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‘StartUp’ Starts Up on Sony Crackle

Tech thriller StartUp premieres on Sony Crackle Nov. 1, with 10 episodes in season three. The show, about a digital currency venture and some shady people backing the enterprise, welcomes Mira Sorvino to the cast, playing NSA Agent Rebecca Stroud.

Creator and exec producer Ben Ketai said a lot of thought went into sculpting Stroud.

“We spent a couple months developing the character in the writers’ room,” he said. “We all jumped with excitement at the fact that she was interested in it.”

Sorvino’s film work includes Mighty Aphrodite, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, The Replacement Killers and Summer of Sam.

Stroud investigates ArakNet in the new season. Ketai said she’s a complicated character. “There’s a lot we don’t know about her,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot going on beneath the surface there.”

Look out for some “odd tics” with Stroud, adds Ketai.

Sorvino joins Ron Perlman, Adam Brody, Martin Freeman, Edi Gathegi and Otmara Marrero in the StartUp cast.

Ketai said Gathegi, who plays Little Haiti gangster Ronald, gives StartUp “its beating heart.” He gives all cast members credit for balancing the series’ mix of drama and dark comedy, but singles out Gathegi for standout work. “That he’s not a huge movie star already is baffling to me,” said Ketai. “Not enough people know his name, and they should.”

Besides Edi Gathegi, what makes StartUp stand out from the rest of the packed TV landscape? “More than any show, it explores the collision of crime and technology in a really interesting way,” said Ketai. “We’ve tried for something unique and bold in the show, not a cut-and-dried television tone.”

He describes the StartUp aesthetic as “Michael Mann meets David Fincher.”

StartUp premiered in 2016. It is produced by Critical Content and Hollywood Gang Productions. Sony Crackle is free and ad supported. Other originals on the streaming network include The Oath, Snatch and SuperMansion.

The season premiere has Sorvino’s Stroud giving a frightful ultimatum to ArakNet, Perlman’s Wes reconsidering his financing of the company, Gathegi’s Ronald wondering about his ties to his friends’ shady LH1 operation, and Brody’s Nick looking to take the company to the next level.

When he’s not viewing dailies, Ketai enjoys watching HBO’s Succession, Amazon’s Catastrophe and HBO’s Silicon Valley. Lighter stuff, he said. Somewhat paradoxically, Ketai sees “some similarities” between Silicon Valley and StartUp, but “a different vibe.”

Ketai said the new season of StartUp delves into the concept of duality. “You can become successful,” he said, “but you never really shed who you are.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.