HBO (US), Sky (NZ)
April 23rd – June 25th, 2017
4 hours 48 mins
Silicon Valley is now in its fourth season. The show has always trodden the same ground in its tightly wound formula of quickly gained success followed by a soon overcome failure and then a reset. Now I’m wishing the show dared to do more.
As a sitcom, Silicon Valley has an unusual job to do, especially as a serial comedy. Most sitcoms reset at the end of every episode and carry only a few background plotlines forward. Silicon Valley, on the other hand, is strongly connected to the success of tech startup Pied Piper, and it can never truly succeed because then the show is gone. Without the underdogs is it then just a day in the life at Hooli?
By the end of this season you kind of want to hate Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch). He’s never been overly likeable, but now it’s clear Richard is becoming the villain, putting his genius over his friends/employees, a CEO unlike the ones you see today in the real Silicon Valley. Now that they’ve gone there I’m hoping season five won’t simply be a reset but a continuation. Maybe they can build a new Internet, and we can see how our-now-trio can deal with actual fame and success.
This is also the last we will ever see of Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller). Miller’s character is unceremoniously sent off in the final episode, with an out if they ever want to bring him back. But it is unlikely he will ever return. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, T.J. Miller let loose about the show, especially in working with executive producer Alec Berg. To be frank, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Erlich Bachman, he just got in the way, which is, I suppose, the point, but I am glad to see the back of him.
Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky) takes more of the Hooli stage in the absence of Gavin Belson (Matt Ross). Keenan Feldspar (Haley Joel Osment – yes, the Sixth Sense kid!) is the bearded king of a new Virtual Reality company. These side characters bring a much-needed freshness to the show. As well as Zach Woods’ exciting performance as the underestimated Jared.
When its good, its good. The writing team behind Silicon Valley knows how to set up and land a joke. The issues come when they try to land more emotional beats. In the season finale, it does get to a place of emotional resonance but then it’s just as quick to undo it all and hit that reset button.
With its constant resetting, Silicon Valley is getting mighty stale at this point. With T.J. Miller gone, perhaps the show can now take some more risks?