This week on the small screen

The good, the Beyoncé and the ugly.

By
June 16, 2016 11:09
3 minute read.
HBO's Silicon Valley

HBO's Silicon Valley. (photo credit: PR)

The show I find myself looking forward to the most recently is HBO’s Silicon Valley, which is deep into its third season. If you haven’t been watching this satire of the hi-tech industry, you can catch up with the first two seasons on YES Binge and with the third season, which is possibly its best so far, on YES VOD. Episodes of Silicon Valley air on YES Oh at Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.

The show chronicles Richard (Thomas Middleditch), a sweet nerd who has a genius idea, and what happens on the way to marketing it. He comes up with a way of compressing large files that really works easily, unlike the ones we have now (anyone who has tried working with a big file on Dropbox or Jumbo Mail can attest to how un-user friendly these applications are).

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The more you know about the workings of the tech world, the funnier it will be, although I think that anyone familiar with business news from newspapers or cable news will get 95 percent of what happens on the show.

No series works unless you care about the characters, no matter how witty the writing is, and on Silicon Valley you root for Richard and his band of coders and associates. They are the David that fights Goliath – in this case, a version of a Google/ Microsoft behemoth called Hooli.

Hooli’s founder/CEO Gavin Belson (Matt Ross, who played the closeted fundamentalist Alby on Big Love) is the villain of the piece.

Gavin Belson (he is always called by both his names) talks endlessly about his desire to make the world a better place – he likes to be photographed handing out food aid in Africa – but in private is as petty and ego-driven as they come.

Just as success seems to be within Richard’s grasp, Gavin Belson, or other pirates of Silicon Valley, always yank it away. The comedy among Richard and his associates, especially the stoned braggart Erhlich Bachman (standup comedian T. J. Miller), and the suspense as to whether they will succeed make for an utterly winning show.

You can look up the many fake websites for the companies and blogs referenced on the show, among them piedpiper.com, hooli.com and coderag.com A recent article in The New Yorker (which is available on the magazine’s website) detailed how many Silicon Valley bigs have advised the show’s writers and how it is known throughout the tech industry for its accuracy.

If you haven’t caught up with Beyonce’s studio and video album Lemonade, you can watch it on YES Oh at 9 p.m. on June 18. The album has generated a lot of fan enthusiasm and speculation about the identity of “Becky with the good hair,” a woman with whom Beyonce’s husband, Jay Z, may or may not have cheated. The specter of Beyonce as a Good Wife-type is bizarre, but apparently even this pop diva can’t trust her man. Or else, it is all just a performance to sell downloads.

Your kids probably already watched Lemonade online when it was released in April, but if you want to see what all the fuss is about, tune in.

When the AMC channel went live on both HOT and YES recently, I had high hopes that it would bring back the MGM classics that are what made the studio famous. But although the channel now includes several new AMC series, including Fear the Walking Dead and Humans, its movies are the same middling to low quality that they were when it was called the MGM channel.

About once a day, there is a really good movie, such as a classic musical like West Side Story, but the rest of the time it’s unlikely that anyone will tune in to the lackluster offerings. We could really use a good classic movie channel.

At the same time, Netflix still has disappointingly few series and movies available here, about 600 compared with tens of thousands in the US.

Cellcom TV is a better value, with a much wider variety of series on offer for a low fee.


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