‘Val­ley of the Boom’ of­fers unique look at in­ter­net roots

Star-Telegram - - Life & Arts - BY RICK BENT­LEY

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.

ED ARAQUEL Na­tional Geo­graphic

Dakota Shapiro, left, and Oliver Cooper por­tray the­Globe.com co-founders Stephan Pater­not and Todd Krizel­man.

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