Screen Savors: Coming soon on the small screen

Stay tuned for geeks, witches and criminals

April 15, 2015 16:22
3 minute read.
Silicon Valley TV series

Silicon Valley TV series. (photo credit: PR)

The series Silicon Valley, HBO’s extraordinarily funny show about the world of hi-tech, is coming back for its second season on April 28 on YES Oh on Tuesdays at 10 p.m., and the new season picks just where the previous one left off. Richie (Thomas Middleditch) and his band of nerds – their company is called Pied Piper – had just the crushed the Microsoft-like competition at a tech convention with the fastest data compression algorithm in history, and now they are fielding offers from venture capitalists.

The whole process by which these firms woo them is a 21st-century hi-tech spoof on old-fashioned corporate politics. It turns out that by “negging” – being incredibly negative and insulting – Pied Piper gets the VCs bidding higher and higher. As always, many of the jokes can’t be quoted in a family newspaper, but they are right on target.

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The VC visionary, Peter Gregory, played by the late Christopher Evan Welch, who died after his Season One episodes were filmed, gets a fitting send-off in this episode.

Veep, another satirical comedy series, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a calculating US vice president who constantly needs her put-upon staff to rescue her from herself, will follow Silicon Valley starting April 28 at 10:30 p.m. on YES Oh.

Fanatic Game of Thrones enthusiasts can awaken at 4 a.m. on Mondays to see the latest season of their show on YES Oh (it is then rebroadcast at 10 and is available on YES VOD). But if you’ve seen one too many decapitations on that show, you might want to look elsewhere for violent costume drama.

The Vikings, which runs on YES as well, is not all that different from Game of Thrones, although it is loosely based on medieval history.

The Vikings is very well done but has never particularly grabbed me. It always puts me in mind of this quote from Kingsley Amis’s novel Lucky Jim, “Thank God for the twentieth century!” However, if you still need proof that is it wonderful to live in modern times, check out the series Salem, which is running on YES Drama.

Season Two is coming up soon, and they are re-running the series from the beginning. It was only a matter of time before television’s new golden age would find its way to dramatizing the Salem witch trials.

The show has a good cast, including Shane West (Dr. Ray Barnett from ER) as John Alden; Seth Gabel (from The Da Vinci Code and the TV series Fringe) as Cotton Mather; Israeli-born Iddo Goldberg (The Secret Diary of a Call Girl) as Isaac Walton; and Janet Montgomery (Entourage) as Mary Sibley. But it’s a show that wants to have it both ways: It maintains that witches are real – and there are a lot of scenes of supernatural creatures and witchcraft rituals – and also condemns those who persecute them. So obviously we don’t want to sympathize with the sadistic fundamentalist meanies; but, on the other hand, in this version, there actually are witches and they have a lot of strange powers.

The series is long on atmosphere, as well as on graphic violence. There is also a gross-out factor – there’s a lot of weirdness with frogs, and if you are at all squeamish, this is not the show for you.

If there has been a void in your life since the original Law & Order ended, check out American Crime, which is showing on HOT Plus on Thursdays at 9:15, and on HOT VOD. Like The Killing, it’s a series about a single crime – the murder of a young couple. Timothy Hutton and Felicity Hoffman play the grieving, estranged parents of the young man who was killed. The suspect is a young Mexican, and the show examines both the mystery behind the killing and the back stories of all those involved.

The drama behind the lives of all the characters is at the focus here, and it’s addictive show, with more depth than you would expect from a series with this title.

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