What's Happening?

25.11.14

Winners: International Emmy Awards 2014

So South Africa's Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola didn't win. Sadly. 
The cast of Wat als 2? after winning their Bets Comedy Emmy Award.
PIC: Reuters
Here's the full winners list. (Excited for Utopia! Excellent show, even though it has since been cancelled.)

DRAMA SERIES
Utopia - WINNER
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR
Stephen Dillane - WINNER
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS
Bianca Krijgsman - WINNER
COMEDY
Wat als 2? (What if? season 2) - WINNER
DOCUMENTARY
Frihet bakom galler (No Burqas Behind Bars) - WINNER
NON-SCRIPTED ENTERTAINMENT
Educating Yorkshire - WINNER
TELENOVELA
Precious Pearl - WINNER
TV MOVIE / MINI-SERIES
Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter (Generation War) - WINNER
NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE US PRIMETIME PROGRAM
El Señor de los Cielos - WINNER
ARTS PROGRAMMING
The Exhibition - WINNER

24.11.14

International Emmy Awards 2014: Good luck to @LoyisoGola and the @LNN team!



We have our fingers crossed for comedian and TV host, Loyiso Gola and his team, who are nominated for a Best International Comedy Series for the award winning and critically acclaimed, Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola. The 42nd International Emmy Awards take place tonight in New York City. 


The e.tv and eNCA show, which sees Loyiso and his fellow comediennes, take the mickey out of SA's and the world's current affairs, which such awesomeness that we rank the show as highly as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Colbert Report and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Yes. The show is that good. 

Last year the team was nominated, but sadly, lost. So being nominated again was proof that not only is the show of international standard, but it's deserving of being regarded as one of the best comedy shows in the world. 

So kudos to Loyiso and his co-stars, the writers and e.tv  for continuing to order more episodes of the show. It makes us laugh at the oh-so-serious matters we really shouldn't be laughing at. 

Good luck you guys! 

42nd International Emmy Award Nominees (Our choices for winner in RED)

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR

Stephen Dillane 
in The Tunnel 
Kudos, Shine France Films for Sky Atlantic HD and CANAL+
United Kingdom
Claude Legault 
in 19-2 
Sphere Media Plus / Echo Media
Canada
Pablo Rago 
in Televisión por la Justicia 
On Tv- Llorente y Villarruel Contenidos SA / CIN (Consejo Interuniversitario Internacional)
Argentina
Xiubo Wu 
in The Orphan of Zhao 
China Television Media, Ltd. / TV Series Management Center of China Central Television Beijing / Teamhard TV&Movie Investment Co. Ltd.
People's Republic of China


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS

Tuba Büyüküstün 
in 20 Dakika (20 Minutes) 
Ay Yapim and Star Tv
Turkey
Olivia Colman 
in Broadchurch 
Kudos
United Kingdom 

Romina Gaetani 
in Televisión por la Justicia 
On Tv- Llorente y Villarruel Contenidos SA / CIN (Consejo Interuniversitario Internacional)
Argentina
Bianca Krijgsman 
in De Nieuwe Wereld (The New World) 
IJswater Films/NTR Television
Netherlands



COMEDY
 Please Like Me 
Pigeon Fancier Productions / John & Josh International / Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australia
Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola 
Diprente Films / eNCA
South Africa 

The Mayor´s Wife 
Globo TV
Brazil
Wat als 2? (What if? season 2) 
Shelter
Belgium


DOCUMENTARY

De Volta (Going Back) 
Canal Futura / COOPAS
Brazil
Frihet bakom galler
(No Burqas Behind Bars) 

Nima Film / SVT / NHK / Ikon / DRTV / NRK / Swedish Film Institute / Konstnärsnämnden / Nordic Film & TV fund / APSA Academy Film Fund
Sweden
No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka 
Outsider Films in association with Channel 4 and ITN productions
United Kingdom
Phantoms of the Border 
The Chosunilbo / TV CHOSUN / Solferino Images / Quartier Latin Media
South Korea



