Premieres Sunday, April 6 at 9:00pm on HBO.
While many know Mike Judge as the creator of the animated shows Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill, before he began making TV and movies, he worked as a programmer at a tech startup in the late '80s. With first-hand experience on his résumé, Judge turns his brand of humor towards the tech geniuses of Silicon Valley in his charming new HBO comedy.
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Richard (Thomas Middleditch) is an aspiring tech genius who works at the not-at-all-Google company hooli by day, while living at a startup incubator at night with fellow programmers, developing his own app. Richard's commercial plan for his app Pied Piper has little appeal, but it's soon discovered that within it are components that could be incredibly valuable. In almost no time, Richard finds himself in the midst of a bidding war between two tech-industry giants. He must choose between selling his work for a ridiculous amount of money or accepting a smaller sum in exchange for maintaining control of what he created.
Silicon Valley benefits from an extremely talented cast packed with comedic talent. Middleditch is an endearingly awkward straight-man surrounded by the antics of T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Zach Woods and Josh Brener. Each of them keep Richard on his toes as they attempt to help him become the next success story. Christopher Evan Welch gives an amazingly eccentric performance as Peter Gregory, an idiosyncratic genius who pushes Richard to take greater ownership of his brainchild. A plot line in which Gregory becomes obsessed with analyzing the menu items at Burger King is the show at its best.
Like many of Judge's projects, Silicon Valley does, unfortunately, suffer from the lack of a strong female voice. As the lone woman in the ensemble, Amanda Crew splits her limited screen time between managing Welch's schedule and serving as a kind of romantic muse for Middleditch. It's a pretty thankless character and the show would do well to expand her role or add another lady into the testosterone-fueld coding den.
While there's room for improvement, Silicon Valley is a winning comedy that joyfully embraces its characters' awkwardness.