People used to look to regular news programs to find out how the world works, but that hasn’t been such a grand option in the Age of 24-Hour Newscycles, where endless coverage of a hot topic is favored above a more widespread focus. That’s where Vice comes in. What started as a culturally-based news magazine has become one of the most cringe-worthy series on TV, and HBO is rewarding the consistently enlightening docu-series by renewing it for another two seasons, and the cable giant is also increasing the series order from twelve to 14 episodes. Are you ready to get your mind blown through 2016?
Currently nearing the end of its second season, Vice is the latest in a long line of reality-based HBO programming that makes network “reality” look like preschool naptime. (Probably half of what 12-year-old me learned about non-missionary lovemaking came from shows like Real Sex.) Hosted by Vice co-founder Shane Smith, the series is nowhere near as polished as something that Anderson Cooper would host, but the haphazard “camera and correspondent” approach is worlds more interesting than seeing constant news tickers and complicated visual graphics.
If you’ve never seen the show before, your primer course will be the below series premiere, “Killer Kids,” which delves into the ridiculously dangerous political landscape in the Philippines, plus Taliban-supported child suicide bombers. To say it gets chilling is to criminally understate things.
Other episodes entail Iraqi toxic waste, polygamists, rising tides, hallucinogen therapy for heroin addiction, drone strikes, Greenland’s melting ice, and most recently an uprising of women in India standing up against rape. You might also recall hearing about the first season’s finale, for which the Vice team traveled to North Korea to catch up with leader and basketball fan Kim Jong-un.
Smith sounds dutifully pleased to hear about the series extension, and plans to continue pushing the boundaries of journalism far over the horizon. “Vice on HBO has transformed our brand,” he said, via THR. “It has forced us to get better, to try harder and now, with two new seasons, we will keep striving to be better still. We promise to report on the underreported, to tell the forgotten stories and to remain committed to uncovering the truth about our planet in peril.”
I don’t understand how those guys do it, as I’m certain my own fragile nerves would render me a mumbling pile of skin if I were to present one of these episodes. But now we’ll have another 28 episodes with which we can look danger in the face, from the comfort of our living rooms.