Daniel Fierman
October 15, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

This trashy TNT original about Apple and Microsoft traffics almost exclusively in grossly broad personal sketches. Despite his real-life ruthless tactics and lizard-like persona, Bill Gates (Hall) emerges here as a surprisingly sympathetic figure, while Apple cofounder Steve Jobs (Wyle) is painted as a visionary hustler and petty tyrant. It’s compelling, in a frothy sort of way, but focusing on the personalities rather than the now-mythic company back stories was a mistake — the reverse would have been geek nirvana.
REEL GOODIES (0:54) Gates goofily apes Saturday Night Fever in a roller rink to impress babes.
THE LAST DETAIL Though nominated five times, Pirates of Silicon Valley got keelhauled at the 1999 Emmy awards.

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