For the last 5 years, Silicon Valley has consistently delivered incredibly funny satire on the new age tech business. In doing so, it has touched upon various issues the industry is infamous for like gender diversity, outlook towards race and colour, bench strength the size of an empire, quick-fire pink slips, the extravagance of wealth by tech moguls and young entrepreneurs alike.
Season 5 is no different in this regard. However, this season does not feel the same because of 2 major reasons, 1. There is no Erlich Bachman (played by T.J. Miller). Apparently, it was a mutual decision to part ways and one of the creators Mike Judge had this to say during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“There are a lot of different ways you can find out somebody doesn’t want to do the show anymore. And it’s not fun to work with someone who doesn’t want to be there, [especially when] they’re one of the main people and you’ve got however many crewmembers and extras and people who are [not paid as well] and they’re all showing up before 7 a.m., and they are just like, ‘Oh, OK, we’re not shooting today.'”
Though they did give Jian Yang (played by Jimmy Yang) more space to fill the void left by Miller, it just wasn't the same. Miller's comic timing and presence were unparalleled. He used to own the scenes he was in, hell even Jian Yang was way funnier when paired with Miller's Bachman. All said and done, the writers did manage the exit well enough and the season holds on it own once you are used to not having Bachman around.
The 2nd reason why the season did not feel the same is because the situations don’t flow as seamlessly as in the previous seasons and honestly, some of them feel really forced. The whole Tesla obsession is way overdone and does not add much to the overall narrative. The new intern for Richard is another such piece. It is evident that the writers are going for more than just comic relief but the idea is to choose the issues and keep as many that you can do justice with them.
On the good side, the performances continue to be fantastic and lift every scene. The pick of the lot is Zach Woods who plays Jared Dunn. He gets some of the best lines and should really thank the writers for that. Kumail Nanjiani (Dinesh) and Martin Starr (Gilfoyle) continue with there antics and spite each other every chance they get. I do think Zach woods is incredible but it is hard to choose when you have Thomas Middletech (Richard Hendricks) for comparison.
Thomas lives and breathes the role of a hard-core techy who is thrown into the entrepreneurial abyss and hence has to suddenly lead and inspire a team.
Season 5 ends on a rare uplifting note with our motley crew looking at a huge office space once occupied by Hooli and in classic fashion, Richard decides to mark the occasion with one of his trade-mark pukes. I'd say the season was definitely less pukey for me than it was for Richard. I enjoyed it on the whole but do hope there is some fresh banter in season 6 and maybe just maybe a possible cameo by someone like Bezos or Cook?
Silicon Valley is an HBO property and is available for streaming in India with Hotstar