Silicon Valley


Silicon Valley Information

Silicon Valley is a U.S. television sitcom created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. The series focuses on six young men who found a start-up company in Silicon Valley. The series premiered on April sixth, 2014, on HBO. The first season consisted of eight episodes. On April 21st, 2014, HBO announced that the series had been renewed for a second season.

Plot

Richard Hendriks (Thomas Middleditch) is a shy, reclusive programmer working at a large internet company called Hooli, while developing a music app called Pied Piper in a live-in start-up business incubator run by entrepreneur Erlich Bachman (T. J. Miller). After a rocky post-T.E.D. elevator pitch of Pied Piper to venture capitalist Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch), Hendriks also shows his work to a pair of brogrammers at Hooli who mock him. Within hours however, Hooli executive Donald "Jared" Dunn (Zach Woods) and Gregory's assistant Monica (Amanda Crew) are discovering that the app contains a revolutionary data compression algorithm. Hooli C.E.O. Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) proposes a $10,000,000 buy-out of Pied Piper, while Peter Gregory offers a $200,000 investment for 5% ownership in the company. With encouragement from Monica and the support of Bachman, Hendriks chooses Gregory's offer. He hires the residents of the incubator to become the Pied Piper team, along with Dunn who defects from Hooli, but loses his friend Big Head (Josh Brener) to the internet giant.

Hooli works to reverse engineer Pied Piper's algorithm based on its prerelease downloadable player, developing a copy-cat product called Nucleus. Gregory and Belson later each learn that Hendriks has been slated to present Pied Piper at TechCrunch Disrupt, a competition for unfunded start-ups. Belson is confounded by the news, and responds by scheduling the announcement of Nucleus at the event. Hendriks explains to Monica that he meant to withdraw from the competition, but Gregory demands that the company follow through, in large part due to his rivalry with Belson. The count-down to the event means that Pied Piper has to be ready to show in less than eight weeks rather than Gregory's initial plan of five months. The team rushes to produce a feature-rich cloud storage platform based on their compression technology.

At the TechCrunch event, Bachman takes the lead in a dramatic on-stage presentation of Pied Piper. However the presentation is cut short when one of the judges assaults Bachman for having sex with his wife. Pied Piper is advanced to the final round as recompense for the assault on Bachman. Belson presents Nucleus, which is integrated with all of Hooli's services and has compression performance equal to Pied Piper. Watching from the audience, the Pied Piper team generally admits defeat. The team eventually retires to a hotel room, where Bachman nihilistically suggests "jerking off" every member of the audience, and the group launches into a recreational engineering conversation about how to do that efficiently. The discussion sparks a sudden revelation in Hendriks, who spends the entire night coding. The next morning, Hendriks takes the lead in making Pied Piper's final presentation. Having scrapped all of Pied Piper's other features overnight, Hendriks describes only his new compression algorithm, and demonstrates it. Hendriks' algorithm strongly outperforms Nucleus, and he is mobbed by eager businessmen.

Production

After Mike Judge graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in physics, his first job was as a programmer working on the F-18 fighter. In 1987 he moved to the Silicon Valley region of Northern California and joined Parallax, a start-up company with about forty employees. Judge disliked the company's culture and his colleagues ("The people I met were like Stepford Wives. They were true believers in something, and I don't know what it was") and quit after less than three months, but the experience gave him the background to later create a show about the region's people and companies. He recollects also how start-up companies pitched to him to make a Flash-based animation in the past as material for the first episode: "It was one person after another going, 'In two years, you will not own a TV set!' I had a meeting that was like a gathering of acolytes around a cult leader. 'Has he met Bill?' 'Oh, I"?m the VP and I only get to see Bill once a month.' And then another guy chimed in, 'For 10 minutes, but the 10 minutes is amazing!'"

Filming for the pilot of Silicon Valley began on March 12, 2013, in Palo Alto, California. HBO green-lit the series on May 16, 2013.

Christopher Evan Welch, who plays billionaire Peter Gregory, died in December 2013 of lung cancer, having finished his scenes for the first five episodes. The production team decided against recasting the role and reshooting his scenes; on his passing, Judge commented that "The brilliance of Chris"? performance is irreplaceable, and inspired us in our writing of the series." He went on to say, "The entire ordeal was heartbreaking. But we are incredibly grateful to have worked with him in the brief time we had together. Our show and our lives are vastly richer for his having been in them." In the eighth episode, a memoriam is made in his honor at the end of the credits roll. The character of Peter Gregory was not killed off or removed from Season 1's plot.

