|T.J. Miller and Thomas Middleditch in Silicon Valley on HBO.|
As I wrote in my most recent review for Critics at Large, it seems these days as though the nerds have won. In both economic and cultural terms, many occupations and enthusiasms that would once have been looked down upon, or at least greeted with incomprehension, are now both mainstream and quite lucrative. In the TV world, the result has been a wave of new(ish) shows that reflect their cultural dominance, from the rapidly multiplying horde of superhero shows to darker fare like USA’s Mr. Robot. By contrast, a show like The Big Bang Theory feels almost quaint in its depiction of its nerdy protagonists as social outcasts whose goofily eccentric interests and behavior are virtually incomprehensible to the nice, normal Americans who watch network sitcoms.
However, not many shows have attempted to tackle the economic side of the rise of nerd-dom, at least not before the appearance of HBO’s Silicon Valley, which is about to wrap up its third season. Co-created by Mike Judge (of Office Space and Beavis and Butt-head fame), John Altschuler, and Dave Krinsky, it’s a remarkably funny and perceptive comedy that takes satiric aim at the industry that’s come to dominate so much of our daily lives.