Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series (DVD Review)

By Adam Riley 09.03.2015 2

Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series (DVD Review)

Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series (UK Rating: 15)

Most will know Mike Judge from his past cartoon exploits, creating the highly memorable duo of Beavis & Butthead, with subsequent cult hit movie, Beavis & Butthead Do America, as well as the long-running King of the Hill. Leaving sarcastic, sometimes low-brow animated humour behind, he has now turned to live action, entering the technical world of software engineers with Silicon Valley, which originally aired on US network HBO in 2014 and is now set to launch on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on 23rd March, 2015.
Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series (DVD Review)

Focusing on the modern-day Silicon Valley, the show introduces a bunch of misfits living in what is basically a tech farm, where the (supposedly) best minds are bred, all under the watchful eye of Erlich (T.J. Miller Transformers: Age of Extinction), a dotcom millionaire who lets them stay reside for free under the proviso that he claims a default 10% stake of whatever projects they each devise during their stay. The group consists of the mild-mannered and ridiculously twitchy Richard (Thomas MiddleditchThe Wolf of Wall Street), who is busy developing a special compression algorithm that proves to be the main subject of the entire show, as well as his cohorts: Gilfoyle (Martin StarrThis is the End) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani Sex Tape), who constantly bicker, attempting to one-up each other, and the outcast, Big Head (Josh Brener The Big Bang Theory), who is basically nothing more than Richard's friend, not being specifically skillful in any one thing.

Over in Silicon Valley everyone is looking to be the next Google, Twitter, and so on, but can these self-proclaimed geniuses - actually portrayed as nothing more than high school nerds with no life throughout the series - take Pied Piper from its initial trappings as a music-based piece of software and convince the likes of major firm Hooli to invest in the idea to help develop it into the new worldwide phenomenon? Well, the simple answer is 'yes…to a degree,' since someone discovers the potential of the compression technique used in Pied Piper, sparking a bidding war between former friends, now enemies, Hooli founder and all-round hothead Gavin Belson (Matt Ross American Horror Story) and an independent billionaire venture capitalist with an extremely off-the-wall persona, Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch The Master). With an absence of negotiation nounce, Richard fumbles his way along, attempting to guide his merry men to the big time, making all manner of crazy mistakes en route, picking up some friends (and enemies) in the process.

The scenario has the opportunity for a barrel of laughs, but two or three episodes in and the geeky group lack any real punch, the story progresses very slowly without offering any particular grab factor, and barely a smile is raised from the oft-times stale script. This is definitely the sort of show that the actual tech-savvy folk of today, those with no real time to pour into 'giving it a chance,' will switch off quickly and forget about, and probably will not even relate to during their short stay as the stereotypes seem dated, to say the least, perhaps due to the whole shebang being based upon Judge's own experiences in the 1980s. Times have changed, but the comedy element could still have thrived, if paced better. The first episode should have been grabbing the viewer by the lapels, shaking them around and intensely expressing why this is dubbed by its publicists as "combining brilliant observational comedy with a fantastic cast and razor-sharp dialogue." Sadly it does nothing of the sort and, in fact, it is more of a slow burner, with the humorous side only stepping up its game a few episodes in. Thankfully, by the end of the eighth, and final, episode of Season One, the jokes have become more frequent and there is a glimmer of hope that Season Two will carry on the momentum when it hits HBO in April 2015. Whether or not sinking a large chunk of money into Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series either on DVD or Blu-ray, though, is debatable, as just waiting for the recap before Season Two kicks off would be cheaper and not that much would have been missed.
Image for Feature | Lights, Camera, Action! – Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series (DVD Review)

Rated 6 out of 10


Starting off very slow indeed, and lacking the true hearty laughs promised from its set-up, Silicon Valley: The Complete First Series is somewhat hit and miss. Over the eight episodes in Season One, the characters do start to grow, and one or two smiles will be had thanks to the ridiculous situations the group of cyber-geeks get themselves into, so there are high hopes for the second series. However, if wanting to drop £25 for the DVD boxset or £30 for the Blu-ray version, do note that this is indeed a slow burner, so be prepared to be patient…or ultimately disappointed.

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darkflame (guest) 10.03.2015#1

Was going to try this, wont now, ta Smilie

Besides, is Pied Piper a better piece of software then Fakeblock?

Like I said, it starts to get better, but only really towards the tail end of the series. I definitely hope Season Two continues on the high Season One ended on!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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