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Vice - S02E01

News . Documentary

The U.S. has spent nearly $100 billion on reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, the most spent on any country in history. But John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, has found that much of that money has been wasted and misused, and has even fallen into the hands of the Taliban. Shane Smith heads to Afghanistan for a tour of American taxpayer dollars gone down the drain. Rio de Janeiro is working hard to remedy its reputation as a drug and murder capital in time for the upcoming World Cup and Olympics. The Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) has been charged with pacifying the slums (favelas), but BOPE's military occupation of increasing numbers of favelas has been criticized as heavy-handed. Some corrupt members of the BOPE, together with ex-police, have formed militia gangs of their own and are controlling many favelas by sinister means, openly extorting, torturing, killing and making criminals disappear. Still, there are hundreds of favelas, untouched by pacification, that remain under the control of drug gangs who act with complete impunity. Ben Anderson looks behind the picturesque façade of Rio's marketing campaign to reveal the dark underbelly of the city.

Episode Title: Afghan Money Pit & The Pacification of Rio
Airs: 2014-03-14 at 23:00
  • Maureen Ryan

    It's the sloppy approach to context and the tabloid-y aspects of Vice that are ultimately harder to take than the self-aggrandizing bro-ness of it all.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Mike Hale

    The problem with Vice isn’t its insistent aggrandizement but its excessive softheadedness. It’s journalism at the intersection of shallow and gullible, where they meet, high-five and compare tattoos.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    Vice seems to be in search of some sweet spot between “60 Minutes” and “Jackass,” and there’s enough here to suggest that such a spot may exist. The concept could work, especially if Smith and his correspondents were more inclined to point the cameras away from themselves.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    Vice tries to go where other news, documentary and magazine shows do not. That’s okay, though it does at times overstate its pioneering prowess.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Despite showing some very gruesome imagery--a real decapitated head, for example--and having a swaggy, “we’re so hip we send our reporters into dangerous places looking like they just rolled out of bed” self-aggrandizement, Vice is fundamentally earnest.

    Salon Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    What Vice offers is not deep or thorough, but it is not without value. The news comes in pieces now; to get the full picture, you have to assemble it yourself.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    In a world that has exploded with instantaneously accessible information, television news is hard-pressed to figure out how to keep up. It takes a show like Vice to make other news magazine shows seem like they belong in a TV antiques shop.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith--hardly a natural on camera--the magazine nevertheless resonates precisely because it zeroes in on unsettling tales of violence and cruelty abroad, at a moment when TV news frequently seems preoccupied with trifles at home.

    Variety Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    This isn’t look-at-me journalism with a fitted Gap t-shirt. It’s more of a holy-hell-can-you-believe-this approach that fights perfectly on a cable channel trying to do something different.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Tirdad Derakhshani

    It's graphic--disturbingly and, some would say, unnecessarily, so.... But it's also intelligent and enlightening.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Jessica Shaw

    The lack of polish makes Vice all the more riveting. [5 Apr 2013, p.63]

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Linda Stasi

    There are a whole lot of “Holy s--t!” moments, but it’s very real and astoundingly raw--without once giving you the idea these are show-off correspondents with a makeup artist and clean clothes.

    New York Post Full Review