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Mike Judge: ‘Accuracy’ Aids ‘Silicon Valley’

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — For co-creator Mike Judge, one of the keys to success for his HBO series , Silicon Valley, is accuracy.

Speaking during a keynote address at New- Bay Media’s “Next TV Summit & Expo” here last week, Judge, also executive producer, writer and director of the comedy, credited the series’ popularity to extensive research and attention to detail. He said Silicon Valley, which concluded its debut season in May and was recently renewed for a second campaign, had been well-received by prominent members of the tech community for its apt representation of its namesake .

“I wanted to try to get this right because I’ve seen it done wrong in so many movies and TV shows,” said Judge, who briefly worked as an engineer in Silicon Valley during a previous career.

Judge cited feature films The Social Network and Primer as the only examples in which the high-tech world was depicted accurately.

He also said modern viewers, with their ability to pause, record and watch TV online, force creators to portray things more realistically and will call out false moves. A Twitter user, for example, criticized as inaccurate a scene from Silicon Valley’s first season in which a young programmer crashes the main characters’ system.

The Tweeter noted that the writers failed to suggest the characters could have simply gone back to an earlier build. Judge claimed that the writers had actually included dialogue referencing that solution but decided to cut it because it didn’t make sense in the context of the episode.

“It’s just a little half-hour sitcom; everyone settle down,” Judge joked.

Judge said most of his video consumption is done from his Mac laptop. He said YouTube and Google make conducting research and reaching an audience — especially a niche one — much easier.

He also compared the modern phenomenon of content going viral to the ways in which his animated shorts for Beavis and Butthead and Office Space were circulated before being picked up by MTV and 20th Century Fox, respectively.

“Things did go viral back then in a very slow, different way,” Judge said. “I’ve talked to people later who have said, ‘I have a 20th-generation VHS tape of your first Beavis and Butthead cartoon .”