With a little over a month left for the release of the fifth season, I have been anxiously counting the days ‘til Silicon Valley returns to television. As a result of my impatience to watch the next season, I have recently began to re-watch the fourth reason in hopes of catching hints, especially from the finale, about what is to come in the next season. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, Silicon Valley is a comedy television series that first premiered on HBO in 2014. The show follows the lives of five men as they try to hit it big with their start-up company, “Pied Piper” in Silicon Valley, which is famous for being the tech hub of the world.
The show highlights the struggles that these young men face as they try to stand out and come up with the next best thing as they compete against a plethora of startups and tech giants. The protagonist, Richard Hendricks, who is the founder of Pied Piper, initially started off as a timid but talented programmer in the first few seasons. In the fourth season however, we see a new side to Richard as he becomes more vocal and assertive. Ultimately, Richard steps down as CEO of Pied Piper when he realizes that the company is drifting away from the vision he once had for it. Later on in the season, he once again takes place as CEO and revamps the company with the goals he initially had set out for it.
Consequently, the season also brings to light the downfall of Erlich Bachman, the cocky and loud-mouthed owner of the place that he refers to as Pied Piper’s “incubator”. In the first few seasons of the show, Erlich is portrayed as loud and rambunctious, and often accompanies Richard on his meetings with tech companies to negotiate based on “hostility and rudeness”. In the fourth season, however, Erlich finds himself in a spiraling downfall as he is betrayed by his own business partner and seems to become obsolete to Pied Piper. Unable to find purpose in his life, Erlich leaves his “incubator” and goes to Tibet in order to regain a sense of fulfillment.
While the fourth season of Silicon Valley did have same changes in terms of character development, there still seems to be a sort of repetitive cycle that follows each season. Towards the end of the finale, Pied Piper seems to always be spiraling downwards and is in deep trouble until Richard has a last minute epiphany and manages to save the company. This spiral towards the bottom and rising-again trope has been cycling through since season one when at Tech-crunch, Pied Piper seems to be completely out of the game until Richard comes up with a last-minute idea that completely changes the game for them that leads to their victory. While the show is fairly new and only has four seasons to date- with a fifth one on the way, the writers should consider abandoning this trope and finding a new method to developing their characters further. Aside from Richard, it feels that the other characters on the show are neglected, underdeveloped, and have been pushing the same storyline since the first season. While these storylines currently work for them, I hope the fifth season pushes for further character development, since it is only a matter of time before the novelty factor runs out and viewers lose interest. Additionally, with the exit of one of the main characters of the show, Erlich Bachman, the writers will have to push even harder to make up for his absence so adding a different storyline for the existing characters is almost crucial at this point!
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