‘Valley of the Boom’ offers unique look at internet roots
The National Geographic channel limited series “Valley of the Boom” looks at three different companies whose founders wanted to change the world using the new technology of the internet. Those include Netscape, the company that pioand neered the first commercial web browser, social networking site theglobe.com and the streaming video company Pixelon.
If all the production did was tell the story of the three companies, it would be little more than the kind of online research that can be done with a click or two. Series creator Matthew Carnahan (“House of Lies”) takes the production to a different level by using a blend of narrative devices interviews with the real subjects and experts woven into scripted drama. His techniques include rap battles, actors talking directly to the camera, flash mobs, dream ballets and puppets.
Carnahan was only interested in telling the story if he could do it in this style.
“When I started digging a little I said, ‘OK, I would like to do this, but I have to be able to just ruin your network. I have to be able to blow everything up. I have to be able to try at least to do something as disruptive, at least try, to do something as disruptive as the makers and innovators who started the internet and invented the browser and created social networking,’ ” Carnahan says.
One of the executive producers of the show is Arianna Huffington, who has a major interest in the internet with her new company Thrive Global. She’s fascinated by the impact the internet has on people’s lives and the unintended consequences of social media’s addictive nature.
Dakota Shapiro, left, and Oliver Cooper portray theGlobe.com co-founders Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman.