The first episode of Start Up has three sex scenes and a startlingly good description of how cryptocurrency works—and the latter is actually more compelling TV.
The show debuted in September on Crackle, Sony’s bid to compete with Hulu and Netflix. It follows a prickly, sexy hacker (Otmara Marrero), a pretty boy investor (Adam Brody), and a Haitian drug lord with scruples (Edi Gathegi) trying to go legit by building an entrepreneurial venture using the bitcoin competitor she invented. On their trail is the inevitable corrupt, conflicted FBI agent (Martin Freeman).
The best bits are the technobabble and business speak; the show’s writers seem to have taken their industry consultants seriously, and the result is believable storytelling about server closets and boardrooms. The scenes of running, shouting, sweating, gun brandishing, and screwing, on the other hand, are exhausting and only occasionally relevant to the plot.