Silicon Valley: Season One

Silicon Valley: Season One
5
Nerds rule in Silicon Valley, HBO's comedy series about a gang of programmers struggling to thrive in the computer capital of the world.
 
At the center of this geeky household is Richard Hendriks (BC actor Thomas Middleditch), a stereotypically meek programmer who develops a music app that catches fire with rival CEOs and launches everyone's careers. His posse includes the obnoxious Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller) who runs the live-in startup business incubator where Richard hatched his app. Erlich claims a cut of the proceeds and generally gets in the way of any progress Richard makes. 
 
The rest of the guys in the household are largely indistinguishable, which is a problem not only because it makes caring about them difficult, but because the show's writers can't even squeeze any truly hilarious tension out of the relationships between the mains, Richard and Erlich, either. Instead, the show's gags come off as tepid, inviting comparisons to the (somehow) superior Big Bang Theory.
 
Comedian Kumail Nanjiani does well within his limited character — the token ethnic (of South Asian descent) — eliciting some laughs and adding what character depth he can, but Silicon Valley is just a little too white. This is disappointing, considering executive producer Mike Judge populated the smart, funny King of the Hill with a realistically diverse palette of characters that enriched that show.
 
Kudos to Silicon Valley for offering an audio commentary for each of its eight episodes; the cast have a ball chatting about the show, and their enthusiasm is fun to listen to. Three featurettes totalling 23 minutes offer the standard behind-the-scenes look at the series, with interviews of the cast and Mike Judge lending some insight (though it's typically light). The most fun is "The Hacker Hostel," in which the cast casually tour the set and crack jokes. (HBO)