For three seasons Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky’s Silicon Valley was one of the sharpest comedies on the air as it dissected the tech and software start up world and ripped in to those who were successful and those who wanted to be. It’s characters may have been partially sympathetic but they were also fucking stupid at times, and also selfish, cruel and inconsiderate to others, and it was a combination that led to some glorious comedy.
But the formula started to become a bit predictable during seasons 4 and 5 as Richard and his less than motley crew would come up with a great idea or succeed in doing something, then screw it up before somehow making a comeback. Also an issue was that they made Richard something of a bully, his fall from grace seeing him act in such a manner it was impossible to like him anymore, which was a bit of a problem as until now he’d always been someone to root for and it felt like the writers still wanted us to do so.
Now the show is back for it’s sixth and final season and wrapping everything up and giving us a conclusive ending to Pied Piper’s attempts at making the world a (slightly) better place with a decentralised internet. It’s not before time either given the repetitious nature of the previous two seasons, and it made me optimistic that the show would see a return to form with these last seven episodes. And it certainly starts well as Richard gives a heroic speech to congress about his attempts to build another internet, with Gilfoyle and Dinesh’s mockery amusing.
The way they congratulate Richard is pretty damn great too, with Dinesh’s painfully awful song being enormously funny, and Jared’s thank you speech getting truncated also raising a smile and setting up his motivations for the episode. But then Colin turns up to put a spoke in the wheel as he reveals that Richard lied to congress when it comes to their software supposedly not spying on it’s users, leading to Richard teaming up with Jared to try and blackmail him, and we’re once again back to the formula that the show has relied upon way too often. Cue a rather large sigh, and a storyline which is watchable but little more than this.
Also only okay is a minor subplot with Gavin Belson trying to stop Amazon from buying Hooli, but bar one decent gag it’s not enough to make up for the blandness of the tale and it felt rather rushed. At least there was one fun part with Gilfoyle and Dinesh (who all too often have been the saving grace of a particular episode) where the former creates an A.I. to annoy the latter, only for it to spiral out of control, but it wasn’t enough to save the episode from being quite good but nothing more than that.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on it and it is a series which is impressively acted and directed, and certain snippets of dialogue are beautifully funny. But in it’s first three seasons it was a show which could be dazzlingly hilarious and make me laugh time and again, whereas now it’s amiable and fine and amusing enough but only that, which frustrates. I truly hope things will pick up with the next episode, and see the show go out in a blaze of glory, but due to this opening episode sadly I’m not particularly optimistic that will be the case.