DRAMA SERIES
Prófugos 
HBO Latin America
Chile
The Tunnel 
CANAL+ Original Programming / SKY Atlantic HD / Kudos / Shine France Films
France
Utopia 
Kudos
United Kingdom 

Yae's Sakura 
NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)
Japan


NON-SCRIPTED ENTERTAINMENT

Educating Yorkshire 
Twofour
United Kingdom
Master Chef China 
Shanghai Dragon TV
People's Republic of China
Missie Mosango 
Geronimo Productions
Belgium
O Infiltrado 
The History Channel Latin America
Brazil

TELENOVELA
 30 Lives: Maxim Bouchard (30 Vies) 
Aetios Productions
Canada
Belmonte 
Plural Entertainment Portugal
Portugal
My Husband's Lover 
GMA Network, Inc.
Philippines
Precious Pearl 
Globo TV
Brazil


TV MOVIE / MINI-SERIES
Alexander and Other Heroes 
Globo TV
Brazil
An Adventure in Space and Time 
BBC Wales / BBC America
United Kingdom
Radio
TV Man Union for NHK in association with NHK Enterprises Inc.
Japan
Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter
(Generation War) 

teamWorx Television & Film GmbH / ZDF in co-operation with Beta Film and ZDF Enterprises
Germany


NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE US PRIMETIME PROGRAM

Pasión Prohibida (Forbidden Love) 
Telemundo Studios / Telemundo Internacional
United States of America
La Patrona (The Return) 
Telemundo Internacional
United States of America
El Señor de los Cielos 
Telemundo Internacional
United States of America
Temple de Acero (Unbreakable) 
Rock and Roll Films US for Nat Geo Mundo
United States of America

Spotted at the SA Style Awards 2014

A photo posted by Bonang "B*" Matheba (@bonang_m) on


The 19th SA Style Awards took place last night at Hyde Park Corner, in Jo'burg and as expected, SA's style set descended for a night of celebrating style. 
There was a Yves Saint Laurent inspired theme and chosen designers created garments, paying tribute to the famed couturier. 
A photo posted by Bonang "B*" Matheba (@bonang_m) on
Spotted at the event were Bonang Matheba, Nandi Mngoma, Albertus Swanepoel, Jay Anstey, Jonatha Boynton-Lee, Mafikizolo and Zuraida Jardine and hubby, Josh Lindberg. Dion Chang, Vanessa Carreira, Chu Suwanapha and Joelle Kayembe were also spotted.

The winners were: 
A photo posted by nandi mngoma (@nandimngoma) on
Most Innovative Style - Chu Suwannapha
Most Stylish Performing Artist in Film - Jay Anstey 
Most Stylish Performing Artist in TV - Roxy Burger
Most Stylish Performing Artist in Music - Mafikizolo 
Most Stylish Media Personality - Melinda Bam - Veet Ambassador
Most Stylish Designer -Albertus Swanepoel
Most Stylish Model -Joelle Kayembe
Most Stylish Business Personality - Natasha Sideris
Most Stylish Couple - Zuraida Jardine and Josh Lindberg
Most Stylish New Comers -Jonathan Boynton-Lee and Nandi Mngoma
Most Stylish SA Icon -Thuli Madonsela

Nandi Mngoma, Joelle Kayembe, Da LES and Jay Anstey PIC: Matthews Baloyi for The Star
Congrats to all the winners! 

23.11.14

Shock as @PrincessMekoa is eliminated on @The_XFactorSA.



Singing her swansong- Princess Mekoa on The X-Factor SA. PIC: SABC 1/The X-Factor SA
Princess Mekoa, the girl with the 'most beautiful voice on The X-Factor SA' according to Arno Carstens, has been eliminated. While it wasn't much of a surprise, it's still shocking that one of the most talented contestants with an undeniable pop star quality, was eliminated on the show. 

