Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Silicon Valley Season 4 Review

Silicon Valley (2014-)
Season 4 (2017)
Watch Silicon Valley on Amazon Video with a Free HBO Trial
Created by:  John Altschuler, Mike Judge, Dave Krinsky
Starring:  Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods, Josh Brener

This HBO comedy focuses on the founders of a start up company, from developing the technology to generating funding, and navigating the board room.
In season four, Richard, Gilfoyle, and Dinesh still have the compression algorithm but are changing their focus yet again.

This show is great, but I don't understand the writers' reluctance to progress past step one of being a start up. No matter what happens, Richard, Gilfoyle, Dinesh, and Jared are always launching an idea that never lands. The show is still just as funny and witty, but taking us up to the point of an actual business and not a startup would add a lot of depth.
This show is just as creative as it's ever been. Each episode provides a new favorite character, though it's never Richard. I'd put season 3 slightly ahead of this one, but this isn't a bad season by any means. Silicon Valley is still one of the best comedies available.
Watch it.

Previously During Seasons 1, 2, & 3
Richard develops a compression algorithm that he then turns into a start-up, Pied Piper. A rival tech company the likes of Google or Apple try to beat him to market, but can't surpass his superior engineering. A lawsuit concludes with Hooli owning no part of Pied Piper or the technology. They generate funding, but at the end of season two, Richard is ousted as CEO.
In season 3, the company goes through a few CEOs that aren't Richard, experience triumph and downfall, but the last episode seemed like a happy ending and Pied Paper may have finally found its 'killer app.'

This is undeniably a great show, but I don't understand the writers reluctance to progress the plot. This can be just as funny without the gang constantly going back to square one. Season 3 touched upon this when they finally got an office, but that was short lived. This show constantly wants to return to them being an early stage startup, any deviations are temporary. I would love for the show to walk us through all stages of being a start up tech company. Instead we're forever relegated to step one. I get start ups are difficult, but even the bad repercussions are temporary.

Pied Piper may have found a killer app, but Richard is having trouble with the new direction of the company. I have to wonder if his problem is that he didn't have the idea. Richard is incredibly petty despite his lack of success. His goal has never been financial success, but proving his worth. He splits with Piper Chat to do his own thing.
Just as the show teases that actual repercussions might occur, we return to 'normal,' with Hooli unknowingly bailing out PiperChat and it's CEO Dinesh. I don't know why the show is so bent on keeping the team in Erlich's house. No matter what happens, we always return to that house. The potential downfall is a hilarious oversight, but the deux ex Hooli seemed a bit too convenient.

Belson bounces around this season, all due to Pied Piper. Belson's blood boy is just so weird it's nothing but humorous. While I want the show to move the team along, the humor is still ridiculously good. Jian-Yang comes into his own, though he doesn't overshadow the rest of the cast. Each episode I have a new favorite character, usually Gilfoyle or Jared.
Jared's arcs are so out there. At one point he's trying to be a human male and in episode seven he develops a second personality to call other companies. By the end of the episode he decides he must fire that personality. That may be the best joke all season, though I thought the show would continue it for more than one episode. There's something to not running a joke into the ground, but most jokes and plot points are self contained in a single episode.
Haley Joel Osment is perfect in his cameo role later in the season. He is also the rift that forms between Richard and everyone else. Richard is a comedic yet unlikable character. He gets demolished in the last episode, his pettiness looking like it might bring everything crashing down. This seems like it could be the final nail in the coffin, but this show does have a habit of returning to normal.

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