Binge watching North Korean TV is surreal — and educational

We binge watched North Korean TV and learned a lot about Kim Jong Un
February 22, 2018, 5:30pm

While the world watches North Korea compete in the Olympics, we binge-watched North Korean television in an effort to learn more about daily life in the hermit kingdom under Kim Jong Un.

North Korea’s Supreme Leader comes from a long line of movie buffs. His father, Kim Jong Il, was passionate about filmmaking and believed in the power of the cinema to unite his country. His movies of choice were big military dramas with messages of duty to the leader embedded in nearly every frame.

But Kim Jong Un loves the small screen. Under his rule, state media has moved away from the communist epic and into more intimate, family dramas that air every night between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. After that, the power goes out in Pyongyang.

To understand more about what North Koreans are watching and what the government wants them to think, we arranged a screening with Jean Lee, who became an expert in North Korean television when she worked as a journalist in Pyongyang.

This segment originally aired February 12, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.