2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Review in Two: HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’

Published: April 4, 2014, 1:18 pm, by Terry Terrones


“Silicon Valley

Cast: Thomas Middleditch (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Colorado native TJ Miller (“Cloverfield”), Martin Starr (“Party Down,” “Knocked Up”) and Zach Woods (“The Office”).

Air-date, time: The pilot episode airs at 8 p.m. Sunday April 6 on HBO

The premise: Mike Judge (“Office Space,” “Beavis & Butthead,” “King of the Hill”) brings his unique brand of humor to HBO in the new comedy series “Silicon Valley.” Partially inspired by Judge’s own experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the late ‘80s, the show kicks off its eight-episode run this Sunday. Set in the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, the show focuses on people who are most qualified to succeed but are the least capable of handling success. The series centers on five programmers, including Denverite and comedian TJ Miller, who all live together.

Highs: If you found Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus Rift funny or appalling or enraging this show is for you (if that made no sense to you however, you won’t get this series’ jokes). “Silicon Valley” is full of inside humor that points out the ridiculousness of the money being thrown around the tech industry and the awkwardness of the people who find it or seek it. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and other tech giants (as well as the big names at those companies) are all either lampooned or satirized. I can’t wait for this show to run and see what the feedback is from the Silicon Valley community.

TJ Miller really shines. He’s a tech savvy version of “The Office’s” Michael Scott, a know-it-all with no real discernable skills other than owning the house (which he calls “The Incubator”) where a bunch of tech nerds live. He’s funny, awkward and just plain fun to watch. He’s easily the best part of this show.

Lows: I consider myself a bit of a tech nerd. I don’t watch live streams from the Ted conference but I do keep up on technology trends and what’s going on in the industry. That said, there were times when “Silicon Valley” lost me. There were references I didn’t get and jokes that went over my head. I still enjoyed the episodes I watched but at times, this show seems likes it’s made only for those deep into the world of emerging technology.

When “Silicon Valley” gets serious, and thankfully it doesn’t happen too often, the show falls flat. The characters aren’t quite deep enough, at least not during season one, to engage the audience with any real level of concern. Many viewers will find the slower moments of the series an odd change of pace and uninteresting.

Grade: (B): If you’re interested in the tech world, you’ll find this series to be an enjoyable and funny. It was still finding its footing during the five episodes I watched but if you like smart humor and are a Mike Judge fan, chances are you’ll want to invest some time in “Silicon Valley.”