Time to start another semi-irregular series here! This one, “Shows that Rule”, will visit shows I’m digging at the moment as well as revisiting shows of yore. As far as the latter is concerned, I plan on doing write-ups of True Detective, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Twin Peaks, and Lost at some point, so stay tuned. Just because a show is over doesn’t always make it irrelevant, after all. That’s actually the hallmark of a great show!
Onto 2014. Fact: Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley is fucking brilliant. As someone born in 1984, I am part of the so-called Millennials or Generation Y or whatever the hell we are. Silicon Valley manages to capture this era without being lame and promoting it in some weird way, and there’s thankfully no shoehorned faux-nostalgia that’s so annoyingly rampant in media these days.
I’ve always admired Mike Judge, from the early days when I’d sneak around to watch the quintessential Beavis and Butt-head rerun on MTV while trying to avoid explaining what I was watching to my parents. As a brazen 12 year-old, I snuck into a screening of Beavis and Butt-head Do America and told my parents I was seeing Jingle All the Way, for shit’s sake. There was that certain something I latched on to and dug about his style and writing even from a very young age.
Judge has a knack for creating down to earth portraits of specific archetypes. His honesty and humour are sharp and the dialogue is always tight, traits which carry over easily to Silicon Valley. His eerily prophetic Idiocracy still hits all the right (unfortunate) culture commentary notes here in 2014, and he’s continuing that trend now. Silicon Valley has a fantastic ensemble cast, and they’re all really entertaining to watch; I feel like I know these guys.
Let’s face it, someone has to poke fun at Palo Alto and the complete absurdity going on in and around the tech sector. This show goes after brogrammers, god complex engineers, hysterically eccentric billionaires, and weirdly zen CEOs. Most of these real-life people are so fucking ridiculous and/or silly that the show writes itself, but Judge and his team really succeed in creating interesting and sympathetic characters amongst the dark dredges of insufferable Hip(TM) tech companies.
Speaking of the tech sector, I’m also very interested in how AMC’s upcoming 1980s period drama Halt and Catch Fire will fare. The PC revolution is a really fascinating time in history, and (if it’s good) I think it could serve as a bizarro companion piece to Silicon Valley for sure. I feel like Silicon Valley serves as the dark 1985A future of Halt and Catch Fire that none of those poor schmucks saw coming.
So, get your ass on HBO and check it out already! You’ll be glad you did.