Princess has performed like a star most of the time on the show and she had stage presence that some of the popular contestants don't have. She showed her true mettle every time she was in the bottom two and had to sing for her life. As tiny as she is, she has a powerful voice that some on the show wish they had. 
Princess performing in the third week. PIC: SABC 1/The Xfactor SA
But then has South Africa ever appreciated Princess? I don't think so. From her first performance on the show, Princess showed that she's a true pop star and was singing Top 40 pop songs that showed off her voice, her command of the stage and just how much of a pop star she can be. Her outfits were a true reflection of what she wanted to be- a pop star. And maybe that's why the audience didn't warm up to her. 

The SABC 1 audience is rather conservative and somehow Princess' songs and her on stage outfits, may have alienated her from potential voters. 

And that is the only reason Princess was always in the bottom two and it's a shame as she was one of the best performers on the show. 

We wish her all the best in her music journey and we sure hope that she will be blazing the charts soon. This is surely NOT the end for her. 

After the judges saved her, Bubbles Mnomiya comforts Princess Mekoa, who was eliminated last night.
PIC: SABC 1/ The X-Factor SA
And now for the Top 5 to impress us. Double performances from next week? Oh it's on! 

We hope Zonke will FINALLY choose songs that will show Wonderboy's versatility, because right now, he's reached a plateau and it's not funny, especially when contestants who are versatile have had to leave the show.

Catch The X-Factor SA on Saturdays on SABC 1 at 6pm 

21.11.14

#IDOLSSA Finale: The Song Choices for the Final Two

Down to the wire... Who will it be? Bongi or Vincent? PIC: M-Net

This Sunday Nelspruit’s Bongi Silinda (24) and Vincent Bones (30) from Pietermaritzburg will perform for the last time as Idols SA Season 10 finalists, live at the Carnival City Casino and Entertainment World on Gauteng’s East Rand. By the end of the evening, one of them will be South Africa’s tenth Idol!
 
Vincent and Bongi will perform twice on Sunday. They each get to sing their favourite song from the entire season – in Bongi’s case Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black”, which she last performed at Sun City, and for Vincent it’s the Miguel hit, “Adorn”. 


They will then collaborate for the first time with a duet performance of “Almost Is Never Enough”, by Ariana Grande and Nathan Sykes. 

Cassper Nyovest will be performing at the Idols South Africa finale
Fans can also look forward to guest performances from hit maker Cassper Nyovest, South African supergroup Prime Circle, and Season 9 Idols winner Musa Sukwene, performing with DJ Sbu.

It's a been a great season of Idols SA, with some awesome performances. It's also broken records when it comes to the voting this season.

According to M-Net, the show continues to grow in popularity with close to 20 million votes (19,814,684 to be exact) having been cast in the current season. This figure 173% higher than last season's total votes including the final (7,253,971) and it's also a new all-time Idols SA voting record. The number is expected to rise, with the finale happening on Sunday and the final votes due at 9pm tonight. 
 
"Viewer response to the historic tenth season of Idols SA has been phenomenal, exceeding our wildest expectations," says Victor Eckard, Director of M-Net, the channel which has hosted the show right right from the start. "Week after week we have crushed previous seasons' records and we're waiting with bated breath to see how many votes will be cast in the week leading up to the final on the 23rd of November. Traditionally, votes peak in the all-important Top 2 voting period leading up to the finale as everyone wants to make sure that their favourite scoops the Idols title."
 
Nkateko Mabaso, Director of M-Net's Local Interest Channels, including Mzansi Magic which has simulcast Idols SA for the last three seasons, attributes this season's success and the high voting figures to a variety of factors: "Mzansi Magic's involvement created an Idols frenzy among viewers – and especially younger viewers – who have seen how the show can change lives. The Idols talent has also been truly amazing this season and the  inclusion of more voting platforms and the free WeChat voting made it much easier for  fans to support their favourites. Not to forget the nailbiting new combined Results and Spectacular shows and the support from established local stars."

