VICE make excellent documentaries. Yes, that sounds arrogant, but also: it's true.
To showcase our best creations, we've put together this selection of 12 of the best VICE documentaries, comprised of standalone films, digital series and TV shows, which we think will keep you entertained, informed and educated for a very long time.
1. FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
It was supposed to be Woodstock for the Instagram-era, but turned into Lord of the Flies. Luckily, enough people were screwed over in the process that the slighted organisers were more than happy to open up about what really happened at Fyre Festival. Co-produced by VICE Studios, FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened takes you behind the scenes of the scam, explaining how a festival that was billed as a paradise full of influencers, crystal blue water and luxury yachts turned into a Darwinian scrum for toilet paper and hurricane tents. Watch on Netflix here.
2. Hamilton's Pharmacopeia
It’s a show about drugs. In this digital series-turned-TV show, host Hamilton Morris finds a suitable outlet for his obsession with pharmacology, uncovering the mysteries and methodologies of mind-altering substances. He’s joined by users, dealers and shamans, ranging from an artist who claims to have met angels while on K, to a couple who bond by extracting DMT together. Watch every episode for free on All 4.
3. On a Knife Edge: London’s Knife Crime Emergency
In the wake of multiple knife-related murders in the UK's capital, activist and ex-gang member Josh Osbourne looks at the "code of silence" that regularly stops young people reporting crime for fear of being labelled a snitch. The consequences of knife crime now stretch beyond simple life and death, as Josh discovers when he follows the grieving families, active gang members and knife attack survivors, learning that – for some – surviving a knife attack is no longer seen as a close call, but a badge of honour. Watch on YouTube here.
4. Snake Man
Five years ago, VICE met Steve Ludwin, a man who seemed to have found the elixir of life by injecting himself with snake venom. We joined him again last year for a three-part journey into "snake subculture", from churches in rural Appalachia that handle serpents during services, to a Texas beauty pageant where contestants decapitate and skin rattlesnakes for an adoring crowd. Watch the full series on YouTube here.
Did you know there’s a thriving market for alien sex eggs? Now you do. Karley Sciortino is the real life Carrie Bradshaw, if Carrie Bradshaw had been a sex positive radical feminist who worked as a golden shower dominatrix in a previous life. Under her sex blogger moniker Slutever, in this documentary series Karley travels around the United States to speak to the fetishists, kinksters and entreporneurs who are changing the way we think about sensuality. Watch the complete Season One box set free on All 4.
6. Hate Thy Neighbour
Few people could sit calmly through a Nazi swastika burning in modern day Klan territory, but British comedian Jamali Maddix manages while holding a Bud and a pair of binoculars. Hate Thy Neighbour sees Jamali travel around the world meeting far-righters, militant homophobes and pro-life hate preachers to find out what makes them tick. Astonishingly, he never loses his cool, even when an EDL member insists that hating "n****s" doesn’t make him a racist. When he’s back on home turf, he heads to a comedy club to report his findings to a live audience. Watch both seasons free on All 4.
At the intersection of violence and stability, progress and oppression, are women. In Zambia, child brides are forced to go through uncomfortable pre-wedding rituals that focus almost entirely on how to please men. In the US, sexual assault in the military affects women disproportionately. Gloria Steinem’s documentary series introduces us to the women who are fighting against systematic oppression daily, shaping not just their own futures, but ours too. In her words: "By confronting the problems once marginalised as women’s issues, we can tackle the greatest dangers of the 21st century." Watch the full box set free on All 4.
8. Ballet and Bullets
"Na Ponta dos Pes" (On Tiptoes) is a ballet project in the Alemão favela complex in Rio de Janeiro, created by 23-year-old former professional dancer Tuany Nascimento.
Her classes take place in one of the roughest parts of Alemão. The area is currently at the centre of a rolling feud between rival drug cartels and the military police, with many students in her ballet schools coming from families caught up in narco turf wars and urban poverty. Ballet and Bullets follows Tuany as she attempts to keep the ballet school open in the midst of increasing violence. Watch free on YouTube here.
9. Life Hacks with Oobah Butler
This is the series that led to Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid calling Oobah "a very naughty boy" on national television. After fooling the internet into believing that his shed was the top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor, Oobah Butler returned just a few months later to reveal that he’d turned a pair of knock-off brand jeans into the highlight of Paris Fashion Week. Then he got sick of the publicity and managed to hoodwink journalists by sending impersonators to do press interviews on his behalf, proving, if nothing else, the power of peroxide. Watch the Life Hacks documentary series on YouTube.
10. Last Chance High
Moses Montefiore Academy in Chicago is a specialist therapeutic school for the city’s most at-risk students. Children who come to the academy have often been expelled from other public schools, and many come from abusive or disruptive households. In the Peabody Award winning and Emmy nominated documentary series Last Chance High, VICE is given unprecedented access to the halls of Montefiore, meeting the students, parents and teachers fighting tirelessly to keep the school alive and the kids out of prison. Watch the complete box set free on All 4.
Acts of international violence are increasingly being taken online. From government agencies being accused of hacking elections, to online activists who blur the line of trolling and dissidence, technology is changing politics, democracy and the world as we know it. These strange times need answers, and this series sets out to find them. Presenter Ben Makuch travels the world to meet with the hackers, government officials and protesters who have built a new ecosystem of cyberwarfare. Watch the box set free on All 4.
Joined by her friend Ian Daniel, Ellen Page meets with LGBTQ communities around the world to understand their marginalisation, and how they fight back with beauty, understanding and solidarity. Watch the full series free on All 4 here.