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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Silicon Valley Season 4 (Blu-ray)
Silicon Valley Season 4 (Blu-ray)
HBO // Unrated // September 12, 2017 // Region A
List Price: $18.94 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted September 21, 2017 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

When Mike Judge decided to take his first television show work since the end of King of the Hill to HBO and put together a smart, funny ensemble for it, the start was promising and things were running smoothly. The show has been running along nicely for the first three seasons, and they decided to do something interesting in Season Four.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the group is comprised of Richard (Thomas Middleditch, Search Party), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani, Central Intelligence) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr, Freaks and Geeks), who all live in Erlich's (T.J. Miller, Deadpool) house. Richard is the tech savant with both vision and the execution to do it, and has done so in the past under Erlich's faux mentorship and with supporting contributions from Dinesh and Gilfoyle.

Season 4 finds Richard in a bit of a flux after having stepped down from the company he helped build (Pied Piper, whose main product was initially a video compression service), and began work on a new product, while his friends tried to keep Pied Piper going. In the process of stepping down, Richard began to court investors for a new product, a "new internet," as he called it, and the idea proved interesting but dangerous.

If you take away the laughs that past seasons, and this one brought for fans of Silicon Valley, the main story arc for season four would appear to be Richard's quest to get some support for this product and he starts to take a cynical turn that those around him slowly recognize over the course of the season. Some recognize it immediately, but it's the relationship Richard has with Jared (T.J. Miller, In The Loop) that bears the most review in Season Four. Jared had been so loyal and devoted through most of the show that to witness his loyalty tested and boil over when the two (along with Dinesh and Gilfoyle) are in a security holding area at Hooli-Con (an industry show hosted by a Google-esque company) that the venom is powerful and understated. Woods is one of the funnier components of the show in past seasons, this one he serves as its heart in a strange way.

The show keeps the supporting cast involved and gives them their own comic moments, and antagonists like Gavin (Matt Ross, The Aviator), Jack (Stephen Tobolowsky, Groundhog Day) and Russ (Chris Diamantopoulos, Empire State) are brought in as periodic reminders to this, and serve as a mirror to Richard's actions in retrospect. The pairing of Miller and Jimmy Yang ( The Internship), who plays Chinese programmer Jian-Yang, remains funny and steps up the action in this season as well, with a hotdog mobile app being a centerpiece of the hilarity.

With the bulk of the show's momentum on his shoulders, Middleditch provides a better than expected depth to Richard and takes the character to different depths while maintaining a comic background. He does this easily for something that would appear to be a challenge to maintain, and it's worthy of complement. Season Four of Silicon Valley certainly went into darker and unfamiliar ground for Judge and company and the path is incomplete at the moment, but the cast appears to be up for the challenge.

The Blu-ray:
The Video:

So Season Four's 10-episode run of Silicon Valley is on one disc. Before diving into it, I'll note when I first tried to play the disc, I received an error saying that the disc may not have been finalized which considering the nature of the material gave me a minor chuckle. Nevertheless, the AVC encode for each of these 1.78:1 presented installments is generally clean and without concern. Colors and flesh tones are replicated accurately and without concern. There are occasional moments of crushing and noise during the last part of the season but everything looks like it did when it first aired lo so many months ago.

The Sound:

DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround for all 10 episodes, with the overall results being free of complaints. The rap music that opens and closes each show sounds clean and represents the low end nicely, more dynamic moments like the scenes in Hooli-con provide smart directional effects and channel panning on crowd noise and events in the hall that sound natural and convincing (to say nothing of Russ driving off to Papa Roach blaring from his car in episode 1), and quieter moments of dialogue are well-balanced over the course of the show. Solid work.

Extras:

The only extra is a trio of deleted scenes (2:44), which is a disappointment for a show that just got done airing its most recent season three months ago.

Final Thoughts:

After three seasons where Silicon Valley went for the laughs and avoided making some challenging choices for its characters, Mike Judge takes Season Four in a different direction which, if you look past the comedy, makes you wonder where things will head in Season Five. The seeds for Middleditch's heel turn were planted in previous seasons, so you can't necessarily jump into the fourth season without a primer, but I wonder if we'll look back on this season of the show and speculate whether it's a McGinley or a Mike Farrell. Nevertheless if you missed out on Season Four when it aired, now's your chance to get up to speed.

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