The spectacular Idols SA Season 10 final goes out live on M-Net and Mzanzi Magic on Sunday, 23 November, at 17:00. The final vote that determines who will become South Africa’s tenth Idol closes at 22:00 on Friday, 21 November. 

9.11.14

@THE_XFactorSA EXIT INTERVIEW: Avodah

Host, Andile Ncube, with the bottom two acts, Avodah and Princess. PIC: SABC 1/X-Factor SA
What a show. 

Honestly, The X-Factor SA has improved drastically during the live shows and it's a great thing. Last night's show was absolutely amazing and every single act brought it. Some better than others. 

It wasn't surprising that Avodah was eliminated. The Pietermaritzburg based gospel group had their torches snuffed last night after they found themselves in the bottom two, against Joburg based pop singer, Princess. It was a no brainer really and no one can blame Zonke for choosing to keep Princess.

Avodah's sing off choice was rather tame (John Legend's Stay With You) and while they harmonised beautifully, it didn't induce goosebumps. A song like Dreamgirls, from the Dreamgirls movie. Now Princess did (Beyoncé's HaloI) and she proved once again that she's one of the best talents on the show. She really doesn't deserve to be in the bottom two. 

Speaking to members of Avodah after the show ended, they were very crestfallen. Not even a few lighthearted jokes or kind words could lift their spirits. And it's understandable. It was less than 10 minutes after their elimination from The X-Factor SA. 

"We are heartbroken, surprised and shocked," one of the members of Avodah said. "We don't know how we landed up in the bottom two, but we still grateful to all those people who voted for us. It's sad that it wasn't enough, but I guess this is what is meant to be."

Oskido with Avodah last week. PIC: SABC 1/ X-Factor SA
Boasting one of the biggest fan bases in the audience, who not only wear t-shirts with the group's faces on them. Their banners screaming their allegiance to them and every so often, break out in songs about their support for Avodah. Yet they didn't come through for their favourites, something that the ladies from Avodah also don't understand.

"I guess it goes to show that you can never think that you are safe on this show. You must always perform like it's your final performance."

With their X-Factor dream over, the ladies are positive about their future. "We worked hard on the show and I think many people saw that and so we are going to use this platform as much as we can to follow our dream- of musical. South Africa hasn't seen the last of us."

We hope not. 



Catch The X-Factor South Africa, Saturdays on SABC 1 at 6pm. Hosted by Andile Ncube, Zonke Dikana, Arno Carstens and Oskido serve as the judges. Also catch The X-tra Factor, Fridays at 8pm on SABC3. 

4.11.14

And now for the @SAsGotTalent Top 6: Who will win?



It's now officially down to the wire- SA's Got Talent has finally separated the men from the boys (and of course, the women from the girls) and it's now anyone's game. 

On Sunday, e.tv will broadcast the LIVE finale, where we will find out who is the most talented person in South Africa. Here's a bit more information on the finale, the contestants and also the likelihood of that contestant winning the competition. 

The addition of DJ Fresh and Lalla Hirayama as judges, was a great one. Not only do they know what they are looking for, but their expertise and advice, has been rather refreshing to the show. 

****** (Most Likely to win)
**** (Good chance for finalist)
*** (Top 4)
** (If they get many votes)
* (Shem, not a chance)


*** PRESS RELEASE***

This coming Sunday on SA's Got Talent, the country will know who will be crowned the most talented in Mzansi. The Top 18 semi-finalists have been narrowed down to six contestants.

The following contestants will compete for the 2014 SA’s Got Talent title and a grand prize of R250 000 at the Soweto Theatre on Sunday, 9 November at 6:05PM. The results will be broadcast live at 7:30PM on the same night. 


Tholwana Mohale 




Age: 14
Province: Northern Cape

Tholwana Mohale, from the Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, blew the audience away with her exciting and sensational performance to win the public SMS vote and make it through to the finale. Her strong voice and entertaining stage presence has been her greatest asset from the start. 'The title of the competition is SA's Got Talent, and I believe that I have the talent needed to win the competition, and that I can develop my talent even further through this competition.' says Tholwana. 

