The BEST Episodes of VICE
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2021
The Emmy®-winning documentary series is now on SHOWTIME, delivering immersive reporting from the frontlines of global conflicts, civil uprisings and beyond, and tackling untold and complex geopolitical stories from all corners of the globe.
#1 - The Hermit Kingdom
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Jun 14, 2013
'Basketball Diplomacy' - U.S. relations with North Korea have been strained to the breaking point by the country’s disturbing nuclear-weapons threats, backed by “supreme leader” Kim Jong-un’s anti-American rhetoric. Fortunately, Kim shares one of his late father’s passions: American basketball. With that in mind, and through official and backdoor channels, VICE organized an unlikely, highly publicized trip to North Korea, hoping to thaw out relations through some hoops diplomacy. With NBA great Dennis Rodman and a trio of exuberant Harlem Globetrotters in tow, VICE traveled to the capital of Pyongyang for a surreal tour of the city, a basketball clinic with under-18 players, an exhibition game witnessed by Kim and 10,000 adoring fans, and - most surprising - a first-ever meeting between the baby-faced leader and an American delegation.
#2 - The Pink Gang Rebellion & Genetic Passport
Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired May 2, 2014
'The Pink Gang Rebellion' - The brutal details of a 2012 gang rape on a Delhi bus focused international attention on India’s rampant rape issue. Inept law enforcement, the social stigma associated with rape, and a patriarchal social structure have allowed sexual assaults to plague Indian women. But one woman, Sampat Pal, has galvanized a group of rural women into the Gulabi Gang, or Pink Gang, to combat the injustice of sexual assault. Gelareh Kiazand heads to rural Indian to investigate the issue and embed with this revolutionary gang. 'Genetic Passport' - From 1949 to 1989, the Soviet Union, determined to prepare for nuclear warfare, detonated more than 450 nuclear bombs in an area of Kazakhstan known as the Semipalatinsk Test Site. For hundreds of thousands of Kazakhs, radiation not only surrounded them, but became part of their DNA. Thomas Morton goes to Kazakhstan to learn more about this controversial initiative.
#3 - Addiction
Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired May 17, 2013
'Tobaccoland' - The dangers of smoking are no secret in the U.S., but in Indonesia, the tobacco industry is virtually unregulated. The result? Over two-thirds of all men are smokers, and it is commonplace for children as young as six to take up the habit. Tobacco is a $100 billion industry here, with TV and print ads everywhere. Investigating this phenomenon in Malang, VICE visits a clinic that promises cures to a plethora of modern ailments through tobacco and smoking – with our intrepid correspondent getting the full smoke-therapy treatment. 'Underground Heroin Clinic' - Heroin is the most addictive drug on earth, and some people will do anything to kick the habit. Enter Ibogaine – a drug made out of the African iboga root, whose intense, hallucinogenic properties make it a Type-A felony drug. But many swear it's the most effective way to kick heroin addiction – especially when combined with a voodoo-type ritual that involves face paint and chanting. VICE follows the journey of a heroin addict who travels to Mexico, where Ibogaine is legal, to try to finally quit.
#4 - State of Surveillance
Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired May 27, 2016
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked details of massive government surveillance programs in 2013, igniting a raging debate over digital privacy and security. That debate came to a head this year, when Apple fought an FBI court order seeking to access the iPhone of alleged San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. Meanwhile, journalists and activists are under increasing attack from foreign agents. To find out the government’s real capabilities, and investigate whether any of us can truly protect our sensitive information, founder Shane Smith heads to Moscow to meet Snowden.
#5 - Rocky Mountain High & North Korean Defectors
Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Apr 25, 2014
'Rocky Mountain High' - The legalization of marijuana in the United States is now a reality. Businessmen, and even lawmakers are trying to capitalize on the potential success of the end of marijuana prohibition. David Choe looks at the rising entrepreneurs and businesses of this ever-growing trade. 'North Korean Defectors' - Last season, VICE on HBO followed the lives of the North Korean defectors on their perilous journey escaping the Hermit Kingdom. Vikram Gandhi follows the paths of these defectors and their new lives in the highly modernized society of South Korea.
#6 - Raised in the System
Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired Apr 6, 2018
Emmy-nominated actor Michael Kenneth Williams embarks on a personal journey to expose the root of the American mass incarceration crisis: the juvenile justice system.
#7 - When the Earth Melts & The Displaced
Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired Mar 10, 2017
“When the Earth Melts” - VICE Correspondent Ben Anderson travels across the Arctic to examine the devastating impact of thawing permafrost--and the astonishing solution that might keep it frozen. “Displaced” - VICE Correspondent Gianna Toboni follows the journey of refugees journeying across the Mediterranean Sea who have been left in limbo due to the tightening borders of an increasingly nationalist Europe.
