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HBO's Silicon Valley Sitcom: Hit or Miss?

HBO's new show based on the startup scene is meant to both champion and ridicule the people it portrays.
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The entertainment industry has been looking to Silicon Valley for screenplay inspiration for years -- and the resulting films and TV shows have been somewhat hit or miss.  But HBO's latest attempt to capture the character of the Northern California tech mecca might end up being the one that resonates.

"Silicon Valley just might be the first show that not only earns laughs from a wide audience, but some solid insider cred, as well," wrote film critic Chuck Barney, who was one of the handful of critics to give the show a stamp of approval at a press preview last week. 

So what's so different about this show?

Likened to HBO's hit Entourage, the show "takes a comic look at the modern-day epicenter of the high-tech gold rush, where the people most qualified to succeed are the least capable of handling success," according to production notes. Alec Berg, executive producer of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld, and Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head and producer of Office Space, teamed up to produce the half hour-long sitcom. In order to try to accurately portray the startup scene, Berg and Judge said they did extensive research on the community and its inhabitants, which included watching lots of TED talks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  

Judge said the show is meant to both celebrate and laugh at the group of people it's based on, according to IGN. "I really like the characters. How staggering is the technology that these guys are cranking out and how much are they changing our lives? Massively,” Judge said. But he added, "Anyone who takes themselves too seriously is ripe for a kicking."

The show follows several other attempts to capture the essence of the Valley. The 2013 film The Internship, which gently pokes fun at a fraternity-like atmosphere at Google, received an average critic rating of 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. There was also Bravo's 2012 reality show Startups: Silicon Valley -- cancelled after just one season. The jury is still out on Amazon's comedy the Betas, which is wrapping up an 11-episode season. Similar to the show Silicon Valley, Betas follows a group of friends as they try to find startup success in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is scheduled to premiere on HBO April 6. 

IMAGE: courtesy of HBO
Last updated: Jan 13, 2014

LAURA MONTINI | Staff Writer

Laura Montini is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.




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