(***)


Honey




Age: Naami Gottlieb (32), Sivan Patton (36) and Sharon Wagner (31)
Province: Gauteng


The trio of singing mothers from the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, made it through to the finale by means of the judge's decision. They say 'there are challenges we face balancing motherhood, our artistic pursuits and providing for our families but then plan to overcome those challenges through SA’s Got Talent.'
(****)


Joe Fredericks





Age: 33
Province: Gauteng
This bookkeeper by day has been singing for 28 years. He says he “always wanted to be a part of SA’s Got Talent but the time was not right. I entered this year because I believe it’s one of the biggest platforms for an upcoming artist.' Joe's charm and amazing voice have earned him a spot by public SMS vote in the SA's Got Talent finale. 

(**)

Young Wheezy Boys





Age: Chistopher Fredericks (22) and Wayne Fredericks (17)
Province: Western Cape
Since they were children, they realised they had a passion for dance. The Young Wheezy Boys have now been pursuing dance professionally for five years. They plan to open a dance school for children one day. Their 'motto in life is to always seek the opportunity to build a better future for our upcoming generation through my dancing. And that nothing in life is impossible.' The Young Wheezy Boys secured their spot in the finale by means of the judges decision.
(****)

Freeze Frame Crew



Age: Constantinos Tsobanoglou (17), Glen Makwala (22), Lesedi Mabena (20), Bonolo Chiloane (17), Brandon Grobler (27), Rorisang Malete (22), Sibusiso Zwane (21) and Johara Naidoo (19).

Province: Gauteng
The electrifying Freeze Frame Crew made it into the finale by means of public SMS vote. The group have won many awards and have been seen in television adverts on South African television. The group travelled from Johannesburg to Cape Town to audition for SA's Got Talent which paid off with them securing a place in the grand finale.
(*****)


New Creation And The Band




Age: Bernard Gordon (20), David Hartzenberg (27), Moeketsi Tapisi (23), Simon Tshuduku (29), Tebogo Tapisi (25), Thabiso M  Mphahlane (22) and Wanda Mbatha (22).
Province: Gauteng
New Creation and The Band come from a church-driven background and it shows in their chosen sound. They have been performing together for two years and they entered SA’s Got Talent because 'we believe that the nation needs to hear our fresh music, and we believe that it will touch lives. We will win because there will be no other act that will win the crowds like us – and also because we are awesome.' The band won over the judges at their semi-final to win their place in the finale. 

(*****)


The finale will be broadcast live from 6:05PM until 7PM followed by the live results show at 7:30PM until 8PM. 

@IsidingoSABC3's sexy PA, Zak, is driving Rajesh crazy. And we don't blame him! We spoke to @Fiks_SA on her role.

The Deep’s Zak

Isidingo’s newest cast member is setting tongues wagging. Alyssia Birjalal chats to Fikile Mthwalo.

We were introduced to her as Rajesh Kumar’s trusty PA. Not only will she go beyond the call of duty to make sure that her boss has everything he needs, but even Barker Haines wanted to poach her from Rajesh. Ntombizakhe Khumalo, called Zak on the show, has gone from trusty PA to, well, trusty mistress. After her romp with Rajesh this week, lines have been blurred and the drama will be intensified. We chatted to Fikile about her role, viewer reception and the steamy love affair with Jack Devnarain’s Rajesh. 

When did you first appear on Isidingo? 
I started shooting on July 24 but made my first appearance on October 2. So by the time I got on to screen I was already over two months with the cast.

Tell me about your character? 
Fikile Mthwalo PIC: RIKKI HIBBERT PHOTOGRAPHY
I play Ntombizakhe Khumalo, affectionately known as Zak. She is a new resident in Horizon Deep and PA to Rajesh Kumar. She comes in as a bright, efficient and prim and proper woman. She grew up in Lesotho because her dad had a job as a lecturer at the National University of Lesotho. Zak is well travelled and has been PA to other high powered businessmen, so Rajesh is not the first. But he is happy to have snapped her up. 

