Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Silicon Valley season six review - The boys are back, but not for long

Silicon Valley season six review - The boys are back, but not for long

Silicon Valley season six, now available on Neon, and on SoHo2 on Mondays at 8pm (started on 28 October) and encores Thursdays from 31 October, 11.30pm.
Silicon Valley

The end is near for the Silicon Valley boys, and to be honest, it has to be said that it was about time.

While initially Mike Judge's take on the underdogs in Silicon Valley's techland offered many laughs and a nice progression over the first few series, the show itself starting to hit a bit of a creative rut.

Each season put the Pied Piper boys in a corner, gave them seemingly insurmountable obstacles and then had them win in the final moments. It started to become formulaic, and while that bar was initially a high one, the repetition was grating.

Especially in light of real life events within the tech world, the ever-asked question about our information and privacy - everything started to render the well-written show somewhat redundant.
Silicon Valley

So, a final season was announced, and in its opening moments, Thomas Middleditch's Richard Hendricks is in front a congressional hearing talking about never taking people's data and also taking the high moral ground. But it's not without pratfalls.

However, the tone for the final season has been set - it's clearly about what lengths Hendricks is prepared to go to and at what cost the so-called right thing will come.

That's not to say that in the first three previewed episodes of season six, streaming now on Neon, the script's not above dishing out some quietly devastating moments if you've invested in these characters over the years.
Silicon Valley

A chasm's opening up within the Pied Piper gang, once so outside the establishment that they couldn't even get a look in. Now they straddle the corporate world having gone from the shoddy think tank of TJ Miller's bong-smoking Ehrlich Bachman to the endless floors of a big time building, packed with programmers and coders, all just cogs in the Pied Piper machine.

The biggest shock comes in an early casualty of a deepening split between two of the very best friends, an early sign of a rot kicking in.

Elsewhere in episode two, it's Gilfoyle vs HR, and episode three marks a very serious shift in what's been the status quo of the landscape since season one, and one that may well push Richard deeper into his uncertain position.

It's not that the three episodes of the latest season radically shake things up, more that it shows a relative change in the moral dimensions of the series. Ethical codes are grappled with at both a personal and professional level.

But the fact these are half of the final series' episodes (an abbreviated season will only have seven in total) does show that small seeds planted over the series' entire run appear to be coming to tragic fruition. It may be Mike Judge et al have learned from a rushed Game Of Thrones, but there's no sign of the series speeding along simply to hit a finale and to move pieces to where they should be.

That's not to predict tragedy - sometimes, Silicon Valley's greatest dramatic strengths have come from the fact defeat from victory, and it would be beneficial to see more of that in the final run.

Ultimately, Silicon Valley remains eminently watchable - but dramatically, it seems real life is outpacing the narrative, and even though this year's theme is about the lies we tell ourselves, the final impact of them could be devastating for Jared, Richard, Dinesh and Gilfoyle - and that's a drama that's worth investing in.

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