Preview: National Geographic Channel presents The 2000s: A New Reality


The 2000s: A New Reality premieres July 12-13 at 9/8CT on National Geographic Channel.


On the heels of its popular miniseries’ The 80s: The Decade That Made Us and The 90s: The Last Great Decade — which wove pop culture, politics and national and world events into a fascinating tapestry of how the decade impacted us individually and as a whole — National Geographic Channel takes another ten-year step into the past with The 2000s: A New Reality. The two-night event, which airs Sunday and Monday nights examines the decade that brought us a new era of terror on home and foreign soil, the rise of reality television and hand-held technologies that turned us into a nation of sharers — and over-sharers.

And if you think “the Aughts” didn’t seem so long ago, footage of a stunned George Bush learning of the 9/11 attacks, a terrorized Elian Gonzalez staring down a swat-team member in the arms of Donato Dalrymple, an election that hung on hanging chads and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina might remind you of how quickly we move on from front page news in a 24/7 news cycle.

The 2000s: A New Reality begins with Sunday’s “Ground Zero,” which begins with the jaw dropping 2000 election and how a displaced Cuban child and a balloting blunder kept the man who won the popular vote out of the White House. The stunning events of 9/11 shattered our sense of homeland security, and united the nation behind the Bush Administration’s hunt for weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East — at least for a time. And as we grappled with that new reality, a different sort of reality was taking over the television airwaves, and films like The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series swept us away into fantasy. The iPod tolled a death knell for CDs and ushered in the era of the gadget. And then there was Enron.

Monday’s “Boom and Bust” looks back the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami. The capture of Saddam Hussein gives the nation something to cheer for in an unpopular Iraq war, while newcomers Sarah Palin and Barack Obama take center stage in the presidential contest. Abu Ghraib makes the nation take a long look in the mirror and gives al Qaeda its best recruitment tool. “Wardrobe malfunction” enters the lexicon as TiVo turns the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show into a national scandal (and the idea for YouTube) — and the launch of the first iPhone ushers in the era of social media and around-the-clock connectivity. And then there was the housing bubble and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers.

The 2000s: A New Reality is narrated by Rob Lowe and features commentary and insight from Dick Cheney, Mary Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Perez Hilton, Randy Jackson, Survivor‘s Richard Hatch, Michael Moore, Bill O’Reilly, Sharon Osbourne, Nancy Pelosi, General David Petraeus, Dan Rather, Geraldo Rivera, Cindy Sheehan, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, Donald Trump and others.

But, as was the case with its predecessors, its most fascinating moments come in the form of factoids. That more people watched Survivor than voted in the Bush Gore election. That a Metallica song from Mission Impossible 2 gives rise to Napster, which shakes the music industry to its core. And how iTunes attempts to mend fences. That the video game series Warcraft made more money than some nations. That there were more journalists than soldiers in Tora Bora when bin Laden escaped. That Google thought it was being hacked on the day Michael Jackson died because so many people were searching his name. That mindless consumerism makes zombies and vampires the stars of the entertainment industry. And a four-hour treasure trove more.

The 2000s: A New Reality premieres July 12-13 at 9/8CT on National Geographic Channel.

Check back soon for our exclusive interviews with Survivor‘s Richard Hatch, Super Bowl stylist Wayne Scot Lukas and iPhone engineer Andy Grignon.

Image: National Geographic Channel


About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.