Tell us more about your affair with Rajesh.
Rajesh and Zak shared a good working relationship. Zak looks up to him and is inspired by him. Rajesh is her role model. Aside from their working relationship, Rajesh opened up to Zak about his personal life and took her as his confidant. This is when the dynamics of their relationship changed. 

How is your relationship with the rest of the Isidingo cast?
They all are amazing. They have been of great support to me. And they are kind and patient. We get along really well. And it’s very hard being serious. It’s almost like being in a circus and minutes before going on set I literally need to calm myself down and switch to being the serious PA. They have made me at home and I’m privileged to work with such fantastic people.

And the viewers’ response? 
It has been phenomenal. And has exceeded my expectations. People have been so engrossed in the show and with my role. I always get comments like who is this woman who has finally got Rajesh off his straight and narrow path. I’m absolutely grateful for all the good reviews that I’ve got so far and I hope to keep viewers entertained.

What other acting work have you done prior to Isidingo?
I have been in the industry since 2009, I have acted in many commercials, I’ve acted in one episode of Soul City and in a short film titled Through Her Eyes – but I consider Isidingo as my “big break”. 

Fikile Mthwalo as Zak (Picture: RIKKI HIBBERT PHOTOGRAPHY)

Who is Fikile Mthwalo?
I am an all round creative. I write scripts for film productions and am involved in other aspects of film making as well. When I’m in Cape Town I record vocals. I love singing, however Zak doesn’t sing so viewers will never hear me sing. Not many people know this, but music is a big part of my life. In the future I do want to pursue a music career but right now I am focusing on my acting and have put music on the back-burner.

What type of music do you enjoy and who are your favourite singers? 
I like fusion – anything different is always good. I’m kind of like a hippy in that way. I listen to Beatenberg and Goldfish. 

Where were you born and raised. 
I was born and raised in Maseru, Lesotho. My dad is from Lesotho and my mom is from Tanzania. I moved to Bloemfontein where I completed my Grade 11 and 12, thereafter I lived in Cape Town from 2009 to last year and then moved to Joburg to pursue my acting career.  I also took a gap year when I visited Amsterdam for a year in 2008.

What’s next for Zak?
She and Rajesh get closer and closer. Zak is all alone in Horizon Deep, and Rajesh is having problems with Priya so naturally they fall into their romance. Their love affair evolves and they do fall in love eventually.

Catch Fikile on Isidingo, weekdays at 7.30pm

This article first appeared in the SMtv issue of 02 November 2014. 

Why you MUST watch #SiliconValley on @MNet's #MNetEdge

HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’: In a spoof of America’s technotopia, a fine opportunity to invest writes  




HBO is in a productive phase with a specific comedy genre — sometimes still referred to as dramedy — that eschews slapstick for a much darker exploration of human striving and failure. Smartly conceived half-hour shows like “Girls” and “Looking” (and “Enlightened,” “Getting On,” “Hung,” “Entourage” and going as far back as the fizzier camp of “Sex and the City”) are in some ways received by avid viewers as documentary material, providing fresh evidence of how we live today. It’s all about character-driven satire that succeeds more on realism than the ha-ha factor. A comedy can’t be merely funny now; it must also deliver anthropologically.
Creator, Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley (airing Fridays, at 9.30pm on M-Net Edge) is a blunt, delicious example of how to have it both ways, being hilarious while offering a fair indictment of an entire culture. It’s a precise, sharply executed send-up of the high-tech, billionaire-making culture and economy of Facebook/Google/Apple/Amazon/Yahoo that has infiltrated (“disrupted,” as they say) contemporary life. Better still, “Silicon Valley” is also here to make you laugh.
Frankly, after so much arguing about Hannah Horvath’s naked form and the shifty narcissism of “Girls,” it’s a bit of a relief to enjoy a show that revels in the art of extreme caricature rather than ambiguous portraiture. It’s also nice to watch a comedy that really is a comedy. (On that note, “Silicon Valley” is the perfect companion piece to HBO’s other surest comedy, Armando Iannucci’s “Veep,” which returns for a third season on the same night.)

