Silicon Valley S1-6
If there’s one thing Silicon Valley has struggled with over its six-season run, it’s out-weirding reality. Somehow, this critically acclaimed HBO comedy manages to do that, and still keep us laughing. It makes fun of the culture and politics of the real Silicon Valley, and the ridiculousness of the CEOs and powermongers who keep it growing. The hapless coders who do the real work – they’re cannon fodder. Season 6, the final season, isn’t pulling any punches as it wraps up the story.
The series has maintained its relevance since its premiere, reflecting the changes in policy and strategy the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon have adopted either because of controversy, profit maximization, or both. It’s a point that the latest season drives home with scathing determination: the leaders of these corporate titans have accrued tremendous power, but they’re about as equipped to handle it now as they were twenty years ago when they created revolutionary products in dorm rooms and garages.
Despite the sharp satire on display, Silicon Valley’s humour has usually come from the interplay between the uniquely maladjusted characters. Of course, you have a variety of computer geeks on offer; some are surprisingly cool, others are stereotypically shy. There’s no shortage of social awkwardness being exuded by the show’s lead, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch), a genius coder whose ability far exceeds his confidence—he’s prone to vomiting anytime he addresses more than a handful of people, his staff included.
Season 6 sees Richard and the Pied Piper team attempt to subvert the power of Big Tech by creating a new “decentralized” internet. In true Silicon Valley fashion, there are many obstacles, enemies and egos to conquer along the way. The established players will not accept an idea this “disruptive” even though, ironically, the leaders of the tech world see themselves as near-messianic in their ability to disrupt old “paradigms.”
Jen Chaney from Vulture applauds the show’s unrelenting caricature of these unprecedentedly powerful people: “It never wavers in its desire to put the utter absurdity of its tech ‘geniuses’ and their behaviour on full display.”