Monday, 9 March 2015

Silicon Valley (2014)

Mike Judge, the man responsible for animated TV hits Beavis and Butthead and KING OF THE HILL turns to live action for his latest comedy TV series, inspired by his own experiences working in the place of the same name in SILICON VALLEY, the first series (or season for our American readers) of which is due to be released soon on Blu-ray and DVD by Warners. 
Set in the high-powered, high financial stakes, high geekery world of software engineering, the eight episodes presented here introduce us to a group of typical twenty-something computer nerds hoping to make it big in a world where a lack of social life, absence of interpersonal relationships, and an unhealthy and excessive interest in all things to do with the internet are viewed as a positive advantage. 

Thankfully a working knowledge of modern programming jargon is not necessary to allow you to enjoy the show, which plays on the tried and true format of a bunch of weirdos forced to live together who get themselves into trouble each week through their basic cluelessness and inability to cope with everyday problems ‘normal’ people wouldn’t even consider a challenge. 
When Richard Hendriks (Thomas Middleditch)  invents Pied Piper, a new way of compressing files that could spell huge profits for whoever owns the concept the race is on to buy his idea. Deciding to go with eccentric and peculiar Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch, who comes across as an American David Mitchell) it soon becomes obvious that neither Richard nor his housemates have the slightest idea how to go about formulating a business plan, much less implement it. 

This basic plot is merely the springboard to sequences of inspired comedy daftness. Magic mushroom trips, toga parties and satanism all add up to a series which is often hilarious and never less than charming. All the characters are endearing and are well enough drawn that SILICON VALLEY certainly has the mileage potential of something like THE BIG BANG THEORY. 
As with all these kinds of shows, it takes a little while to get to know the principal characters which, along with geeky Richard include entrepreneur Erlich (T J Miller) who owns the house they all live in; Satanist Bertram Guilfoyle (Martin Starr);  Big Head (Josh Brener) who gets thrown out of the group and snatched up by rival company Hooli, only for them to discover he’s useless; and Dinesh Chugtai (Kumail Nanjani, who gave a hilarious turn as ‘the stepfather’ in BAD MILO). To dilute all this male geekery we have Amanda Crews (FINAL DESTINATION 3 & HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT) as Monica, Peter Gregory’s PA.

Warners’ Blu-ray set offers all eight episodes over two discs, with commentaries for every episode, a making of featurette and episode previews. 
Very much expanding on some of the themes Judge began to explore in his 1999 comedy OFFICE SPACE, SILICON VALLEY is well worth checking out if you’re looking for a new loser-weirdo-outsider-type comedy show to watch. And yes, a second season is on the way. 

Warners are releasing SILICON VALLEY on Region B Blu-ray and Region 2 DVD in a two disc set on 23rd March 2015

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