It’s not that “Silicon Valley” (co-created by John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky) is without theme or comment. In its first five nimble episodes, the show delivers a deserved gut-punch to the tech world’s tendency to wrap its capitalistic instincts for blood within the shallowest sort of idealism. “Silicon Valley” also makes fun of a glorified generation or two (or three) of code-writing geeks who flock to the Bay Area to mine their own fortunes by creating apps and software that serve little real purpose.
For more than two decades now, we’ve been held in thrall by the awkward man-child who makes a digital something out of a digital nothing. Now we live in a world where these geniuses tell us what we want before we’ve even decided we want it — a constant upgrading cycle of consumerism leading to a promised land of driverless cars, personally attuned appliances and routine invasions of privacy while we shop and search. It all richly deserves a good mocking.
 “Silicon Valley” is where the boys are, crammed together in shared ranch-house incubators all around Palo Alto. They are pathetically obsessed with their work, bolstered by older male egomaniacs who provide the capital and preach a nonsense gospel of global betterment. Fortunes rise and fall with the speed of wired, caffeinated rumourmongers.
Thomas Middleditch stars as Richard, a shy code writer who dropped out of college and is living with three other young men in an incubator lorded over by Erlich (T.J. Miller), whose brief taste of start-up success has inflated his ego, turning him into a bong-huffing loudmouth who will grab a piece of anyone’s success.
Richard spends his time building a Web site he calls Pied Piper, which allows songwriters to check their latest creations against the vast library of all recorded music, letting them know within seconds if their song has infringed on or otherwise ripped off another melody. In building Pied Piper, Richard has accidentally discovered a way to dramatically compress large media files without deteriorating their quality — an innovation potentially worth billions.
The overweening founder of a tech supergiant called Hooli, Gavin Belson (Matt Ross), learns of Richard’s “lossless” compression idea and offers him $600,000 for it outright, which quickly ramps to $10 million as Richard’s iPhone rings and he entertains a more enticing offer from Belson’s archenemy, the super weird but certainly visionary venture capitalist Peter Gregory (Christopher Evan Welch), who offers Richard a mere $200,000 for a 5 percent share in Pied Piper. In exchange, Gregory will offer his valuable guidance as a guru.
Richard must now endure a panic-ridden journey through the dark core of “Silicon Valley.” Middleditch plays the role with a nervous, every-nerd vulnerability. Choosing Gregory’s offer means Richard has the chance to start his own company, bringing some of his buddies (Kumail Nanjiani and Martin Starr) on board while hurtfully excluding another (Josh Brener) because he doesn’t measure up.
These jokes are, of course, not exactly new — the hoodie-clad geeks with social anxiety disorders; the bro-grammers transfixed more by the screen in front of them than the events around them; the functionally autistic guru who is cocooned in his own TED-talk cult of personality, driving his single passenger hybrid that is narrow enough to get around all other traffic. (One thing I adore about “Silicon Valley” is its moral underpinning, based on a principle that the hacking impulse — outsmarting a process or cutting the line; stealing rather than earning; putting one’s self ahead of others — comes with a karmic consequence. “Silicon Valley” understands this wild west enough to know which kind of hacker to celebrate and which to hold in contempt.)
Although Judge is known for his cartoons (starting with “Beavis and Butt-head” in a bygone era of MTV and the brilliant “King of the Hill” for Fox), “Silicon Valley” is a worthy evolution of his live-action work (including the now-classic 1999 comedy “Office Space,” which still holds up as an escape fantasy for cubicle serfs) and the less-revered 2006 film “Idiocracy,” a cautionary fable from a future in which a lifelong diet of 24-7 infotainment rendered the human race permanently stupid.
At its best, “Silicon Valley” is cynical about a techie culture run rampant. In future episodes, I would very much like the show to stick it to the real Silicon Valley’s deplorable disregard for gender diversity. So far, the show has only one female character in its ensemble: Amanda Crew as Gregory’s plain-spoken handler. All other women are seen as lackeys, tech-savvy groupies and strippers.
It would also be rewarding to see more scenes of technotopia’s tendency to discriminate against people older than 35. This is comedy, true, but sometimes comedy is a powerful change agent. (I still think ABC’s sitcom “Modern Family” made all the difference in the rapid uptick in popular support for gay marriage from one election cycle to the next.)
We’ve been offered countless iterations of the Silicon Valley saga in films, sitcoms and occasional novels, with often unsatisfying results. Some regarded the place with too much awe; some just went for the easy jokes. “Silicon Valley” may or may not be a lasting entry in this category (it might, in fact, be too rudimentary to seem relevant 20 years from now), but it certainly has the potential to be.
What’s evident is the care with which Judge and the show’s writers work with and against stereotypes. Much of the show looks comfortably familiar as obvious spoof — anyone can make fun of the Google bus. But there are some pleasant and even tender surprises, particularly in the show’s tone. For those of who never got in on the financial investments of the real Silicon Valley, “Silicon Valley” offers a chance to invest emotionally. – Washington Post

