VICE Media wrapped a long run of installments back in October, Twenty-nine in fact, in the Friday night at 11:00pm slot after REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER. If you haven’t followed the reports like I have then you missed a lot of coverage from around the world. This post highlights each edition and the correspondent reporting. I think you’ll be able to reinforce the notion that the world is raw, intense and dramatic. Here is VICE Season Five:
S5:Ep01 – “Assad’s Syria” & “Cost of Climate Change” debuted on 02.24. HBOWatch reviewed this opening installment. In the first report Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s longtime dictator, was poised to retake full control of his country. Isobel Yeung traveled through regime-controlled Syria to see how Assad prevailed and sought to find out what happened next. Even to this day, all eyes are on Syria. The second segment looked had VICE founder and CEO Shane Smith following the money to see the true economic stakes of decades of denial about climate change from big players like Exxon/Mobil.
S5Ep02 – “Trans Youth” debuted 03.03. Gianna Toboni explored the emotionally charged and rapidly evolving issue with trans youth and their parents in the midst of the heated debate of which bathroom they use.
S5Ep03 – “When The Earth Melts” & “Displaced” debuted on 03.10. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson traveled across the Arctic to examine the devastating impact of thawing permafrost – and the big impact it could have on climate change. That is followed by correspondent Gianna Toboni following the journey of refugees in mass numbers across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.
S5Ep04 – “Kings of Cannabis” & “Into the Darkness” debuted on 03.17. At the heart of the booming marijuana industry are train hunters, who search the Earth’s far corners for never-before-mixed strains. Correspondent Hamilton Morris joins two hunters in pursuit in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The second report has nuclear physicist Taylor Wilson on a different kind of hunt – he is seeking the understanding behind “Dark Matter” and “Dark Energy.”
S5Ep5 – “Black and Blue & “Our Bionic Future” debuted on 03.24. As the country grows further divided, some officers are speaking out to spark change in some of the 18,000 local police departments. VICE correspondent Cord Jefferson reported from St. Louis, one of America’s most dangerous cities, to hear from activists and police officers alike about race and policing. A bionic revolution is brewing, as recent advancements in bioengineering have brought about scientific breakthroughs in rehabilitation for people with disabilities. VICE’s Wilbert L. Cooper traveled to Zurich to see the first-ever bionic Olympics and discovers breaking technologies.
5Ep6 – “End of Amateurism” debuted on 03.31. College athletics have seen explosive revenue growth in the last decade, but the NCAA requires players to forego profits in favor of scholarships and new facilities, and now federal courts are being asked whether that compensation is enough. Gianna Toboni traveled the U.S. college sports landscape to find the story.
S5Ep07 – “Life Under Sharia” & “Plastic Oceans” debuted 04.07. Indonesia’s Sharia rule is one of the strictest in the Muslim faith. VICE Media co-founder Suroosh Alvi traveled to the region, the world’s most populous Muslim country, to experience Sharia up close. Isobel Yeung traveled to the remote shores of Hawaii and the coast of the North Sea as plastics are choking our oceans to see the extent of the problem and methods to cut back on our usage of plastics.
S5Ep08 – “Fast Food of Arabia” & “Nollywood” debuted on 04.21. As Americans become increasingly health-conscious fast food companies are looking elsewhere, thus this report from Kuwait. Gianna Toboni traveled there to witness the health effects of the country that is obsessed with U.S. fast food. The other report comes from Thomas Morton who explored the explosive productivity of Nigerian cinema in the fast-growing film industry of that African country.
S5Ep09 – “Medical Détente” & “Bananas” debuted on 04.28. Cuba’s health system is one of the most efficient in the world. With the travel ban lifted Gianna Toboni traveled there to find out just why the system is successful for Cubans and the possibly soon to arrive Americans looking for better health care. VICE headed to the heart of banana country in Latin American and the Philippines to see the devastating effects that Panama Disease on the world’s favorite banana, the Cavendish.
S5Ep10 – “Taliban Resurgence” debuted on 05.05. Ben Anderson returned to the conflict he’s covered for ten years in Afghanistan and reunited with several for a shocking report that questions what America’s longest war has actually accomplished.
S5Ep11 – “Engineering Immortality” & “Robot Revolution” debuted on 05.12. Looming breakthroughs in genomics, pharmaceuticals and stem cell research have brought humanity to the precipice of a second longevity explosion. Isobel Yeung met the scientists and doctors leading this charge, which promises to revolutionize how bodies age in the years to come. The second report looked at artificial intelligence as it develops. VICE explores how robotics and the computers that power them are poised for an extraordinary leap forward.
S5Ep12 – “Women Behind Bars” & “The Business of Making Art” debuted on 05.19. The number of women incarcerated in the U.S. has increased 700% since 1980. Isobel Yeung spent research time in prisons across the country, discovering what it means to be an American woman behind bars. Ben Anderson spent time understanding the art world and the business behind it, including the appeal of owning the work of artist Andy Warhol.
S5Ep13 – “Taking Back Iraq” & “Lost Generation” debuted on 06.02. Last October, a U.S.-supported coalition of Iraqi and Kurdish troops announced a long-awaited offensive to retake the city of Mosul from ISIS. Aris Roussinos embedded with Iraqi forces on the road to Mosul as they began their assault on Islamic State’s last Iraq stronghold to file this report. The second piece had Isobel Yeung also in Iraq to see what the future looks like through the eyes of its youth as ISIS, at that time, began to collapse.
S5Ep14 – “The Politics of Terror” & ”End of the EU?” debuted on 06.09. While Donald Trump’s election in the U.S. came as a surprise to many, his victory is part of a global trend. In the wake of terror attacks and the migrant crisis, a new wave of populist candidates is cropping up across Europe, and the fate of the EU hangs in the balance. VICE examined the rise of Europe’s far right. Silvio Berlusconi was in many ways Europe’s original populist, shaping the mold for today’s right-wing European leaders. Shane Smith, in the second segment, traveled to the home of the former Italian prime minister to discuss the state of the Old World’s politics in the modern day.
S5Ep15 – “Future of Firearms” & “Russia ‘Wins’ Climate Change” debuted on 06.16. The firearms industry experienced unprecedented growth in the last decade and we have seen the deadly results that spurt has wrought. A closer look at the future of firearms in America as VICE sees it was given in this report. It was followed by a report telling how the Russian government is taking advantage of the Artic melting. Fossil fuels becoming more accessible as a result and Siberian shipping lanes opening up.
In the first fifteen installments, VICE has covered a number of hotspots around the world like Syria and Iraq but had a good many stories about culture and technologies. Who would have thought Nigeria was the Hollywood of Africa? VICE also had their fingers on the pulse of the controversial issues facing both this nation and around the world. For example, a look at Sharia Law and the crippled banana crops surprised us. If you missed it all check out VICE on HBONow/Go.
In another post, we will look at the remainder of the episodes from VICE Season Five. If you’re not watching VICE, you should be. Peace.