#8 - Crude Awakening & The Enemy of My Enemy
Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired May 16, 2014
'Crude Awakening' - Shane Smith heads to Louisiana to report on the lasting effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where four years later, mass quantities of oil still wash ashore. 'The Enemy of My Enemy' - Ben Anderson goes deep into Houthi-controlled territory to learn about the group that’s fighting, and beating, Al Qaeda in the east, Saudi Arabia in the north, and Yemen’s central government in the south.
#9 - Playing With Nuclear Fire & No Man Left Behind
Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired May 23, 2014
‘Playing with Nuclear Fire’ - In March 2011, the Tohoku earthquake in Japan created a tsunami that killed some 16,000 people and caused an estimated $210 billion worth of damage, including crippling the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resulting in massive emissions of radioactive materials. Vikram Gandhi heads to Japan to investigate what's really going on at ground zero of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. ‘No Man Left Behind’ - For many U.S. veterans returning from Iran and Afghanistan, the transition to civilian life is too often marred by mental illnesses including anxiety, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ryan Duffy meets with veterans struggling with mental illness and addiction to find out how the men and women who risked their lives on the battlefield are now falling through the cracks back at home.
#10 - Die Trying
Season 4 - Episode 16 - Aired Jun 17, 2016
The 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge raised millions of dollars for ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disease, but while the social media wave gave new life to ALS research, there is still no viable treatment and access to experimental drugs is limited. Battling ALS herself, VICE editor Angelina Fanous meets with patients and top researchers across the U.S. to find out what's being done to tackle this devastating disease and the regulatory hurdles faced by ALS patients and drugmakers alike.
#11 - Cold War 2.0
Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Jun 26, 2015
The increasingly strained relationship between Russia and NATO is examined in the Season 3 finale, which includes remarks by U.S. president Barack Obama and vice president Joe Biden.
#12 - The Future of Energy
Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired Apr 15, 2016
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris last December, world leaders agreed that climate change is an urgent threat, cementing green energy production as a new frontier of innovation. VICE founder Shane Smith takes an in-depth look at the future of how we make and use energy, and how we can meet growing demand as we cut carbon emissions.
#13 - A Syria of Their Own & White Gold
Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Apr 4, 2014
'A Syria of Their Own' - Thomas Morton goes to the frontline of the battle for a Kurdish state to follow the story of Syria's forgotten ethnic group, the Kurds. 'White Gold' - Rhino horn has been coveted in Eastern medicine for centuries. Vikram Gandhi traces the trade from Southern Africa to Vietnam to understand this illicit phenomenon which has been on the rise.
#14 - Lines in the Sand & Outsourcing Embryos
Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Mar 27, 2015
'Lines in the Sand' - Ben Anderson explores the trafficking hot spots of South America and Africa to find out who is profiting from Europe's cocaine habit. 'Outsourcing Embryos' - Gianna Toboni explores some of India's 3,000 surrogacy clinics, watching doctors deliver surrogate babies, and following recruiters who find prospective surrogates in the slums.
#15 - Our Rising Oceans
Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Mar 6, 2015
A report on climate change that features a visit to Antarctica to observe melting glaciers and a report on rising sea levels in Bangladesh. Then an interview with Vice President Joe Biden.
#16 - Surveillance City & The Forgotten War
Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Jun 13, 2014
‘Surveillance City’ – Vikram Gandhi heads to Camden, New Jersey where a police surveillance system is transforming law enforcement in the city. ‘The Forgotten War’ – Ben Anderson heads to refugee camps in Chad and Sudan to meet victims of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s brutal genocide. Little has been done about the problem in the past decade and now rebel groups are poised for a civil war.
#17 - Assad's Syria & Cost of Climate Change
Season 5 - Episode 1 - Aired Feb 24, 2017
“Assad's Syria” - Isobel Yeung travels through regime-controlled Syria to see how Assad prevailed and to find out what might happen next in his crippled country. “Cost of Climate Change” - In the face of a scientific consensus, and with the Trump administration ushering some climate deniers into the highest levels of government, Shane Smith follows the money to see the true economic stakes of decades of denial.
