Computers and comedy abound in “Silicon Valley”’s season premiere

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HBO’s original content has been quite good lately, and Silicon Valley is no exception. The fourth season premiere, “Success Failure,” offers a fresh and funny approach to a series that had been starting to go stale. Written by series creator Mike Judge, this episode takes the show in a bold and much-needed new direction that promises to redefine character dynamics.

The acting, as per usual, is great; everybody embodies their character well. The episode’s best lines are divided between T.J. Miller’s brash software designer and investor Erlich Bachman and the loyal, innocent Jared Dunn (Zach Woods). This is hardly surprising considering that these two characters have the highest comedic potential. Still, it is a testament to Miller and Woods’ comedic timing that Bachman and Dunn come off as well as they do.

This episode also fully introduces hapless coder Nelson Bighetti’s (Josh Brener) stern father, played by Patrick O’Connor, who is a welcome addition to the cast. Although O’Connor only appears briefly, he seems as though he will play a larger role as the series continues. The contrast between his hostile treatment of Erlich and tenderness towards Nelson creates one of the episode’s best scenes.

“Success Failure” also marks the return of Silicon Valley’s funniest character: Billionaire investor Russ Hanneman (Chris Diamantopoulos). Hanneman’s complete disregard for basic social mores makes him an absolute pleasure to watch. Like Bighetti’s father, Hanneman only appears briefly. His appearance, however, is easily the highlight of the episode.

A new dynamic is established between the nefarious owner of the seemingly innocuous tech company Hooli, Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), and fellow antagonist “Action” Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky). Their thin friendship has now begun to unravel, leading to hilarious results.

The season four premiere of Silicon Valley not only includes some exciting changes that will shock long-time viewers, but also serves as an adequate jumping-on point for those hoping to start watching the series. This is the best Silicon Valley has been in a long time; hopefully it can maintain this uptick through the rest of season four.

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