For the next several weeks I’m going to be watching the final scenes of every episode of the new series of Game of Thrones.
But it isn’t because I’m too lazy to watch anything except the cliffhanger endings, and it’s certainly not because I care about the fate of that weird-looking throne thing – no, I’m tuning into Sky Atlantic every Monday at 10 so that I can watch the long-awaited series two of Silicon Valley, scheduled after GoT.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but my favourite book of all time is Microserfs by Douglas Coupland; written in the mid-90s, it’s about the employees of a small tech start-up company in California as they try to rediscover themselves following many long and thankless years working at Microsoft. Coupland’s characters are obviously a bunch of weirdos as per their creator, and I always imagined what a great TV series it would make.
Silicon Valley is as close as it gets – co-created by Mike Judge, it shares many of the same hallmarks; a fledgling software company, its neurotic yet relatable employees and the downright bizarre behaviour of a culture that’s building the roads toward a supposed utopia of tech with all the turf wars and misguided predictions it would bring.
And it’s funny as hell, with a great cast and some inspired interplay between them. I already liked Zach Woods from In The Loop and Veep, and especially for his role as Gabe in later, admittedly Carell-less and therefore weaker seasons of The Office, but as the unassuming former corporate exec Jared, he’s a great foil for the boisterous Erlich Bachman, played by TJ Miller, who’s on board as the wannabe-rockstar face of the company. The real brains of the operation are supplied by founder Richard (Thomas Middleditch, who played Dwight Schrute’s brother in that backdoor pilot for The Farm, which thank goodness didn’t get made if it meant missing out on this) and his ‘odd couple’ argumentative staff of Dinesh and Gilfoyle.
The first episode of season two of Silicon Valley neatly (and very funnily) dealt with the offscreen death of Pied Piper backer Peter Gregory, who was played in series one by Christopher Evan Welch until his real-life death halfway through filming the episodes. He’ll really be missed as the programme progresses, but his replacement (played by Suzanne Cryer) was pretty decent in her opening scenes, displaying some of the same social awkwardness as her predecessor.
I really can’t wait to see the rest of the series – it’ll be tough to replace the scene-stealer who was definitely my favourite thing about series one, but I’m confident that the first-season nerves are over and we can now settle in for some even greater stories and jokes.