By Will Ashton
Among the most engaging new TV comedies of 2014 is Silicon Valley, the newest work from Mike Judge centered on an up-and-coming tech company centered in the titular town. While the season has been somewhat up-and-down, if not undeniably wobbly, there is still a lot of good here, it just might need a season or two to really nail itself down. Much like Community did between its first and second seasons.
While there were only eight episodes within the first season of this new HBO sitcom, there were enough good ones that deserved to be singled out and looked favorably upon. So, with that in mind, let’s look at the top 5 episodes of Silicon Valley, season one.
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5. Fiduciary Duties
Directed by Maggie Carey
While certainly not the best episode in the season, this episode is successful at making good use of the little things. Particularly, through Big Head—who is mostly forgotten about in the rest of the season, sadly—and Peter Gregory, who, in my opinion, is the show’s best character, and certainly its most fascinating. It is clear that the showrunners had some big, big plans for this character, but, unfortunately, due to actor Christopher Evan Welch’s untimely passing, they had to awkwardly find ways to not get the character involved inside the show. Which is a shame, in more ways than one of course, but more so when reflecting on how great he was in episodes like this.
4. Signaling Risk
Directed by Alec Berg
Again, not the best episode of the season, but this was one of the ones that was the best at establishing the communitarian nature of these guys, especially in witnessing them come together to form a team. While not the funniest episodes, this is one with a little more heart than most, which is certainly needed in a show that makes its fun through the dry, computer-savvy generation of 20-somethings today. This is one the episode with the best one-liners or the funniest gags, but it is definitely the most heart-felt episode as far as I can remember.
3. Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency
Directed by Mike Judge
After a couple of wobbly, unfocused episodes, this season finale finally was able to focus on what the show was establishing itself about, while also making sure that they bridge the gap between what they needed to finish and what they needed to establish for the time to come. With what could be one of the funniest and oddly smartest recurring dick jokes in television history, along with some great character moments throughout, this episode is able to bring the show back its brains and its laughs in a success one-two punch. Above all, however, it brings the hope back that this show will continue to be a promising and hilarious show for our time.
2. Articles of Incorporation
Directed by Tricia Brock
Following the inconstant second episode, this third one was what brought things back together—if even for just a brief period of time. With the writing back and perhaps sharp as it ever is this season, along with great jabs and character moments all around, this episode was definitely one of the show’s biggest successes and high notes thus far. This is when the show started to pull together its great one-liners and building on its chemistry between its cast, while also at least somewhat sure-footing what the show should make itself out to be.
1. Minimum Viable Product
Directed by Mike Judge
Of course, however, there is no denying that the pilot was the strongest, funniest and refreshing episode of the season. With a confidence that sadly started to disappear with the rest of the season, and a sharpest that would eventually come and go, this was when the show truly was at its peak and most inspired. The writing is the best, the one-liners are to die for, and the story is definitively at its tightest and most focused here. All rather rare for a show to do at once, let alone one that is a comedy. That is what made this pilot so special, and showcased what greatness this show could truly be.