9 movies and TV shows you can stream to understand the magnetic world of Silicon Valley and Big Tech

devs devs
Nick Offerman in FX on Hulu's "Devs."
FX on Hulu
  • Silicon Valley is the epicenter of the US tech industry.
  • The region and the powerful companies and leaders therein have a long history — it can be a lot to digest.
  • But if you're looking for a place to start, look no further than the myriad streaming services at your disposal.
  • We stuck to movies and TV shows that we found were free to watch with subscriptions at the time of writing this post. Sorry,
  • Here are 9 movies and TV shows you can watch on HBO, Netflix, Hulu, and more to brush up on your Big Tech knowledge.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

1. Devs (2020) — FX on Hulu

devs
Nick Offerman of "Parks and Recreation" stars in the show.
FX on Hulu

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:

What is it: The show tells the story of a computer engineer employed at a cutting-edge Silicon Valley tech firm who suspects her boss's secret organization has something to do with her boyfriend's disappearance. The sci-fi series is a bit of a — that the production is for someone "who is patient, and just sort of drifting through imagery and ideas and music and stuff like that."

What you can learn from it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appThe world portrayed in the show is rife with Silicon Valley stereotypes and loosely mirrors that of its real-life counterpart, from the region's striking wealth disparity and its sprawling tech campuses to the quirky founders that run the most powerful tech companies. "Devs" also heavily plays on the "God Complex" and the narcissism

 

2. "Silicon Valley" (2014) — HBO Max, HBO Go, Hulu, Amazon Prime

Silicon Valley
"Silicon Valley."
Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 

What is it: The comedy TV show follows a group of bright, introverted computer programmers living in a Bay Area startup incubator as they navigate the tech industry and its ego.

What you can learn from it: The show perfectly captures the Valley's idiosyncrasies — the hoodies, the job perks, the tech offices, the promise of stock options in the big tech gold rush. The show's creators consulted real-life techies — including writer Mike Judge who worked as an engineer in the Valley in the 1980s — to make sure they were staying as true to reality as possible. "Silicon Valley" is full to the brim of insider tidbits that the region and its inhabitants, for better or worse, are known for.

3. "Halt and Catch Fire" (2014) — Netflix, Philo

halt and catch fire show
"Halt and Catch Fire."
AMC/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 

What is it: Starring Lee Pace, the show begins in the 1980s and follows a fictional ex-IBM executive bent on reverse-engineering the firm's PC technology with the help of a brilliant coder.

What you can learn from it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appAs reports, Pace's Joe MacMillan has all the familiar elements of eccentric tech founders like Steve Jobs. The show draws on other tech archetypes but does it in a way that paints a humanizing picture of the internet age and tech innovation of the time.

4. "The Great Hack" (2019) — Netflix

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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser in "The Great Hack."
Netflix/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:

What is it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appThe documentary film delves into the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal that centers around the mining of data from millions of Facebook users without their consent. 

What you can learn from it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appThe 2018 data scandal teaches a cautionary tale of social media's weaponization of consumer data and the power such companies can wield in the political landscape — in this case, the 2016 US presidential election.

5. "The Social Network" (2010) — Netflix

the social network movie jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network."
Sony Pictures/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:

What is it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appThe award-winning movie portrays Facebook's brilliant founder Mark Zuckerberg as a Harvard student and as one of the world's youngest billionaires.

What you can learn from it: The movie can help you understand Zuckerberg and the company's early days, but as noted in 2017, the criticism depicted in the movie looks dated and tame in retrospect. It's been a decade since the movie came out, and a lot has changed since then, including the 2018 Cambridge Analytica data scandal that thrust Facebook and its leader to the forefront of the great "techlash." 

6. "Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates" (2019) — Netflix

inside bill's brain bill gates netflix
Bill Gates in "Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates."
Netflix/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 

What is it: The 3-part Netflix original documentary, which also includes insight from his wife Melinda, explores the brilliant mind of the former tech CEO and the goals he has for his post-Microsoft future, including striving for climate change solutions.

What you can learn from it: "I don't want my brain to stop working," Gates replies when asked what his worst fear is in the trailer for the program. The documentary shows how the visionary, philanthropist, and businessman is not slowing down.

7. "Jobs" (2013) — Hulu, HBO Max, and HBO Go

jobs movie ashton kutcher
Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in "Jobs."
Open Road Films/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:

What is it: The biopic, reviewed at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of Apple founder Steve Jobs, from his 1976 invention of the Apple 1 computer in his parents' garage to his ousting from the company he co-founded.

What you can learn from it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appReviews of the biopic critiqued it for its and "incomplete" portrayal of Apple's visionary leader, though Ashton Kutcher's take earned him some praise. But it still depicts some of the juicy, inside bits of the company's culture "that should make Apple fanatics happy" read a 2014 review. 

8. "Steve Jobs" (2015) — Netflix, Max Go

steve jobs movie michael fassbender
Michael Fassbender as the late-Apple co-founder in "Steve Jobs."
Universal Pictures/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 

What is it: The big studio 2015 film centers around three of Apple's mega-product launches and ends with the 1988 unveiling of the iMac. The movie features Michael Fassbender's take on the New Balance-wearing trailblazer. 

What you can learn from it: The movie highlights some of the company's most significant product launches in the 1980s, but it also weaves in details of Jobs' personal life, including his relationship with his daughter Lisa. Jobs died in 2011.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appAlso of note, but not currently listed on any streaming site, is a 2012 documentary featuring an unedited interview with the founder with tech journalist and ex-Apple employee Robert Cringely. It has a sweeping 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

9. "Triumph of the Nerds" (1996) — Sling TV, Amazon Prime

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"Triumph of the Nerds."
Channel 4/PBS/IMDb

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A

What is it: 2020欧洲杯足彩外围appThis three-part, ultra-90s documentary features interviews from Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and others and follows the development of the personal computer. 

What you can learn from it: The PC is the star of the show, but the doc also highlights the steps that Silicon Valley-based Apple and Seattle firm Microsoft took to transform it into a ubiquitous aspect of our daily lives.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member. Exclusive FREE Report: 30 Big Tech Predictions for 2020 by Insider Intelligence

SEE ALSO: Here are 8 answers to some of the internet's questions about Silicon Valley

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