The show refers to a metric in comparing the compression rates of applications called the Weissman score which did not exist before the show's run. It was created by Stanford Professor Tsachy Weissman and graduate student Vinith Misra at the request of the show's producers.

Cast

Main

Recurring

  • Matt Ross as Gavin Belson
  • Andy Daly as Doctor

Guests

Reception

Silicon Valley has received widely positive reviews since its premiere. Metacritic.com, a website that gathers critics' reviews, presents the TV series with an 84 out of 100 Metascore, indicating "universal acclaim". Similarly, RottenTomatoes.com presents the TV series with a 96 percent "Certified Fresh" rating.

Tim Goodman of Hollywood Reporter said "HBO finds its best and funniest full-on comedy in years with this Mike Judge creation, and it may even tap into that most elusive thing, a wide audience." Matt Roush of TV Guide said "The deft, resonant satire that helped make Judge's Office Space a cult hit takes on farcical new dimension in Silicon Valley, which introduces a socially maladroit posse of computer misfits every bit the comic equal of The Big Bang Theorys science nerds." Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club said "It feels weirdly like a tech-world Entourage"?and that"?s meant as more of a compliment than it seems." Brian Tallarico of RogerEbert.com praised the jokes of the series but commented on the slow progression of the character development in the first two episodes and the reliance on common stereotypes in technology, including "the nerd who can't even look at a girl much less talk to her or touch her, the young businessman who literally shakes when faced with career potential." He goes on to state that the lack of depth to the characters create "... this odd push and pull; I want the show to be more realistic but I don't care about these characters enough when it chooses to be so."

David Auerbach of Slate stated that the show did not go far enough to be called risky or a biting commentary of the tech industry. "Because I'm a software engineer, Silicon Valley might portray me with my pants up to my armpits, nerdily and nasally complaining that Thomas"? compression algorithm is impossible or that nine times F in hexadecimal is 87, not 'fleventy five' (as Erlich says), but I would forgive such slips in a second if the show were funny." Auerbach disclaimed that he used to work for Google, and that his wife also worked for them at the time of the review. Elon Musk, who was present at the premiere of the show in Redwood City, said that "[none] of those characters were software engineers. Software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful, and smarter. They"?re weird, but not in the same way,"? he insisted. "I was just having a meeting with my information security team, and they"?re great but they"?re pretty weird "? one used to be a dude, one"?s super small, one"?s hyper-smart "? that"?s actually what it is."? He went on to say "I really feel like Mike Judge has never been to Burning Man, which is Silicon Valley [...] If you haven"?t been, you just don"?t get it. You could take the craziest L.A. party and multiply it by a thousand, and it doesn"?t even get close to what"?s in Silicon Valley. The show didn"?t have any of that."?

Broadcast

In Australia the series airs on The Comedy Channel while in the United Kingdom, it airs on Sky Atlantic.

Accolades

Year Ceremony Category Recipients Result
2014 SXSW Audience Award Episodic Mike Judge
4th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Comedy Series Silicon Valley
Best Actor in a Comedy Series Thomas Middleditch
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Christopher Evan Welch
EWwy Awards Best Actor, Comedy Thomas Middleditch
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy T. J. Miller
66th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Silicon Valley
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Mike Judge
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Alec Berg
Outstanding Art Direction for a Contemporary Program (Half-Hour or Less)
Outstanding Main Title Design

