Exclusive: Watch the First 5 Minutes of Birth-of-the-Internet Docudrama Valley of the Boom

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Exclusive: Watch the First 5 Minutes of Birth-of-the-Internet Docudrama <i>Valley of the Boom</i>

Even by National Geographic’s own standards, Valley of the Boom, from executive producers Matthew Carnahan (House of Lies) and Arianna Huffington, is something of an experiment: Unlike the network’s pioneering sci-fi docudrama, Mars, Valley of the Boom doesn’t imagine what could be, but re-enacts what was. An Paste has an exclusive first look at the opening five minutes of the six-part limited series below.

Combining the dramatizations of key behind-the-scenes moments and documentary-style interviews with the key real-life players, Valley of the Boom follows three tech companies from the early days of the consumer Internet through the dot-com bubble of 2001: the web browser Netscape, featuring Bradley Whitford as then-CEO Jim Barksdale and series breakout John Karna as its young, arrogant VP of technology, Marc Andreessen; the social networking site TheGlobe.com, a forerunner of Facebook; and the streaming video service Pixelon, with a wild-eyed Steve Zahn as its eccentric founder, Michael Fenne. Plus, New Girl’s Lamorne Morris turns up as a fictional investor named Darrin to explain the business end from time to time.

“What is Internet anyway?” Bryant Gumbel asks in archival footage from The TODAY Show in the exclusive clip. Valley of the Boom has at least three answers.

Valley of the Boom premieres Sunday, Jan. 13 on National Geographic Channel.