It’s been a little over a month since the news organization Vice launched its own network of original programming and the results already look promising. By pulling together the brands resources from its web series and documentary features, Vice managed to fill up an entire TV lineup with personalities like Ellen Page, Eddie Huang and Action Bronson. While the HBO Vice Series is aimed at objective documentary, Viceland television programs generally lean toward the bias of the various hosts. I’ve got my take on the current offerings below. All of these shows are available online with your cable login at viceland.com.
Fuck That’s Delicious
There are two subjects I’d refer to Queens M.C. Action Bronson as an expert in without knowing him: musical composition and where to get a good meal. Fuck That’s Delicious follows the line cook turned rapper and his tour mates as they eat, perform and eat across the globe. While Bronson shines as the program’s culinary expert, the real gold can be found in the dynamic he shares with legendary producer The Alchemist, rappers Mayhem Lauren and Big Body Bes. All four share about equal air time on their exploits around the globe. One central theme to program is pushing the limits of your comfort zone. This is best illustrated by Action constantly pushing the crew to embrace the unexpected wrinkles in life. Don’t be fooled by the title, this road show is as much about budding bromance as it is music and food.
Thursdays at 9pm Central.
Journalist Ian Daniel teams up with actress Ellen Page on a global tour of national attitudes toward native LBGTQ communities. This program jumps into the sights, sounds and feelings of affected youth in these cultures, venturing to homosexual murder capitals and some of the largest pride celebrations in the same episodes. Page and Daniel seem to be on a journey prospecting the possibility a new normal, where members of the LGBTQ community are no longer seen as deviants, just people whose sexual/gender orientation matter about as much as their hair color. The most beautiful moment of season 1 has to be when best friends Page and Daniel undergo a wedding ceremony in traditional Japanese garb.
Season 1 out now.
Using classic comedy examples John Belusihi, Dan Akroyd and Robin Williams as examples, filmmaker Lance Bangs documents a community of comics in a series of house shows across the nation. While Kevin Hart and Aziz Ansari are selling out arenas, everyday comics are broke, living together in “FlopHouses”. These domiciles double as performance space for a few faces that soon become familiar including semi-host Clare O’ Kane. It’s an interesting trip that takes the viewer to converted catholic convents and repurposed air hangars in search of serious laughs. This isn’t a show about finding the funniest people in America. They’re just a group of poor dirt bags working on their crafts in small demos across the country – they just happen to be really funny.
Thursdays at 9:30pm Central.
Anyone familiar with Vice should know it’s sister site Noisey, a music site dedicated to not being boring. Noisey’s titular show is a docu-series aimed at uncovering the various “Meccas” of regional hip-hop music. Starting with a trip to Compton with Kendrick Lamar, the program takes on a tour of the places that shaped the sound of modern music. While it starts as a hip-hop show, Noisey quickly broadens and covers all types of popular music – focusing on the local talents who still propel the sounds of a region.
Tuesdays at 9pm Central.
Vice correspondent Krishna Andavolu dives deep into marijuana culture to explore the status of it’s legality in the states. He travels to far off weed growing nations and compares their system of legality with the models the U.S. practices. Krishna’s brand of investigative journalism places the host in a bevy of different mind states while still tackling issues that affect the health and freedom of millions of people worldwide. Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t a stoner documentary. This is an investigative series aimed at educated it’s audience and entertaining them with audacity. The kind of audacity that had Krishna smoking a joint over a conversation with the Uruguayan president in another Vice documentary in 2014.
Tuesdays at 10pm Central.
Thomas Morton is another Vice correspondent whose brand of investigative journalism benefited from the expansion of Viceland. Morton’s travels are aimed at lifestyles, not destinations. Balls Deep follows Morton’s conquest to understand every lifestyle and – in his own words- become God in the process.
We see Thomas undergo becoming a revival tent preacher, orgasmic meditator and Ramadan all in the first season. Other exploits land Thomas in Alaska and with a groups Inuit natives and off the coast for tug fishing. Though he seems hilariously miscast to do any of these adventures, the true appeal of the show shines through in his willingness to try new experiences and the openness of the communities he visits to let him try.
Season 1 out now.
State of Undress
Mui Mui model Hailey Gates explores international cultures of and attitudes toward fashion in relation to women in the newest of Viceland series to debut. In a surprisingly poignant and honest way, Gates points to the simple differences in freedom of expression through dress around the world. Instead of holding Western standards on a pedestal, Gates finds the pockets of expression in even the most restrictive societies. Moving into more general issues, Gates further explores places where women can even attain tampons by local policy in one episode. Her intelligent foray into investigative journalism may not dig as deep as a seasoned vet, but it avoids complications by using honest curiosity as it’s driving force.
Wednesdays at 9pm Central.
Vice Guide to Film
Boasting the least extensive catalog, Vice Guide to film covers the directors of this generation and the previous. By inviting different Hollywood stars to narrate the careers of great directors, the program is slowly providing a conglomerate of modern America cinema using the voices that played a part. So far the series has tackled Werner Herzog, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher and Todd Haynes. Actors included are Samuel L. Jackson, James Franco, Ben Affleck and others. It’s release schedule it’s terribly consistent, but each new episode adds a new chapter to it’s growing magnus. I only wish it was longer than 20 minutes.
Yet to debut:
Vice Guide to Sports
King of The Road
Beyond The Frame
Woman with Gloria Stienem