Silicon Valley: Season 3 created by John Altschuler, Mike Judge, and Dave Krinsky (3 Arts Entertainment, Altschuler Krinsky Works, Judgemental Films, Inc.)
Starring Thomas Middleditch, T.J. Miller, Josh Brener, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Amanda Crew, Zach Woods, Matt Ross, Suzanne Cryer, and Stephen Tobolowsky.
*SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS*
Business Got Problems
While not every job requires similar levels of commitment, skill, and knowledge, I would venture a guess that any job with career-focus includes a high level of stress and multiple problems to solve. For every stride of progress, a new challenge emerges.
A multi-national corporation wants to sell your product. On the one hand, hooray! That’s money, money, money. On the other hand, your company needs to scale, fast! Do you have the supply chain necessary to meet the demand of this order? Success brings its own challenges and if you’re unable to deliver, that success gladly departs for greener pastures.
I introduce my review of Silicon Valley’s latest season with this illustration to remind us all of how difficult business can be. When business booms, it can easily disappear in an instant. When business is difficult, you work even harder to find the new account. No matter the circumstances, business will never be easy.
A Gauntlet of Challenges
Over three seasons, the protagonists running Pied Piper have faced a gauntlet of challenges. Lawsuits, product plausibility, funding from venture capital firms. Every possible roadblock to launching a successful startup becomes, well, a roadblock.
For many, this continued strenuous path toward launching a revolutionary app represents tired, repetitive narrative. Protagonist faces a challenge; all looks lost; protagonist invents a unique way forward. This approach, for those critical of the show, resembles Entourage where every episode created drama out of will-he-or-won’t-he get that part, over and over.
I, however, disagree—for the reasons stated above.
At the Base of the Launching Pad
Season 3 sees Pied Piper moving full speed ahead with its millions of dollars in funding behind it. Given the results of Season 2, Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) no longer is the CEO of his own company. In his stead sits Action Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky), an experienced tech leader.
With plush offices and a steady influx of quality hires (note: a sales team), Richard and his group of engineers face new obstacles to success.
With a CEO focusing on quick ROI, Richard quickly encounters the dangers of losing his dream of creating a platform for a quick-and-easy win that limits his technology. And this challenge is only the first of many this season.
Even if Silicon Valley operates with a narrative of challenge-after-challenge, the inventive way in which the writers craft a distinct tapestry ties all the loose threads together at the end of the season. Coupled with the real-life challenges that always keep startups a handful of decisions away from disaster, the difficulties constantly facing the protagonists feels organic.
No matter your line of work, your wins never last long enough and your losses always require quick thinking to keep yourself afloat. In this way, Silicon Valley represents a humorous, satirical take on what business means in the modern world. Well recommended.
Verdict: 5 out of 5