Software development isn’t traditionally seen as the most exciting or entertaining of activities or jobs. We don’t see it as the hottest new reality feature of History Channel or A&E like Ice Road Truckers or Deadliest Catch. However, HBO has turned Silicon Valley into a popular series following a handful of software developers as they try to bring a new innovation into product.
As season 3 of Silicon Valley begins, the board of directors demotes Richard (the founder) from CEO to CTO. This enrages Richard. He feels like they are stealing his company and his intellectual property from him. As a result, Richard quits and explores other options. However after briefly considering other disappointing offers, Richard returns to his position at Pied Piper.
From here, Richard clashes with the new CEO and the direction that he takes the company. In the meantime, the entire team works toward creating a viable product out of the Pied Piper compression. We follow them through the internal company clashes, technical setbacks, and industry competition as they try to create the next big technology success story.
While Silicon Valley is often predictable and frequently over the top, it still satisfies due to the personalities. I’ve been a software developer for over ten years myself, and I’ve known many of the types that these characters represent. These characters are clearly caricatures of such engineers. However, they still do a decent job of capturing the people you run into in the field even when they exaggerate it. Yes, there really is an issue about using tabs VS spaces. I’ll even go on record as being in the spaces camp.
While of course exaggerated and over the top, the actors perform the characters quite well despite perpetuating some unflattering stereotypes. TJ Miller entertains as the arrogant and rather irresponsible Erlich Bachman. Thomas Middleditch is competent as the highly talented visionary. But he portrays him as also quite fidgety and pedantically awkward. Think of Jesse Eisenberg’s presentation of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Martin Starr gives us an egotistical and socially insensitive network engineer Bertram Gilfoyle.
They all entertain with their performances and in their characters antics. The dilemmas that constantly rear their head in the show often present very realistic issues if not overly frequent and predictably timed. But they are the necessary catalysts to keep the show moving for the full ten episodes of each season. While not every event and problem is interesting or fresh, the reactions of the characters are what keep it entertaining.
While not the most engaging TV show put out on premium TV, Silicon Valley does entertain. And it entertains sufficiently to keep you wanting to see what happens to them next and how they make it through each trial. I haven’t watched this show before, but I found this season easily accessible. I don’t really have the burning desire to see what happens next and the need to order HBO or a digital season pass of the show. However, I do have interest in watching the first two seasons now. Additionally, I will probably check out season 4 when it is available streaming on a service I have.
Picture Quality: 3.5/5
HBO Presents Silicon Valley quite respectably. The picture remains sharp throughout with strong detail. The colors appear bright and natural throughout the season. Artifacts never really seem to rear their heads. However, darks don’t always look that great or clear. Occasionally you can see some problems in those darker interior shots. In the end, the transfer looks good, but there is nothing phenomenal to see here. As the show focuses on a relatively normal life, there is rarely much to make the image shine either.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
On the audio front, HBO provides Silicon Valley with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. In my opinion the most important part of the track for a comedy is fidelity. And this track delivers. I never noticed any muddled dialog. Every quip arrives clearly and cleanly. The surround is relatively modest, but sufficient. All in all, HBO gives viewers a solid, but not overwhelming track.
Special Features and Packaging: 1.5/5
The only special features included are deleted scenes from episodes 1, 4, and 6.
The packaging is pretty standard for a season set. HBO delivers Silicon Valley Season 3 in a two-disc eco case with inside artwork. The artwork on the slipcover matches the case artwork.
Overall, I think this is very much an above average show. I think it is definitely worth a watch and even has a decent amount of replay value. The picture and sound are quite satisfactory in this release. The special features are rather limited, but entertaining. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a sarcastic and humorous sitcom or finds the antics and failings of a bunch of computer geeks entertaining.