Valley of the Boom Review – The Internet is a Fun Hot Deadly Mess

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The internet is a dark and lovely curse and blessing. Everything a person has ever wondered about can be explored with a simple keyword search. People living in isolation can now be friends with thousands of others from all across the world. Singles can find love. Married partners have entire websites dedicated to affairs.

As technology advances each day, the internet continues to grow. As this fascinating piece of technology continues to evolve, it’s hard to imagine a life before the internet. A life filled with Encyclopedia Britannica instead of Wikipedia; when emojis were hand drawn smiley faces on pieces of paper passed between kids in a classroom.

In National Geographic’s six-part series, Valley of the Boom, viewers will dive head-first into the complicated, twisted, funny and murderous world of the birth of the internet. Using a mix of interviews with real people who had a front-row seat to the 90’s tech boom and bust, it tells the story of three tech companies who battle to become number one.

Netscape was one of the first companies to harness the potential of the World Wide Web by creating a web browser that brought the internet to the masses. Unfortunately for them, their success placed them in the crosshairs of tech behemoth Microsoft, which wanted their own browser, Internet Explorer to reign supreme.

Pixelon was an online company that specialized in the distribution of high-quality streaming video over the internet. Or was it? The company was led by founder Michael Fenne (Steve Zahn), who was later discovered to be David Kim Stanley, a felon convicted of fraud and embezzlement.

Internet startup TheGlobe.com was founded in 1995 by college students Stephan Paternot (Dakota Shapiro) and Todd Krizelman (Oliver Cooper). The website was one of the first online communities and was a precursor to the ubiquitous social networks of today.

Valley of the Boom is a mixture of interviews with real people, documentary footage and actors whose goal is to dumb-down the technology-driven jargon for public consumption in order to fill gaps in the story; serve as a fly-on-the-wall they help to act out how a situation would have gone down. While this concept could easily become an overwhelming mess, is a perfectly edited hilarious and exciting experience that takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride filled with murder, mystery and the power of Steve Zahn that results in one of the most entertaining limited series on NatGeo.

Filled with insightful interviews, impeccable historical footage, from the real founders and engineers of these companies makes appearances to fill the audience on the many struggles and high times of their inventions. The series’ crowning achievement comes in a form of rap battle which adds to the depth to the story while providing laughs. Thanks to Lamorne Morris who plays the master of ceremonies is a scene stealer, while Bradley Whitford is a powerhouse of intimidation. However, Valley of the Boom belongs to Steve Zahn who plays a zany con artist who steals not just money but the audience’s heart.

Valley of the Boom is smart, innovate, emotional and downright fun, showing the ups and downs, successes and failures of each and everyone involved. Each episode is filled with superb interviews, a stellar cast and genius writing, that’ll have the audience begging for more…or at least one more rap battle.

Valley of the Boom airs on National Geographic Channel on January 13th, at 9 pm EST.

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About The Author
Dana Abercrombie Entertainment Editor / Media Liaison
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