From Mike Judge and Alec Berg comes a new season of the Emmy-nominated comedy that takes viewers inside Silicon Valley's high-tech gold rush: a land of big ideas and bigger egos. After last season's shocking ending, which found Pied Piper celebrating legal victory just as Richard (Thomas Middleditch) was ousted as CEO, Season 3 picks up where we left off, with Richard offered the diminished role of CTO and the rest of his team – Erlich (T.J. Miller), Jared (Zach Woods), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) – facing the question of just how far their loyalty extends. With a new no-nonsense CEO hell-bent on transforming everything from Pied Piper's offices to its business agenda, the guys must find a way to triumph in the war of Art vs. Commerce, maneuvering the many competing interests along the way.
Silicon Valley only gets better as the seasons progress. The third season was the funniest yet, and the first two seasons were already comedy gold. Am I laying it on too thick? I don't think so.
Like HBO's other genius comedy Veep, Silicon Valley deeply understands its subject and therefore is able to skewer it relentlessly. Where Veep takes on politics, Silicon Valley snipes at tech-capitalism. It's a specific niche that not everyone is familiar with, but the brilliance of this show is you don't have to work in development to find it funny.
The third season contains various storylines which are all intertwined with the main one: Pied Piper trying to become a full-fledged company.
The problem with the tech world is that even with a great idea nothing can happen if it isn't married to a functional business environment. There's nothing functional about Silicon Valley, but watching the frustrating dysfunction play out is too much fun.
Poor Richard (Thomas Middleditch), he was never meant to run a company. At the end of season two he'd found out that he'd been kicked out of the CEO role by the company board. Much of the time Silicon Valley reminds me of Joseph Heller's “Catch-22” and Richard is Yossarian. Richard is stuck in this world that seems utterly foreign to him. He knows how to code, but the business world is completely different. Being thrown out of the position he created solely by starting Pied Piper, by people who don't even work at his company, is cruel, but not unusual. Not in the world of business. No matter how smart Richard is he'll always be beholden to the mammoth weight of immortal bureaucracy.
Even though the show is only 30-minute episodes it packs a lot in. There are so many storylines to catch up on it's hard to remember all of them. Ehrlich (T.J. Miller) finds his relationship with Richard strained so he sets out with Big Head (Josh Brener) to create their own incubator project with the windfall severance Big Head got from Hooli. Only Ehrlich's arrogance and love for the finer things in life causes money troubles. Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) tries coding a video chat platform in his spare time in order to talk to girls and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) makes fun of him relentlessly for it. That's only a fraction of what happens in the third season.
Creator Mike Judge shows a keen understanding of the soul-sucking nature that is cubicle capitalism. Sure Silicon Valley is exaggerated for effect, but so much of it rings true because it is true. Take for example the scene where Richard and would-be girlfriend Winnie (Bridey Elliott) fight over using tabs or spaces while coding. This is one of the season's most memorable scenes and it's done so well that even if you don't work in a coding environment it's still hilarious. That's because Judge and his team understand their subject so well they're able to present precision comedy without it feeling too inside baseball.
Silicon Valley is one of my favorite shows on TV right now. Not just comedies, but shows. It's subtly brilliant in ways other shows aren't. Plus, it makes me laugh. A lot. And that goes a long, long way.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Two 50GB Blu-rays are included in this dual-disc set. Each disc houses five episodes. They're contained in a simple keepcase. Behind the disc hubs is a barebones episode list. A slipcover is included.
HBO's 1080p presentation of season three mirrors the top-notch quality of their season two release. A clear, striking image is presented nearly perfect here.
Detail is vivid and striking. Close-ups feature a bevy of textures and lifelike facial features. I know you probably don't want to see every individual hair of Ehrlich's silly goatee, but they're there anyway. Contrast is spot-on. Colors are strong and consistent. Outside scenes never feel too hot and inside scenes never appear to get washed out by flat shadows.
Delineation adds depth and dimension to the picture. Black areas are deep, but they don't overpower detail. Most of the show is shot well-lit providing a crisp, clear presentation that rivals any other single-camera sitcom out there.
Season three offers up a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that does exactly what's asked of it, and maybe even a little bit more. For the most part you know what to expect, but there are a few surprises along the way.
Dialogue is clean and clear. This is a talk-heavy sitcom with lines delivered at lightning speed. Each word is clear and concise even when T.J. Miller is mumbling. That's about 90-percent of the show and it's done perfectly.
There are moments where the soundtrack takes on hip-hop songs, especially during the credits, where the mix gets a little room to perform. The sub-woofer kicks in and rolls with some of the bass-heavy songs. Surround sound is quite lively, even in Ehrlich's house. There are always people moving around and the faintest sounds can be picked up in the surrounds. Parties and large get-togethers are astounding for a show that you'd think would be primarily focused with what's going on in the center channel. Compared to other comedies, Silicon Valley has quite the surprising full-bodied mix.
Deleted Scenes (HD) – A few deleted scenes are included for the first, fourth, and sixth episode. It's the lone special feature on this set.
Season three is my favorite Silicon Valley season and I loved the first two. I can't wait to see where the show goes from here. One does wonder if it'll ever hit a creative rut. Serialized comedies tend to after a while. I have faith Judge can keep cranking out the creativity though. With great audio and video presentation, this is a Recommended Blu-ray for anyone who likes laughing.