Roush Review: ‘Valley of the Boom’ Is as Exhausting as It Is Illuminating

Bettina Strauss/National Geographic

Any one of the stories in this frenetic and playfully irreverent docudrama hybrid about the internet gold rush of the 1990s would make a good show: the “browser wars” pitting Netscape against Microsoft; the rise and fall of Facebook precursor; or the fraud perpetrated by con man Michael Fenne (a manic Steve Zahn), who pitches investors a video-streaming service, Pixelon, with nonexistent tech.

The six-part Boom risks being too much of a busy thing, packed with gimmicks that include rap and dance numbers and a made-up venture-capitalist narrator who calls attention to his nonexistence: “We’re in a metaphor here!”

But with everyone playing to the camera, from actors who break the fourth wall to their real-life counterparts who sit for interviews, the result is system overload.

Boom is entertaining yet can be as exhausting as it is illuminating.

Valley of the Boom, Series Premiere, Sunday, January 13, 9/8c, National Geographic