Silicon Valley: Season 2 Review
Showrunners: Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.
Starring: Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zack Jones, Matt Ross
The hit HBO series is back for second hilarious season and continues to go from strength to strength. Silicon Valley could easily be considered to be one of the funniest comedies on TV at the moment, and will keep you hooked until the very last second of the finale, begging for more.
Created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, Silicon Valley follows the troubling tale of a tech startup called Pied Piper, run by the lovably awkward Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch). Setting up shop in Ehrlich Bachman’s (T.J. Miller), ’incubator’, Richard has to go through one of the most traumatising ordeals, including but not limited to: despicable tech gurus, backstabbing competitors, inflated egos, and anything else that Silicon Valley can throw at the poor guy, to get his original idea off the ground. With the help of this fellow nerdy housemates: Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Jared (Zack Jones), the team have to do everything in their power to try and make it in a very competitive and crowded environment.
I don’t know about you people, but I don’t want to live in a world where someone else makes the world a better place better than we do.
Richard is the CEO of a company called Pied Piper, which originally started as a music app, but they quickly realise that Richard has created an amazing algorithm to compress file sizes – small is the new big. This is perhaps not the sexiest thing in the world, yet its potential is massive, and throughout both seasons Richard has to endure countless attempts by rival company Hooli (think Evil Google) and its CEO, Gavin Belson (wonderfully portrayed by Matt Ross), to steal his new and revolutionary tech. Hooli would pay big bucks for that algorithm, but Richard, being a man of principal and wanting to make his own way into the world, Richard refuses, which in many ways is why he’s in this mess.
Silicon Valley is set very much in a both familiar and unfamiliar world. As viewers we can recognise the ever-developing and expanding tech world of Google and Apple, yet most of us will never see how things work behind the scenes. As well as being an incredibly comical show, it’s also quite a poignant one, demonstrating the struggles that our lead character Richard encounters at every juncture to get his company off the ground. The satire is rich; Hooli and Belson do not come out well at all. In fact, they’re absolutely awful, and make for brilliant villains.
At first glance, one may take Silicon Valley to be an almost Big Bang Theory-esque show. Don’t be fooled by the cast’s geeky demeanour; this show has a lot more to it than that. The eight episodes of season one set up the show nicely, being constantly amusing, yet season two takes it way beyond just being a well-written and amusing TV show. There are innumerable laugh-out-loud moments, with Zack Jones and T.J Miller having some of the season’s stand out jokes, involving being trapped in a driverless car, and a hilarious series of investors meetings with some negative consequences.
I’m covered in dust. I’m a three-foot dick!
Season two of Silicon Valley is that rare case where a TV show actually improves over time. That’s not the say that the first season was bad, much the contrary. Everybody seems a lot more comfortable in their respective roles, and the writers keep on finding new and interesting ways to move the story along. They have a lot of fun with the Sisyphean aspect of Richard’s almost tragic tale. Once something good happens, something bad will follow. It does make the show incredibly stressful to watch, yet also adds that addictive quality; once you’ve finished an episode, you find yourself desperate to watch the next one.
The addition of Chris Diamantopoulos’ Sean Parker-type character, Russ Hanneman, is also a stroke of genius. A man totally obsessed with being in what he called “the three commas club”, Hanneman comes from a completely different world to that of our loveable Pied Piper employees, and even the not-so-loveable Gavin Belson. He’s a billionaire of the earlier era of the internet, his one claim to fame being “the man who put radio on the mother-fucking internet”, and he is already a dinosaur in the tech world. His character shows how quickly that world moves on, and how it’s so important to keep on reinventing yourself in the constantly changing environment of Silicon Valley.
With this season only being only 10 episodes long, and each episode clocking in at around 25 minutes, it makes it that much more compact, thus being more focused. This, in turn, makes you more invested in the characters onscreen. Each character brings their own quirks to the show; there are no weak links and no poor character arcs … so far.
With many comedy shows today opting for cheap laughs rather than intriguing plots and compelling characters, Silicon Valley is a breath of fresh air in a very crowded market. Much like in the real Silicon Valley it was about time for something new. Let’s hope that the team behind this great show can continue their fine form.