By Liz Shannon Miller
We ranked it:
Hoping to find the humor in coding and VC pitching, the comedy Betas focuses on four young men working to create a mobile app called BRB, a geolocation-based social service. (That means it uses an algorithm based on personal interests and GPS coordinates to match people up together — like Grindr for people who don’t care too much about personal privacy and want to talk before doing it.)
The pilot tracks Trey (Joe Dinicol), Nash (Karan Soni), Hobbes (Jonathan C. Daly) and Mitchell (Charlie Saxton) attempting to create a demo and pitch to an eccentric VC — that is, when they’re not having mental breakdowns, lusting after cute girls or trying to trick a guy with weird facial hair into texting a dick pic. Another name for Betas might be National Lampoon’s The Social Network — the pilot depicts Silicon Valley serfs and elite alike as crude, sex-obsessed fiends out for the big payday, limiting its target audience to young men who like sex jokes and discussions about Series A funding.
It’s not all bad — some jokes do land, including a surprisingly funny cameo by Moby, and the dialogue does a decent job of sounding like authentic Valley/tech speak without being too hard for outsiders to grasp. And the cast is solid, from relative unknown Dinicol as BRB’s passionate co-founder to quasi-legendary Ed Begley Jr. as a money man who could be BRB’s lucky ticket.
However, the fictional BRB app lacks inspiration, a major flaw for a show about characters striving to create something. With a stronger hook, Betas could be compelling, but right now, it’s just another app I don’t want to download.