Silicon Valley: Start-up stars are subject of HBO's latest sitcom
Friday 10 January 2014
Some tech billionaires are now celebrities on a par with movie stars, so it seems only fitting that HBO should give the Bay Area tech industry its own show along the lines of Entourage.
Silicon Valley, a sitcom scheduled to debut in the US on 6 April, is set in the cutthroat world of California internet start-ups and venture capitalists. Like Entourage, which followed the frivolous antics of a Hollywood actor and his closest friends, the darkly comic new show will focus on a tight-knit group of tech worker friends, but also feature regular cameos from some real-life Silicon Valley stars.
Silicon Valley was co-created by the veteran comedy writers Mike Judge and Alec Berg. Judge, the creator of King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead, enjoys a cult reputation in the tech world for his portrayal of IT workers in the 1999 film Office Space.
The first series of eight half-hour episodes was commissioned by HBO, the cable channel responsible for Entourage as well as Girls, Veep and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which previewed the first two episodes to critics this week during the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena.
Judge and Berg revealed that not only had they done serious research into the Bay Area tech business and the colourful characters it contains, they also had personal experience of the scene they planned to satirise. Before becoming a successful TV writer and filmmaker, Judge worked as a test engineer in Silicon Valley. Berg’s brother, meanwhile, worked for Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft.
Since the release of The Social Network in 2010, television executives have sought to emulate the Facebook biopic’s vast commercial and critical success. HBO’s new series is a reflection of the cultural power now wielded by the tech industry.
Amazon, which like its rival Netflix is moving into original programming, recently released its own start-up sitcom, to middling reviews. Betas, whose show-runners are former King of the Hill writers Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland, is about a group of nerdy friends developing a dating app in San Francisco.
In 2012, Bravo broadcast a “scripted reality” show, Startups: Silicon Valley, which purported to reveal the lives of six aspiring internet entrepreneurs. It received a critical mauling from reviewers and tech industry insiders and was cancelled after a single series.
Silicon Valley centres on Richard, a shy, nerdy computer programmer who lives with several tech worker friends in a “start-up incubator” home owned by a smug dotcom millionaire. The show’s creators said they were particularly taken with the conflicted philosophy of Silicon Valley’s tech residents. “They all have to shroud their capitalism with this ‘We’re making the world a better place’ thing,” said Judge.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, while the show is clearly satirical, Judge and Berg are not wholeheartedly critical of the characters they plan to portray. “It’s hard to say what they’re doing is bad,” said Berg. “But anyone who takes themselves too seriously and is full of themselves is ripe for a kicking.”
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Christmas 2014: The three most intriguing celebrity panto appearances
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyonce '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed and films daughter Blue Ivy in lo-fi homage to viral video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track