This article first appeared in the SMtv edition of the 02 November 2014. 

Pictures: HBO

So, what can we expect from the eleventh series of The #XFactorUK?

What can we expect from the eleventh series of The X Factor?



Ellen E Jones

No one will remember Cheryl’s married name
Cheryl who? After a three-year absence, Cheryl Tweedy, sorry Cole, sorry Fernandez-Versini has confirmed (via the show’s beloved booming voice-over artist Peter Dickson) that she’ll be using her double-barrelled new name when she returns. Still, at least no one will have trouble remembering her first name, which is more than can be said for Australian one-hit-wonder Natalie Imbruglia. Her presence as a guest judge in 2010 was greeted with undisguised bafflement by auditionees, including one particularly aggressive double-act known as “Ablisa”. The line “Who are you, may I ask?” has gone down in X Factor history.

Simon Cowell will make children cry
In the early days some suspected SyCo’s brusque manner concealed the heart of a softie, but a decade on, the truth is out: He’s just a very mean man. Telling adults off for singing like “a zoo or something”, is one thing, but does he have the heart to say similar to a school-age minor? We’ll find out this year, when the minimum entry age is lowered from 16 to 14. 

Louis will shamelessly proclaim the brilliance of a clearly rubbish act
Louis Walsh is a curious X Factor anomaly. In financial terms at least, he’s had great success, managing acts like Boyzone and Westlife and having appeared on every series of the show, he’s the most experienced of the judges. And yet... and yet... he can’t resist throwing his weight behind some clearly dreadful acts, regardless of the misery it inflicts on the viewing public. If you’re wondering who to blame for Jedward (2009), Wagner (2010) and Shayne Ward (2005), there is only one man; incorrigible cheese-meister, Louis Walsh.

Mel B will win the battle of the dresses
At a press conference earlier this week, Cheryl Whassername testily declared, “It’s not about what clothes I’m wearing,” which is a strange thing to say when it so obviously is about what clothes she’s wearing. Sexist or not, it has been the fate of all female X Factor judges to become embroiled in a bitterly fought, Grazia-adjudicated style battle. Therefore Cheryl’s words can only be interpreted as an early admission of defeat. She fears she's got nothing to match the leopard print catsuits lurking at the back of Scary Spice’s closet. She fears correctly.

A star is born...
Leona Lewis (estimated personal fortune: £13m) came along in 2006, One Direction (estimated personal fortune: £14m each) arrived in 2010. This means the average wait between X Factor money-spinners is four years and since it's now 2014, St Tropez marina should already be making room for another of Cowell's yachts. - The Independent

Catch The X-Factor UK weekdays on M-Net at 6.30pm