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Newcomers To The Emmy Writing Races

Silicon Valley’ Chips Away at Life

The genius of the writing on “Silicon Valley” is that it essentially springs from one existential joke: We’ve never had more access to high-tech toys and our lives have erupted into chaos.

To wit, Mike Judge’s freshman HBO series gleefully mocks the inventions meant to make everyday tasks easier but that, ultimately, lead to increased stress levels and, in case of neurotic 26-year-old programming whiz Richard (Thomas Middleditch), a dire medical profile. “We had a meth addict in here this morning that was biologically younger than you are. He was 58,” a doctor tells him.

The show makes fun of geeks while proving that we are all geeks ourselves.

— Malina Saval


 

Ray Donovan’: Southie meets Southland

It’s easy to gain attention when you’ve got legends like Jon Voight and James Woods spouting your dialogue — but in order to keep momentum, you’d better give them good lines.

In Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” creator Ann Biderman and the writing staff meld the worlds of South Boston swagger and Calabasas housewife oppression with a bit of L.A. attitude.

The audience learned a vulgar term for a sexual act, why you should ask about a guy’s mother before you shoot him, and why a stalker might have been happier if he’d chosen option B when the unflinching heavy offered him the choice of (what’s in) “the bag or the bat.”

— Whitney Friedlander


 

True Detective’: A Tale For Its Time

Nic Pizzolatto’s auteur-de-force first season of “True Detective” featured no fewer than three unreliable narrators, some of the most intellectual musings ever uttered in TV fiction, and enough red herrings to sate a pod of whales. It also offered a bromance for the ages and one of the most compelling smallscreen mysteries since “Who killed Laura Palmer?”

Someday “True Detective” may be cited as a perfect show for its moment, with its cynical view of bedrock institutions (government and religion), its deeply flawed heroes, and HBO’s usual lurid sex and violence. Moreover, the series is perfect for the age of binging or repeat viewing.

Self-indulgent? We wish more scribes would so indulge themselves.

— David S. Cohen

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