Silicon Valley (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 1-Apr-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category TV COMEDY SERIES Audio Commentary-Cast and Crew - 8 Episodes
Featurette-Making Of-Making of Silicon Valley
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-TechCrunch:Disrupt
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Hacker Hostel
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 230:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mike Judge
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Thomas Middleditch
Matt Ross
T.J. Miller
Kumail Nanjiani
Martin Starr
Josh Brener
Christopher Evan Welch
Amanda Crew
Zach Woods
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French dts 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Spanish dts 2.0 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Spanish
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Is there a more witty and amusing comedy on TV right now than Silicon Valley? Sure, it doesn't have the broadness of that other show about nerds nor does it have the sharp societal impact of Broad City but it does have excellent writing and strong performances from a cast combining some relative newcomers with long-standing performers.

     Silicon Valley is for anyone who's ever asked the question - how come I work my life to get my bare material pleasures and yet some nerd can just build an iPhone app, sell it and become a multimillionaire overnight?

     Richard Hendriks (Thomas Middleditch) is a painfully shy computer programmer who works for a tech company called Hooli run by Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) in the heart of California's Silicon Valley. On the side he is developing a music app called Pied Piper in an incubator run by Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller), a Z-Grade venture capitalist. Erlich reminds Richard that they are there to make money and that nobody cares about his stupid app - he better wise up fast. The incubator is shared with programmers Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), Gilfoyle (Former Freaks and Geeks actor Martin Starr) and Richard's best friend Big Head (Josh Brener).

     So who is interested in Pied Piper? Everybody and nobody. The app itself, which allows people to check copyright before using music files, is laughably bad but it just happens that the compression algorithm Richard has designed could be the future of music and video on the Internet. A bidding war develops between Gavin Belson and his arch enemy, wildly idiosyncratic genius Peter Gregory(Christopher Evan Welch). Belson eventually offers $10 million, Gregory offers $200,000 for a share in the company. It is seed money allowing Richard to become his own entrepreneur with the sky being the limit. Should he have taken the $10 million? Of course, but then we wouldn't have seen what happens when an inexperienced bunch of guys try to create an empire.

     Season One of Silicon Valley finished in June 2014 and was picked up for a second season which has just started on Foxtel in Australia. Season Three has already been greenlit. It is no surprise. The world seems fresh and interesting and the writing has enough comedy and character to interest a general audience. There are also some jokes thrown in there for the computer savvy geeks-when Gilfoyle describes Big Head as being "as useless as Mass Effect 3's multiple endings " I can't have been the only person giggling…

     The cast is uniformly excellent. Richard is perfectly played by Middleditch as a stereotypical programmer who begins to stretch his wings (only to have them clipped a couple of times!). TJ Miller is great as the boorish know-it-all Erlich. Gilfoyle is a dry character perfectly assayed by Martin Starr and Nanjiani, who previously appeared on Portlandia, is great as Gilfoyle's constant foil. Amanda Crew is the main female voice, as the assistant to Peter Gregory, who tries to keep her disassociated genius boss on track. And Zach Woods perfectly plays Donald "Jared" Dunn who comes to Pied Piper after defecting from Hooli. He is the straightest man on Earth - when Richard defends the name Pied Piper on the basis that it is a beloved children’s tale Jared points that that, after doing research, it is about "a nefarious flautist who murders children in an underground lair".

     Finally a word on the bosses - Matt Ross as Belson is an oily entrepreneur never too far from his personal spiritual advisor. Christopher Evan Welch created a unique character in Peter Gregory who appeared to have no relationship to the real world, only to triumph from his unusual perspective. Take the episode where he arranges for his assistants to buy every Burger King product solely for the purposes of working out an investment in sesame seed futures. Welch passed away through cancer after shooting five episodes. He brings something special to each one of them and will be missed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Silicon Valley is shot on high-definition digital video. It comes to Blu-ray in the widescreen television 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

     The image quality on the Blu-ray is excellent. This is a show about nerds sitting around at their computers and attending meetings. There has been no attempt to stylize the visual production. It is simply a crisp and clear image.

     The flesh tones conveyed perfectly and the colours are vivid and lifelike.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired as well as a United Nations of other subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Silicon Valley has a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. There are also 5.1 tracks in French, German and Spanish.

     This is perhaps overkill for a show which is largely about people chatting but it is impossible not to appreciate the quality of the sound presentation. The dialogue is crisp and clear and the limited surround sound effects are well conveyed. There is not an awful lot for the sub-woofer to do.

     Is it just me or does the opening theme sound similar to the IT Crowd theme?

    There are no problems with the sound transfer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are a number of extras on the Blu-ray.

Audio Commentaries

     There are audio commentaries for each of the episodes. Creator Mike Judge features in all of them, joined by various members of the cast and crew, making for entertaining listening.

Making Silicon Valley (12.32)

     This is a short feature which, truth be told, is entertaining enough as it includes interviews with the cast and crew and some background but doesn't get too deep into the show. Worth a watch...

TechCrunch: Disrupt (3.42)

     The journey to TechCrunch forms the narrative imperative in the second half of the season and the filmmakers were keen to work as closely as possible with the real TechCrunch people to get the scenes just right.

The Hacker Hostel (6.18)

     In a weird blend of character and actor T.J.Miller provides a tour of Pied Piper's HQ set, meeting all the wacky gang along the way.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

   

     This is the same version as in other Regions. Buy local.

Summary

   

    Silicon Valley is a great show that many may not have seen due to its presence on cable TV. Now is the time to get the Blu-ray set and enjoy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, May 16, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayJVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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