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Silicon Valley: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD Review)

HBO’s Silicon Valley has been a bit of a pop culture phenomenon for a few years now. The show has found itself trend setting some catch phrases (My friends and I have been obsessed with “This guy f***s” for a few years now and its not going anywhere anytime soon, ever) and some of the most popular talked about comedic moments on television. It helped jump to its own popularity getting a boost off of being the show that followed Game Of Thrones for its first couple years and sandwiched between that and VEEP. Damn, that’s a hella fantastic 2 hour block of television, is it not? The show sits in such honor at HBO that they’ve decide to demote the series to a DVD only release for Season 5. So, Why So BLU(!!!) fans, if that’s your thing, then go on and pre-order this bad boy now!

Film 

In the fifth season, the Pied Piper team gets new offices and hires a large team of coders to help work on Richard’s new internet. Meanwhile, Jian-Yang tries to prove Erlich is dead so he can become the owner of all his former property, including the idea incubator and the 10% share of Pied Piper. Richard promotes Jared to be the new chief operating officer for Pied Piper, and Jian-Yang goes to China to build a rip-off of Pied Piper.

One of the big things going forward with Silicon Valley in its fifth season was the departure of original cast member TJ Miller and his character Erlich Bachman. Miller famously announced he “left” the show right before the fourth season finale. While he was quite a presence, moving on without him didn’t seem like it would be difficult. This is a strong group of characters, each capable of taking lead in any episode and all deserving of their own personal arcs for a season. And…Yeah, the fifth season affirms that.

Its pretty impressive how Silicon Valley seemingly is able to spin new takes on essentially the same thing every season and make it feel quite fresh and fun. The teamwork and players are function how they always should and aren’t ones for huge amounts of growth, but the tech is what changes and brings forth such obstacles. There will be new angles with cameo players and sometimes classic characters from the past will show up just when you need it and kill it.

An aspect of Silicon Valley that I’ve always discussed but I don’t think goes incredibly noticed as people tend to moreso point toward the humor, but the show carries quite a good bit of suspense. There is good tension and always very high stakes where everything is or isn’t lost. As hard as our characters fight every season, they aren’t always rewarded and a lot of it will be for naught by season’s end. However, we care so much about these oddballs and explaining code and networking to us in ways we understand, helps us get behind and get involved in the proceeds, and it slyly keeps us on the edge of our seat.

Five seasons and no sign of really letting up. This one was two episodes shorter than what came prior, but it still worked in a terrific story and new fun with our group. Its a leader in a genre that may not have a classification yet; the 30 minute comedy-drama. Shows like GLOW and Silicon Valley are more than just 30 minute one camera comedies. They actually utilize great character work and give excellent drama with its characters. In a time where shows are long just to be long and are padded with too many episodes, Silicon Valley is a welcomed, lean machine of excellence.

Episodes

Grow Fast or Die Slow

Reorientation

Chief Operating Officer

Tech Evangelist

Facial Recognition

Artificial Emotional Intelligence

Initial Coin Offering

Fifty-One Percent

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-2 NTSC

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: DVD-9

Clarity/Detail: Well, Silicon Valley fans, HBO has stopped your collection dead in its track in form of a DVD brick wall. Another head scratching decision to just put something out on the most inferior format is here. All on 1 whole disc. This image feels kinda thin and lacks a full, solid, bold projection you’d get from a modern video. Colors are dingy looking and details are definitely lacking. For a DVD, this is fine, but I’ve even seen better in terms of SD DVDs in modern times. Overall this’ll have to do, but your Digital HD copy probably holds more value than this.

Depth: It does the best with what we’re given, but the nature of the beast is a flatter experience. Movements are fine, but still muddled by some jitter/blur during the more rapid bursts.

Black Levels: Blacks are solid, complete with some crushing issues in every episode. Details are hidden when things like the scene or clothing or texture is too dark.

Color Reproduction: Colors are decent enough. As I mentioned the whole image is just kind lacking a bold punch and it extends to the colors. Blues, Oranges, Reds and Greens come through best.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and look consistent from episode to episode for the whole season. Facial details come across best in a close up of an actor.

Noise/Artifacts: Typical DVD issues are abound here.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is pretty good. A better experience than the video. Its got some punch and more than does the trick here with a good balance that actually finds itself some good intricacies in the mix. The drums and such at the beginning are always a real treat.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Things slamming and crashing, car engines and some music bumps actually do an impressive job of bumping your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Its a more front heavy mix, but there are some nice contributions from the rear channel. Movement and placement up front are pretty accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and plenty audible at all times.

Extras 

Silicon Valley: The Complete Fifth Season is 1-disc comes with a High Definition digital copy of each episode. There are no supplemental features. The rating of a 0.5/5 is for doing us a solid and at least providing the digital copy in high definition.

Summary 

Silicon Valley’s fifth season shows no signs of the show losing steam. What has lost steam is its home video release. Really, HBO? Another DVD? Ugh. Thanks for the free high definition digital copies, but these DVDs are a slap in the face. If you were to take new shows going forward and go back to such an inferior format, then by all means. Its stupid and many steps backward, but okay. But, to shop a show that has been released on Blu-ray all the way up til now and cutting it off irks those who have been collecting and were planning on picking up the fifth to go on their shelf. If its going to be this and no Blu-ray, skip it and just buy the digital copy online. Unless you’re in need of some coasters.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Silicon Valley: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD Review)”


  1. Brian White

    GD Shame! That’s all I’ll say. My shelf will go empty. Can’t believe it’s only on DVD 🙁