Silicon Valley

7.8 / 10
30 min
Comedy
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" gives "Silicon Valley - Pilot" a 6."
Written by on 23 April 2014.
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Silicon Valley - Pilot

HBO, the quality network known for ‘Game of Thrones’, has premiered a new comedy series called ‘Silicon Valley’. The synopsis of the show reminded me a bit of ‘The Big Bang Theory’, as this show is also about a group of nerds, only these are located in Silicon Valley. Since I’ve grown a bit tired of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ after seeing it repeated for the hundredth time on TV, I decided to give this new comedy show a go. Whilst the first half of the pilot episode was a bit disappointing, it started to grow a bit on me during the second part and I think there’s potential for ‘Silicon Valley’ to become a successful show.

So the series takes place in Silicon Valley, the computer and technology Walhalla of America. Richard (Thomas Middleditch, ‘CollegeHumor Originals’) shares a house with a group of nerds. Whilst working an insignificant job at Hooli, a parody of Google, he has developed a special algorithm for his app Pied Piper. Completely by chance, there are suddenly two parties interested in his app. He now has to make a difficult decision: does he sell all the rights of his algorithm for 10 million dollars to Hooli or does he remain in control of his own company and sell only 5% of his business for 200,000 dollars to Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch, ‘Rubicon’), a kind of IT-legend? At the end of the pilot episode, he decides to accept Gregory’s offer and wants to try to turn this into a big success with his housemates.

As said, I didn’t really care too much for the first part of the episode. One of the reasons for this is that the characters aren’t introduced properly, and by the end of the episode, they still aren't. That’s because the first episode mainly focuses on Richard, a standard nerd who’s used to being bullied and mumbles. Of the other characters, Erlich (T.J. Miller, ‘She’s Out of My League’, ‘The Goodwin Games’) is featured most prominently. He’s already sold an invention for a lot of money and now all he has to do is act annoying, meddle in other people’s business and grow a weird beard. Oddly enough, Richard’s best friend in the house, who I think is called Big Head (Josh Brener, ‘The Internship’), hardly gets any attention and of the other housemates, with whom Richard is going to build his company in the following episodes, I wouldn’t even know the names.

What remains to keep you entertained as a viewer is the location of Silicon Valley, a place where someone can become a millionaire in seconds. The moment when Richard gets this opportunity was also the moment I started to become more interested in the story. That’s because before this happens, the focus isn’t so much on the story as it is on introducing this weird world and its weird population, consisting of very eccentric people and your average kind of nerd. The scene in which Gavin Belson (Matt Ross, ‘Revolution’, ‘Big Love’), Hooli’s eccentric CEO, describes how every group of nerds always consists of the same type of characters is pretty funny. However, the writers of the series should really watch out that they don’t depend too much on eccentric and weird characters for their jokes, as it tends to grow old fairly quickly.

These are quite some points of critique. However, I do believe there is potential in ‘Silicon Valley’. The jumping-off point has been introduced, and now the story can really get started. The final scene of the episode, in which the housemates sit around a table and suddenly form a close group of friends, shows that the show has a heart. If they manage to properly introduce all the characters in the following episodes and find a more creative way to be funny than just looking at weird people, the series could be pretty good. Since HBO is known for its quality, I won’t give up immediately on this show, despite the pilot episode only barely getting a passing grade.
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