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HBO

SERIES INFO

Director:
Various
Cast: Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Josh Brener, Amanda Crew, Christopher Evan Welch, Zach Woods, Matt Ross
Writing Credits:
Various

Tagline:
Diplomacy In Action.

Synopsis:
Following the whirlwind day-to-day existence of Vice President Selina Meyer, Veep hilariously skewers everyday office politics, against the backdrop of the second highest office in the land.

MPAA:
Not Rated

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 2.0
French DTS 5.1
German DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 228 min.
Price: $49.99
Release Date: 3/31/15

Bonus:
• Audio Commentaries for All Eight Episodes
• “Making Silicon Valley” Featurette
• “Techcrunch: Disrupt!” Featurette
• “The Hacker Hostel” Featurette


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Silicon Valley: The Complete First Season [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 16, 2015)

From Mike Judge and Alec Berg, HBO’s Silicon Valley offers a comedic look at the tech industry. This package includes all eight episodes from the series’ first season. The plot synopses come straight from the Blu-ray menus.

Minimum Viable Product: “Computer programmer Richard (Thomas Middleditch) finds himself courted by two major Silicon Valley investors.” As a pilot, “Product” works fairly well. I question how much potential a series that focuses on such emotionally limited characters boasts, but at least the first show gives us reasonable amusement, so I look forward to seeing how it develops.

The Cap Table: “Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch) demands a formal business plan for Pied Piper; Richard hires Jared (Zach Woods), a former Hooli employee.” To a relative degree, “Table” continues along an expository path, as it does more to explain the supporting characters to the audience. However, it also manages decent “plot intrigue” in addition to comedy, so it advances the series pretty well.

Articles of Incorporation: “Richard negotiates to keep his company name; Peter proves elusive when asked for money by one of his companies.” After two episodes largely related to character/scenario exposition, Valley manages to break free from those restraints with the high-quality “Articles”. This seems like the first show that starts to capitalize on the series’ potential; while not packed with laughs, it feels more natural and allows us to see some good material.

Fiduciary Duties: “Richard regrets making Erlich (TJ Miller) a board member; a surprising link between Gavin (Matt Ross) and Peter is revealed.” Though not a bad episode, “Duties” offers a step back after “Articles”. It manages to develop some elements but comes across as a bit forced and not as engaging.

Signaling Risk: “Erlich hires a graffiti artist to do the company logo; Jared tries to increase efficiency; Richard gets a new deadline.” Does the Monica (Amanda Crew) character exist for any reason other than to prevent the series from turning into a sausage fest? Probably not, but she’s gorgeous, so I won’t complain. She also helps motivate some plot details in this fairly eventful and entertaining episode.

Third Party Insourcing: “Richard butts heads with a freelancer; Gilfoyle’s (Martin Starr) girlfriend comes to visit; Jared is taken for a ride.” “Party” takes us down a nuttier than usual path, as we head to Satanic baptism and see antics with a self-driving car and watch a little kid beat up Richard. Though the broad comedy stretches the show, it mostly works, so this turns into a funny episode.

Proof of Concept: “At TechCrunch: Disrupt!, Richard is distracted by a girl he dated briefly; Erlich’s connection with a judge threatens Pied Piper.” As Season One nears an end, matters percolate – at least in the low-key terms of Valley. The tech conference offers a fun setting for various shenanigans. These amuse as they lead us toward the season finale.

Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency: “Pied Piper competes against Gavin Belson at TechCrunch: Disrupt!” Season One comes to a satisfying end with “Optimal”. Much of it seems predictable, as it takes the underdog story when we expect it to go, but it still remains fun and completes the year in a solid manner.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Silicon Valley appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the shows looked attractive.

Sharpness was usually solid. A few wider shots showed a little softness, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the majority of the movie seemed accurate and concise. I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as I witnessed no specks, marks or other debris.

Colors were good. The series opted for a fairly amber palette and the Blu-ray replicated these tones in an appealing manner. Black levels were appropriately deep, and shadows seemed clear and well-rendered. Across the board, the visuals proved to be pleasing.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the shows pretty well but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion. It's a talky little series, so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary. This occurred mostly via gentle environmental ambience, so the surrounds didn’t have a lot to do. That said, the imaging made sense for the story.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. The low-key music that acted as the score was warm and distinctive. Effects also seemed realistic and adequate for the tasks at hand. Valley won't be anyone's demo track, but it worked well for the series.

All eight episodes boast audio commentaries. Here’s what we find:

“Minimum Viable Product”: creator/exective producer/director Mike Judge and actor Thomas Middleditch.

“The Cap Table”: Judge, Middleditch and actors Zach Woods, TJ Miller and Martin Starr.

“Articles of Incorporation”: Judge, executive producer/writer/director Alec Berg and actor Kumail Nanjiani.

“Fiduciary Duties”: Woods, Miller, Nanjiani, Berg and Judge.

“Signaling Risk”: Middleditch, Woods, Miller, Nanjiani, Berg and Judge.

“Third Party Insourcing”: Middleditch, Woods, Miller, Nanjiani, Starr, Berg and Judge.

“Proof of Concept”: Middleditch and Judge.

“Optimal Tip-to-Tip”: Middleditch, Woods, Miller, Nanjiani, Starr, Berg and Judge.

During these chats, we learn about story/character areas, sets and locations, cast and performances, tech elements and deleted scenes. Though that list of subjects sounds thorough, the commentaries don’t tell us as much as it implies – but they give us enough to make them useful.

Really, the commentaries become enjoyable mostly due to the interaction of the participants, as they tend to make them fun. With so many actors present, we get decent notes about character traits and performances, and I like the details about altered/cut scenes. The tracks could be more informative, but they work reasonably well anyway.

A few featurettes follow. The Making of Silicon Valley goes for 12 minutes, 32 seconds and includes comments from Judge, Middleditch, Berg, Miller, Starr, Nanjiani, Woods, consulting producers Clay Tarver and Dan O’Keefe, executive producer Tom Lassally, production designer Richard Toyon and actors Josh Brener, Matt Ross and Amanda Crew. The piece covers the project’s origins, story/character areas, cast and performances and how the series displays the tech world. A few minor details emerge, but this usually gives us a promo piece.

TechCrunch: Disrupt! lasts three minutes, 42 seconds and features Berg, Toyon, Lassally, Crew, Judge, consultant Sam O’Keefe and art director LJ Houdyshell. The short gives us notes about the tech conference that appears at the season’s climax. It repeats some bits from “Making” but it comes with a couple of decent factoids.

Finally, The Hacker Hostel takes up six minutes, 18 seconds with a tour of the series’ main home set. Miller leads us through the house and gives us info about the different spots; Middleditch, Starr, Woods and Nanjiani pop up along the way as well. This never becomes especially informative but it can be fun.

With Silicon Valley, we get a low-key comedy about Internet tech. The series works pretty well, as it gives us a lot of subtle, satisfying humor. The Blu-ray offers solid visuals as well as decent audio and a few good bonus materials. Valley keeps us entertained across its eight episodes.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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