Episodes

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
(million)
Viewers = 1.98 ShortSummary = Richard Hendricks is a low-level code programmer with futuristic internet giant Hooli. He is often taunted by his more successful work colleagues, and his ideas are dismissed by egotistical entrepreneur Erlich Bachman, who owns the technology development incubator where Richard lives with fellow programmers Nelson "Big Head", Gilfoyle and Dinesh. However when Hooli stumbles upon the music copyright service that Richard is working on, entitled Pied Piper, they discover that hidden within the useless application is the best file compression algorithm in the world, and news spreads quickly. Eventually Richard is caught between a $10 million buyout by Hooli CEO Gavin Belson, and a $200,000 investment from eccentric billionaire Peter Gregory, and must decide whether to give up his program to the highest bidder or to take the investment and create a business out of it himself. After having a panic attack and vomiting on the street, Richard runs into Peter's assistant Monica, who tells him that she believes in him and his idea, and he decides to take the investment and run the business himself. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.69 ShortSummary = After rejecting Belson's offer and siding with Peter Gregory, Richard is overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done in establishing the business to Gregory's satisfaction. Luckily, Belson's former PA, Jared Dunn, arrives at the incubator, begging Richard to hire him, as he sees huge potential in the Pied Piper idea, and is hired due to his business expertise. However, in evaluating the Pied Piper team, Jared discovers that while Gilfoyle and Dinesh are brilliant coders, Big Head is comparatively mediocre, and Richard is pressured by everyone to fire him as he brings nothing to the table. Richard refuses to do so, but Big Head decides to take a huge raise and promotion at Hooli instead, where work begins on reverse-engineering Pied Piper to create the same product, branded under a different name. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.62 ShortSummary = Richard and Jared discover that the Pied Piper business name is already in use by an irrigation enterprise in Gilroy, California. While Jared, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Erlich begin brainstorming new names for the application, Richard attempts to prove that he is a good negotiator by convincing the irrigation company to give up the name Pied Piper. Meanwhile, Peter Gregory becomes obsessed with Burger King products, leaving his assistant Monica in a difficult position with some of their clients. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.55 ShortSummary = Peter assigns an attorney, Ron, to the Pied Piper venture, who accidentally lets slip that Richard's project is one of eight file compression suites that Peter invests in. This impacts Richard, who suddenly panics that he has no sense of where the company should go and what it should be doing. Meanwhile, Big Head is removed from Hooli's copycat compression software project, named Nucleus, because of his complete lack of understanding of what Richard actually did to create Pied Piper, and is not reassigned to anything, and Erlich is mistakenly appointed to the Pied Piper board of directors when Richard gets drunk. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.82 ShortSummary = Erlich hires a convicted felon and graffiti artist, Chuy, to create a new logo for Pied Piper and to paint it on the incubator garage, but Chuy's creation depicts Dinesh having sexual intercourse with the Statue of Liberty because he believes Dinesh is of Latin descent. Pied Piper gains entry to the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield, a technology conference that pits unseeded start-up companies against each other, with $50,000 as the grand prize - the only problem is, Pied Piper is not unseeded, and this angers Peter. Richard suggests withdrawing from the Battlefield, but Belson beats him to it and announces the release of Nucleus will take place at the Battlefield, and due to Peter's intense rivalry with Belson, he refuses to allow Pied Piper to withdraw and tells them to have a finished demo for the Battlefield in eight weeks. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.69 ShortSummary = Pied Piper is nearing completion, but Richard is having serious issues coding the cloud-based integration modules for the application, so much so that Jared, Gilfoyle, Erlich and Dinesh pressure him into hiring Kevin "The Carver", an Adderall-addicted teenaged programmer with a specialty in cloud integration. Gilfoyle's new satanistic girlfriend, Tara, visits the incubator, and Gilfoyle tells Dinesh that Tara wants to have sex with him, and that this prospect sexually arouses both Tara and Gilfoyle. Jared gets stranded on Peter's automated island due to a programming error, and The Carver inadvertently destroys all of the Pied Piper code, forcing the team to revise all of it. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.68 ShortSummary = The team arrives at the Battlefield, however Pied Piper still isn't finished, and Richard is having trouble concentrating due to the presence of an ex-girlfriend at the conference. Dinesh meets an attractive girl who appears to be proficient in Java, but when Gilfoyle tells him that the Java code was in fact written by him, Dinesh loses interest in the girl. Erlich panics when it transpires that one of the judges of the Battlefield is the man whose wife he had an affair with years earlier, and in an attempt to remedy the situation, Erlich ends up having sex with the judge's new wife, which results in an all-out brawl during the Pied Piper Battlefield presentation. LineColor = BE2625 }}

Viewers = 1.74 ShortSummary = Desperate to avoid litigation after the brawl, TechCrunch offers Pied Piper a ticket straight through to the final Battlefield stage, but the team is despondent after watching the Nucleus presentation and learning that not only is Hooli's Weissman compression quality score 2.89, the exact same as theirs, but they also have a number of additional features which make Nucleus a much better application. The team retreats to their hotel room, where they get drunk and mock up a mathematical model for Erlich to give handjobs to every male in the Battlefield audience instead of doing their presentation, which gives Richard a brainwave. He stays up all night, deletes most of the Pied Piper features and leaves only one - the all-important compression engine, which, using Richard's brand new compression code, achieves a Weissman compression quality score of 5.2. Pied Piper wins the Battlefield, embarrassing Belson and Hooli. After learning from Monica, amidst some flirting between the two, that Pied Piper will be fielding business interests and that things will only get harder, Richard has a panic attack and vomits into a dumpster in the alley. LineColor = BE2625 }}




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Silicon_Valley_%28TV_series%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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