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"Silicon Valley": Will HBO's Take on the Tech Industry Get it Right?

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    NEWSLETTERS

    HBO
    "Silicon Valley", a new comedy from Mike Judge about navigating the tech industry as a hot new startup, debuts Sunday, April 6 on HBO.

    The producers of HBO's "Silicon Valley" decided to portray the tech industry in a positive light, both for the comedy's storyline and to lure an audience to the cable channel, according to reports.

    “We couldn’t completely kick over the idea of Silicon Valley,” producer Alec Berg told the New York Times. “If we’re trying to get people to invest in our guys, and what our guys want is to succeed in this business, we can’t have the audience feeling that these guys are wrong to want that.”

    Executive producer and director Mike Judge, of "King of the Hill" and "Office Space" fame, also spent time in the 1980s working as an engineer in Silicon Valley. 

    “I think people in tech are funny, weird, awkward and interesting people, and you just don’t see them portrayed as they are,” Judge told the Times. “I thought I might be one of the few people in Hollywood who could get this crowd.”

    However, the Times seems to think that an audience may not "care enough about the weird guys who make our apps to tune in for eight episodes" or that the "inner workings of software engineers could be a harder sell."
    But isn't "The Big Bang Theory", a comedy about geeky scientists, consistently the highest-rated program on television? Perhaps the Times' TV critic is a little unimaginative, but in Silicon Valley most will be entertained by the portrayal of eccentric billionaire angel investors, or the villainous and spurned corporate billionaire who hires a member of the protagonist's team "as the VP of spite."
    The comedy is about Richard (Thomas Middleditch), a computer programmer that creates an app that can compress files and sets off a bidding war for his work: will he sell it for millions or be the master of his own destiny? There are other characters here, including his self-effacing best friend, Big Head, and other programmers that could be described as stereotypical  -- the nihilistic Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), the naysaying Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), and failed tech entrepreneur Erlich (T.J. Miller).
    There are even cameos by the Silicon Valley regulars, including Google's Eric Schmidt,  Re/Code's Kara Swisher, and a mock TechCrunch Disrupt conference. (Even a Stanford professor was consulted on the show's algorithm for compressing files.)
    If anything, as the producers say, there's likely lessons for those looking to succeed in the Valley. And if that wasn't enough, apparently Tesla founder and billionaire Elon Musk hated the series. So now it's a must-see.
    "Silicon Valley" premieres Sunday, April 6 on HBO.