Silicon Valley: Season 5

Starring: Thomas Middleditch, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods   Created by: John Altschuler, Mike Judge, Dave Krinsky

Immediately after viewing the first three episodes of Silicon Valley Season 5 on my laptop, I proceeded to drop my laptop. It landed on the power cord, shorting it out and forcing me to order a new one online. Did you know that a laptop will constantly restart over and over if connected to a shorted power supply? Yeah, me neither. In order to write this preview in a reasonable amount of time, I’ve had to use the talk-to-text feature on my iPhone to compose the vast majority of it. It’s almost more poetic to write this using technology that is supposed to make things easier but feels like it makes things more difficult at the same time.

Anyways. Silicon Valley Season 5.

If you’ve never seen the show, it’s about a plucky group of entrepreneurial geeks who band together to form Pied Piper. They also take on the venture capital-driven hellscape of Palo Alto. It’s a show that is both a serialized story of tech wizardry, personal cascades and monumental snapshots of tech culture.

When last we left our intrepid nerds, things look good for Pied Piper. Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) has managed to secure the team the deal of a lifetime and a chance to design an entirely new Internet. First three episodes of season five focussed mainly on the Piper crew aggressively scaling up their operation, or at least stumbling their way through it like the proverbial bull in a China shop. Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) obviously take this opportunity to escalate there pettiness and competition to new heights. Jared (Zach Woods) is left to manage friends and coworkers that are literally leaving blood on the wall and puke on the floor.

In a slightly new and wholly welcome story thread, Jian Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) is capitalizing on the exit of Ehrlich Bachman (T.J. Miller, who exited the show last season) in any way he can, even if it means that he has to fake deaths. His long-term goals are, as always, vague. For now, he seems, to only want to rule over the shattered remains of his former landlord’s life.

The main antagonist for the season appears to be Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) once again and his not-Google megacorp hooli. It’s a little odd that in five seasons this character has not really given us anything particularly shocking. He also remains a very entertaining bad guy. By this point in the show, I’m willing to bet that some viewers are either feeling kind of sorry for him, or are maybe even rooting him on.

Silicon Valleys strength has never really been in coming up something new. Instead, it’s more about the same entertaining tropes being affected by the topsy-turvy world of Palo Alto. This, as well as new tech trends that we are experiencing today being pseudo-commented on by the writers. In fact, season over season the opening sequence of the show has changed in hidden and hilarious ways by showing the actual shifts in the tech industry. I find it very entertaining to track down those changes. Keep an eye on the Facebook logo this time if you want a keen political joke.

Verdict: WATCH IT! While I don’t think Silicon Valley: Season 5 offer anything particularly new or outside the box. I’m also not sure that I can say it really needs it. Truthfully, Silicon Valley is more of a “slice of life” show. There is a serial story element to it., but there’s really nothing that ever changes. It’s more about how the characters tick, react and slowly grow. In a weird roundabout way, it’s charming.

I can say that the shows’ energy still feels very much alive and is still worth the time.

Silicon Valley: Season 5 premieres on HBO March 25th.

Giancarlo Paniccia

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