Great show, fun times, real people with real emotions.
Take a trip down memory lane to the wild 80's and re-live the birth of the PC [season-1], Norton Utilities [season-2], eBay [season-3], and the Internet [season-3]. I worked for a number of software startups in the 80's, and the writers, actors, and directors do a very nice job of capturing the characters that founded and worked in these places, along with the industry protagonists and wannabes. I was there, and I met these people, I worked with these people, and I was one of these crazy people.
Of course this is all fiction, I've read a review criticizing the writers for having all these inventions happening with one group of people - of course that didn't happen in the real world. So-what and what-if?
It's intriguing and fun to watch how the characters develop and how they fight and how they make-up. It's a great depiction of the era and the people.
I have enjoyed this show from the beginning. I think it's well made. Recreating another time period (1980's) is much harder than you'd think. Set design has challenges like finding old computers and old appliances and ugly 1980's furniture. Clothing has to be period specific. And then there are the outdoor shots where everything in the distance has to be 1980's. They do it flawlessly.
I think it's incredibly well acted. Every actor on the show sells his or her role perfectly. They have changed Joe again for season 3. That'll make 3 major character rewrites in 3 seasons. They do explain why he changes. He goes from the ruthless businessman to the softy when he falls in love and then to a high powered charitable business man on the rebound. At his core he's still the cold blooded guy from season 1 though. Still, it's hard to play a character that's had major development like that, sell the changes to the audience, but keep the character as the same inner person. He does it.
I still think the meat of the show is about the technology development though, more than the people. The entertainment value is in watching the technology we take for granted today being developed. It requires a little suspension of disbelief because it's the same small group of people coming up with major innovations, yet still somehow struggling to keep the companies they run afloat.
In season 1 they invented the laptop computer. In season 2 they invested social networking. In season 3 they appear to be inventing eBay (sort of). I mean, that's a lot of inventing of REALLY successful ideas for one small group of people. But whatever. The joy is in watching these ideas grow and develop. That's what makes the show fun. The character interactions are decent, but for me the real entertainment value is seeing modern technology and ideas in their infancy. Even if one small group didn't invest all these things, you have to think all these things were created in similar ways, by people who had an idea and figured out how to grow it.
Then even get into the early version of Silicone Valley where the game is to partially develop a business and hope to be bought out for a ton of cash. The core group originates that idea too. (They are a creative bunch!)
You almost have to forget what they've done in seasons 1 and 2 and just focus on what they are doing in season 3. If you do that, you still know the characters and what they are doing in season 3 still works and it highly entertaining.
It's very much the same as Forrest Gump in that respect. No one person met 3 presidents, was an early investor in Apple Computers, earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, owned a shrimp conglomerate, and invented both the smiley face t shirt and s--- happens bumper sticker. But its fun to see the same person be involved with all those things.
I do like how they rotate who the main focus is on as far as the characters. In season 1 it was Joe and Gordon. In season 2 it was Cameron. In season 3 it's Donna and Cameron. So they rotate who the most central characters of the story arc are without introducing a lot of new people. I like that style as it keeps the show fresh without sacrificing familiarity.
The show it still holding me so far. I'm hooked on season 3.
One of the best series on from AMC, though not quite in the Breaking Bad league. The writers and actors do a surprisingly effective job of portraying a unique time and place. Warning: For those of us who lived in Silicon Valley during this period it can be a little creepy. Although none of the characters or their companies can be exactly associated with actual people they are composites of real personality types and events that were real. The sets (furnishings, styles, equipment), clothes, cars and so evoke deja vu all over again.
This show is addicting and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. It's an incredibly realistic portrayal of the early stages of the computer and online communities during the 1980's. It's like going back in time and watching Steve Jobs start Apple from his garage. The writing and acting is first rate, and it's a treat to go back in time and relive the age of dial up modems, coding, and all other aspects of the computer era prior to the Internet. Sadly, the series will only run for 4 seasons.
I'm giving it a five star rating despite the fact it's a four star show. Why? Because it's so damn accurate.
I founded a startup four years ago and am currently seeking investment money. My life is very much like that in the story. I am like several of the characters. I meet the other characters (those who aren't like me) every day. The plot twists, often unbelievable, happen with great regularity in the real world. The startup life is the most up/down/up/down thing I have ever lived through.
Why a four? Because many episodes don't really go anywhere. The stories are sometimes dull and the acting flat.
It's the peak episodes, those that really grab you, that make this series, all three seasons, a must watch. At its best it's some of the best TV I've ever seen and the characters will stay with you for a lifetime - much like those in a great book. Plus you'll get a taste of a way of living few can really imagine.
One of the best written shows on television today. I am actually quite sad more folks do not watch this one. I have some of the best conversations analyzing the character profiles with certain folks and it really makes me itch to go back in time and be part of the wild wild west days where gosh the strength of an idea and the games you play to make it. Only difference is these guys are like professionals at self sabotage :) If you have not already you should check out this series. You do not have to be computer literate to understand the dynamics of this show.
Lee Pace is a masterful actor and the heart and soul of this critically acclaimed little seen series, that thankfully AMC keeps renewing. Don't want to give away any of the plot details but this series is on the most interesting ever created and the cast is incredible.