Season one of Silicon Valley was a top-notch example of what a comedy can be on television. It was funny yet smart. It had a couple of interesting characters and knew how to do a set piece or two (the masturbation algorithm being a bit of comedic genius). However, it wasn’t exactly something that I thought would have a lot of life. Richard and the Pied Piper gang achieved such a rousing victory in the season one finale that it seemed there couldn’t be much more drama left to be had on the show. The loss of scene-stealer Christopher Evan Welch midway through the first season also wouldn’t help a sophomore effort. While the second season of the show isn’t as good as the first, it certainly did prove me wrong as Silicon Valley remained an impressive comedy in a TV season already filled with them.
The second season of Silicon Valley picks up with series nemesis Gavin Belson (Matt Ross as the funny but conveniently written CEO) suing Pied Piper and forcing Richard (Thomas Middleditch really settling into his lead role) into a business partnership with the unstable Russ Hanneman (Chris Diamantopoulos in a role so good that it might finally break him out of his comedic character actor status).
From the beginning of the series, Silicon Valley has been written by Mike Judge and company as a comedic exploration of digging your characters into a hole and then getting them out of it while continually raising the stakes. The writers for the show somehow continued to up the ante this season while very rarely making it seem like a cop out (although some of the plot twists of the season finale did feel like cop outs). Additionally, this writing team still knows how to do set pieces like the best of them. A negotiation montage in the season opener and a debate between Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) and Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) surrounding an extreme sports athlete are right up there with the masturbation algorithm from the first season.
It also helps that this season allowed a further explanation of the cast. Thomas Middleditch got a lot to work with this season and got to be a lot funnier than the straight man he started off the series as. Meanwhile, Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani developed into scene-stealers just as big as T.J. Miller. Though, It would have been nice if Amanda Crew wasn’t reduced to making a couple of cameo appearances throughout the season as she had some potential coming out of the first season.
Silicon Valley continues to be one of the better comedies on television.