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Silicon Valley - Season 1 Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   5/10

Nerds with Money!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
3/30/2015

    From the offbeat minds of Alec Berg and Mike Judge, Silicon Valley is an all-new comedy series set in the high-tech gold rush of modern Silicon Valley, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success.
Silicon Valley isn't a new documentary series examining the people behind a new tech startup, but it IS a comedy series about a new startup created by Beavis and Butt-head and Office Space creator Mike Judge (who spent time in Silicon Valley himself).

I heard lots of positive comments about the show on Twitter, so I was eager to watch it on Blu-ray since I no longer have HBO. The only cast member I heard of was Kumail Nanjiani because a number of people I follow retweet his stuff, so I wasn't really aware of the cast, or had seen them in other productions; I was going in blind, which can be a lot of fun.

The 8-episode first season is available on two Blu-ray discs:

Disc 1 (2:23:05)
Minimum Viable Product (29:21)
The Cap Table (28:05)
Articles of Incorporation (28:39)
Fiduciary Duties (28:30)
Signaling Risk (28:30)

Disc 2 (1:25:11)
Third Party Insourcing (28:31)
Proof of Concept (28:09)
Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency (28:31)

Video

Obviously the show, which was shot in HD, looks good on Blu-ray. The black levels are great, and the colors are strong, yet natural. Chapters are set after the cool opening credits of the show, and there's a "play all" on each disc. There are also episode recaps for the episodes, in case you forget what happened. The only issue I had were a few instances of noise in the picture, especially in the darker scenes.

Audio

I found the 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio to be quite good for this release. The dialog is clear, and easy to understand, and the music sounds great, the content just doesn't make full use of the 5.1 mix; it doesn't make much use of the rear speakers. There are also tracks in French (5.1 DTS), Spanish (DTS 2.0) and German (5.1 DTS). Subtitles are available in English, French, Latin Spanish, German, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary Tracks
These commentary tracks are entertaining, and informative. It was in one of these commentary tracks (Third Party Insourcing) where I discovered that Christopher Evan Welch (Peter Gregory) had passed away. Business Insider had the best article I came across talking about him, and his work.

Minimum Viable Product - Thomas Middleditch and Mike Judge.
The Cap Table - Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Martin Starr and Mike Judge.
Articles of Incorporation - Kumail Nanjiani, Alec Berg and Mike Judge.
Fiduciary Duties - Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Alex Berg and Mike Judge.
Signaling Risk - Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Alec Berg and Mike Judge.
Third Party Insourcing - Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Alec Berg and Mike Judge.
Proof of Concept - Thomas Middleditch and Mike Judge.
Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency - Thomas Middleditch, Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Kumail Nanjiani, Martin Starr, Alec Berg and Mike Judge.

Making Silicon Valley (12:32)
A fun "making of" featurette on the show featuring interviews with the cast and crew.

Techcrunch: Disrupt! (3:42)
They recreated the Techcrunch: Disrupt! conference for the show, and this is a cool featurette on the conference... err... set.

The Hacker Hostel (6:18)
T.J. Miller and the other guys give us a tour of the house set.

Summary

This isn't a "laugh our loud" comedy, more like a "snicker with occasional laughs," but I really enjoyed it. The silicon valley startup angle intrigues me, as does the dilemma that really sets the season off in a direction; to sell, or not to sell (a situation I found myself in at one point, though not for the same kind of money!). I made it through the show in a couple of days, and probably would have done it in one sitting if I didn't have adult responsibilities to attend to (darn life, getting in the way of watching TV!). The show flows really well, and though it's not a cliff-hanger show like Lost, or The Walking Dead, I really wanted to know what was going to happen next.

Because I knew very little about the show before sitting down to watch this release I really enjoyed listening to the commentary tracks. There were tons of information that I knew nothing about, from Mike Judge's time living in Silicon Valley, to the death of Christopher Evan Welch (that resulted in me reading tons of stories about the actor, and feeling rather bummed) and how it affected the show. I was disappointed that Amanda Crew (Monica) wasn't on any of the tracks because she's really the only female on the show (at least out of the leading cast), and her input into working with the guys, and on the show, would have been insightful. The other bonus features were really interesting as well, especially the one on how they recreated the "Techcrunch: Disrupt" conference.

I don't know about you, but I'm pumped for season 2... though it'll be a year before I see it.


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