Just yesterday, I pointed out that the Best Dramas on TV are struggling to reach the heights of “Best Dramas” of yester-year, but that doesn’t appear to be the case for TV’s Best Comedies. 2016 was the first year in Alabama Liberal history I chose a comedy (Veep) for Best Series, and “Silicon Valley” is back in fine form after an uneven 3rd season.
Veep…I didn’t think it was possible to top the series-best 5th season—which ended in the jaw-dropping and eerily prescient finale that saw Selina Meyer losing the presidency while winning the popular vote—but season six is off to a great start. It splits up the core group into new directions that pay off well: Dan working for CBS News under a combative anchor, Amy working in the sticks on a Nevada Governor’s race, and best of all Kent and Ben lower themselves to working for Congressman Jonah. And it’s interesting to follow Selina as an ex-President, especially one that was never elected, only served a partial term, and isn’t well-liked. Whereas the first few seasons had stagnating plotlines and overly similar settings, the episodes this season have varied things up nicely from hospital rooms after Gary and Selina had twin heart attacks, the fledging country of Georgia, meetings with a crooked billionaire (clearly based off Sheldon Adelson) and the most dangerous minefield of all: an ultra-P.C. Ivy League college complete with a non-sense protest towards Selina. Grade so far this Season: A
Silicon Valley…Season three had its moments, but it was beginning to look like “Valley” had, ironically, run out of ideas as they burned through half-a-dozen major storylines in as many episodes, almost like they were just throwing things out there they weren’t fully invested in exploring. But I’m pleased to report that season four already feels more focused and much, much funnier. Sure, they’re beginning to stretch credibility that some characters could continuously be so hapless (how has Ehrlich Bachmann lost a fortune so many times?). But if this series is overly misanthropic towards its characters, that may also be refreshing compared to HBO’s more shallow aspirational (“making it”-centered) comedies “How to Make it in America,” “Ballers,” and of course “Entourage.” And the new usage for Pied Piper’s compression technology is interesting. Grade so far this Season: A-