagree with that predictable formula and yes — we get the same in season four. That would be where my negatives start and end however.
We kick off season four with Pied Piper in pieces as Richard leaves the company to start his own venture in creating a brand new internet without the restraints of server rooms. The rest of his crew are seemingly OK with this at first, but there’s always a method to Richard’s madness. And man oh man does Richard go off the deep end this season. I’ve never seen him so chaotic, so willing to break all the ethical rules that he feels have restrained him from meeting his goals, that he goes to such lengths as becoming a company that infects phones with Malware. He’s lost his shit and Thomas Middleditch has put on the best performance of his career showcasing that break.
Early into the season Richard even goes so far as to team up with his rival Gavin Belson. Matt Ross has always been an amazing heel, but his portrayal as the former Hooli CEO who has fallen from Grace in season four, really opened my eyes to this character. He’s got a lot more in common with Richard than we all initially th
ought. The scene with Gavin on the company jet with his new “partner” Jack Barker was hysterical when the two argue over the faster route to take. Leave it to Mike Judge to weave such madness out of what seems like meaningless bullshit. Judge is a master and the comedy subplots he’s crafted in Silicon Valley are genius.
The chemistry between Dinesh and Gilfoyle was firing on all cylinders this season too which I missed a bit last year. The two are still at each other’s throats, but the verbal jabs were more clever this season I thought. Also – Gilfoyle’s cat eyes in the finale are what nightmares are made of. They don’t even dwell on that moment either – it’s just a thing that happens and it’s hilarious. Zach Woods once again steals the spotlight however as Jared. He has entire conversations WITH HIMSELF over the phone at one point and brings up disturbing topics like being the product of a forced adoption. It’s all so tragic and funny as shit that I never know whether to laugh or simply cringe and feel bad for the guy. Apparently Woods has been dropping more and more of those creepy lines off the cuff in past seasons but many wound up cut – whereas this season Judge decided to let Woods go wild with them.
Pied Piper has reinvented itself numerous times, survived tons of nearly fatal business errors but as we head into a fifth season (with six total being planned by Judge), it looks like the show is going back to its roots next year. Richard and Pied Piper versus Belson and Hooli. The new internet taking on the old. Silicon Valley season four was a riot and I can’t wait to get my hands on the (now real) “Not Hot Dog” app while I wait for another 10 glorious episodes in 2018.
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