television

TV review: ‘Vice’

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HBO’s Vice will take its cast and crew all over the globe, including Pakistan.

The Details

Vice
Three stars
Fridays, 11 p.m., HBO

Vice magazine is known for its often obnoxious, button-pushing features far more than it’s known for serious reporting, but in recent years the provocative publication has branched out into documentary work, producing movies like Heavy Metal in Baghdad and the Snoop Dogg-goes-reggae chronicle Reincarnated. Now comes what might be Vice’s most serious project ever, an eponymous HBO newsmagazine that takes on heavy topics like teenage suicide bombers, political assassinations and Pakistani-Indian tensions. Although the show’s correspondents have a Michael Moore-like penchant for inserting themselves into the story that can sometimes come off as arrogant posturing, the segments still illuminate serious subject matter in an engaging, if sometimes slightly superficial, way. Comedian and HBO talk-show host Bill Maher is one of the show’s producers, and Dennis Rodman’s controversial recent North Korea visit was engineered for an upcoming segment, so future episodes could feature more self-consciously irreverent antics, but the first two installments prove surprisingly effective.

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