#18 - Heroin Crisis & New Age of Nukes
Season 4 - Episode 14 - Aired Jun 3, 2016
'Heroin Crisis' - America is facing the worst drug epidemic this country has ever seen: more people are dying from overdoses than from car accidents-and at the center of it is an explosion in the use of heroin. Thomas Morton traces the causes and impacts of the crisis, from the poppy farms of Mexico to the hills of West Virginia, and investigates how users, first responders, and government officials are responding to the new reality of American drug use. 'New Age of Nukes' - Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, America's vast nuclear arsenal is beginning to show its age, and the government has embarked on the largest nuclear modernization effort in our history, costing American taxpayers as much as $1 trillion. Kaj Larsen goes aboard a ballistic missile submarine and visits the facilities on the front line of our nuclear weapons program to see why the military wants to upgrade the nukes we have-and why that might be a dangerous idea.
#19 - After ISIS & Cubs of the Caliphate
Season 5 - Episode 29 - Aired Oct 13, 2017
"After ISIS" - The fight to retake Mosul, the biggest city in ISIS' so-called caliphate, lasted over 10 months and was the biggest urban battle to take place since World War II. As civilians of Mosul endured the impossible choice of hiding in their homes or fleeing, running the risk of being killed by ISIS, the war raged on--bombarding homes and destroying everything in its path. With unparalleled access, VICE followed the Iraqi Army as they fought the terrorist group, room to room, house to house and street to street, often fighting for days on end and suffering horrendous casualties on a slow crawl to liberation. "Cubs of the Caliphate" - Now that most of Iraq has been liberated from ISIS control, the daunting task of what to do with civilians who lived under their brutal regime remains. Nowhere is this issue more complicated than in the case of children, particularly those who were recruited to fight with the Islamic State. VICE Correspondent Isobel Yeung meets the Iraqi youth who both lived and trained under ISIS as they try to rebuild their lives while facing an uncertain future.
#20 - Medical Détente & Bananas
Season 5 - Episode 9 - Aired Apr 28, 2017
“Medical Détente” - VICE correspondent Gianna Toboni travels to Cuba to witness potential treatments and cures that flourished in the country's biotech industry despite the decades-long US embargo. “Bananas” - VICE heads to the heart of banana country in Latin American and the Philippines to see the devastating effects of the disease and to investigate what the loss of the banana would really mean besides a less colorful lunchbox.
#21 - Back in the DPRK & California Burning
Season 6 - Episode 30 - Aired Dec 14, 2018
In the wake of a series of inter-Korean summits and the first ever DPRK-U.S. summit, Shane Smith returns to the Korean peninsula to see how Seoul and Pyongyang are reacting to the new détente. Gianna Toboni travels to the scorched town of Paradise to learn what is causing the worsening wildfires in California and how they can survive a future of deadlier fires.
#22 - Future of Firearms & Russia “Wins” Climate Change
Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired Jun 16, 2017
“Future of Firearms” - With the political landscape fundamentally changed, the firearms industry, and gun rights advocates, are looking for new ways to expand upon their 2nd amendment rights and the bottom line -- with some surprising results. VICE takes a closer look at the future of firearms in America. “Russia 'Wins' Climate Change” - Climate change is causing catastrophic changes to our planet, but it may be an economic blessing for Russia. As the Arctic ice melts, petroleum and mineral resources are more accessible, shipping lanes are opening up and the frozen Siberian tundra could become arable. In fact, the Russian government and people seem to be welcoming the warming temperatures. And with America pulling out of the Paris Agreement, perhaps this is a glimpse into our own future.
#23 - Afghanistan After Us & La Haine
Season 3 - Episode 13 - Aired Jun 19, 2015
'Afghanistan After Us' - Ben Anderson returns to Helmand, the country's most violent province, to investigate the security situation in Afghanistan as American involvement winds down. 'La Haine' - Vikram Gandhi goes to Paris to gauge the causes of the growing hate in the City of Lights.
#24 - The Resource Curse & Deliver Us from Drought
Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired May 9, 2014
‘The Resource Curse’ - Vikram Gandhi heads to Papua New Guinea to investigate the impact of Exxon Mobil on the small Melanesian country, where the American corporation is developing a $19 billion liquid natural gas project expected to start production in late 2014. ‘Deliver Us From Drought’ – Thomas Morton heads to Texas to witness the climate catastrophe, and discover firsthand the local response.
#25 - Engineering Immortality & Robot Revolution
Season 5 - Episode 11 - Aired May 12, 2017
“Engineering Immortality” - Isobel Yeung meets the scientists and doctors leading the charge in genomics, pharmaceuticals, and stem cell research, which promises to revolutionize how our bodies age in the years to come. “Robot Revolution” - VICE explores how robotics and the computers that power them are poised for an extraordinary leap forward with the emergence of artificial intelligence, and how humanity can reconcile the huge risks and possibilities that will follow.