Most of the fan base for this tech History drama were basically included the techno geeks of all ages, and all generational labels … the true geeks, and the closet ones (we know you …. Big Brother watches you playing your Atari 2600 behind your wardrobe!).
The main reason most watched it … the techie history (or so we thought). In general it was really cool trying to place the fictional company with the real innovative company of the time during each episode (of course seeing the gear was fun too). An yes, I too did wince when the ceiling dust fell into the mainframe due to the partying techs on the floor above.
The characters, in general, were spot on to their stereotypes of the day. The appearance of women heavy in influence in the beginnings of the industry also had much truth … many forget NASA butt being saved prior to the computing golden years by women who learned how to program on their own. Many of the female characters were not put in the show just to get viewership … many times, it was really like that.
In the beginning the show seemed to be more the design of a lite docu-drama about computer history in Silicon Valley. Later it seemed to expand into a hodgepodge of dramas (including the required sex scenes concerning all applicable lifestyles to give the typical cable and streaming series message of “you can watch our show … we’re very PC” – this is the only thing where I see TV hurting these days, when good Acting starts to be over-shadowed by the political need to do on-screen CYA). Seasons 1 and 2 were great …. and to the the credit of the writes, if you skipped any scenes you didn’t think applied to the show, the story lines still continued very clearly. Season 3 took me a while to get through, and I even mentioned to wife that it was neat seeing the companies portrayed in seasons 1 and 2 were very cool, but season 3 seems to lack in keeping me interested and I didn’t see a real direction in the writing.
Then season 4 hit. It seems to almost be a continuation of the writing in season 3, but more into the relationships (including family) that were forged and destroyed by the industry – a very real thing. The acting was always decent, but you noticed a higher caliber come into play in season 4. The ending episodes of season 4 brought in a level of writing and acting I haven’t seen in years. If you are a fan of good theatrical acting, but don’t care much about the techie stuff … at least watch the last 4 episodes of season 4 (starting with “Who Needs a Guy”). This is where Gordon passes away due to his health issues. The real highlight is in the last episode where Donna and Cameron go through a dialog about their startup – in about 4 minutes they describe a complete cycle of a company, their relationship in it, and their moving on … in a way that is theatrically award worthy.
Emotionally the last 4 episodes are on the caliber of The Cryptogram. The writers did such an excellent job of making you completely immersed into the families (tech and otherwise) to the point where you felt like you were the one getting on a plane to move away and start over. Emotionally you will be spent.
Don’t miss it …. this is truly one of those gems everyone will end up buying on DVD or digital download in a few years and treasuring (like Heart of Dixie, or All The Rivers Run).