tv critic’s corner

‘Silicon Valley’ or bust

T.J. Miller (left) and Thomas Middleditch in “Silicon Valley.”
T.J. Miller (left) and Thomas Middleditch in “Silicon Valley.”Frank Masi/HBO/HBO

Silicon Valley Sunday at 10 p.m., HBO

The first season of Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley” was amusing. Season two was better written and funnier. Now, with season three, which starts on Sunday night, the comedy has become even more tightly written and dependably entertaining.

I enjoyed every minute of the first three episodes HBO made available for review. They pick up right after the end of season two, with Richard — played by Thomas Middleditch — newly fired as CEO of the software company he created. He’s beside himself with anger, in a distinctively Richard kind of way that involves a lot of twitches, stammers, and googly eyes. Is the new CEO of Pied Piper — played enigmatically and brilliantly by Stephen Tobolowsky — yet another one of the show’s many bad-guy bosses? Or is he a gentle billionaire?


All of the side characters, from the grandiose Erlich (T.J. Miller) to the fey Jared (Zach Woods), have really come into their own. There’s a great exchange between Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) in which they want to trash Richard, but they keep wanting to use the disclaimer “Richard is great, but, you know.” So they shorten the disclaimer to “RIGBY,” and then keep their complaint session moving along briskly.

Along with the dialogue, “Silicon Valley” also has a good overall sense of story line when it comes to the politics and shenanigans of start-up culture. The battle for the heart and soul of Pied Piper is at stake, with Richard as the knight trying to save the creative impulse in a battle against corporate greed.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.