What is Viceland UK and should you be watching it?

What you need to know about new TV channel from Vice, launching on Sky this Monday 19 September

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What is Viceland UK?

Viceland UK is the new 24-hour TV channel from Vice, the brand that made a lot of documentaries you might have watched on YouTube about music, food, art, sex, drugs, fashion, film, sports and technology.

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The brand has already launched television channels in the United States and Canada, but this is the first time Vice have hung their flag on UK TV schedules.

However, like its North American cousins, Viceland UK is being overseen by creative director Spike Jonze.

Spike Jonze? Like, the Spike Jonze, director of Her and Being John Malkovich?

The very same. 

Interesting. So, where can I watch Viceland UK?

Switch over to Sky Channel 153 (in the lifestyle and entertainment section). You can also catch Viceland’s shows on Now TV after they air on Sky.

No, it isn’t on Freeview.

Who is Viceland UK aimed at?

Your typical Vice audience: “Young people,” says Alex Miller, Viceland Creative Director. “We’re making shows for people who are interested in the world, who want to be a bit more optimistic about where we’re going; people who don’t give into the cynical old media.”

Basically, they’re gearing their content towards a younger audience – millennials who are more at home online than traditional platforms.

I see… so why are they making a TV channel?

We know: what’s going to get the Buzzfeed generation back to the box? “Obviously it’s a challenge,” says Miller. “But millions and millions of people watch TV all the time. And TV is the agenda setting media of this country. It would be unentrepreneurial for us to not jump in and f**k that s**t up.”

So, effing and jeffing aside, it’s simply trying to create TV for young people, by young people. 

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Isn’t that what BBC3 are trying to do?

Indeed. But “we’ll just make stuff that’s good,” says Viceland, in no way thinking about Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

Viceland also say they’re taking a fresh look at how a channel is put together: “So many television TV channels just seem like a fruit salad of concepts – one structured reality format here, one American sitcom there. And they’ve thrown it all together with boring idents,” says Miller.

“It’s important that we have a TV station that has a personality, that has a point of view.”

Okay, what’s their viewpoint then?

Some have labelled their shows as counter-culture content championing a DIY antithesis to the traditional approaches practised by mainstream news outlets. Others might just call them a bucket load of gonzo-journalism documentaries.

And Vice themselves? They’re not entirely sure what their viewpoint is. “That’s a deep and complex idea,” says Miller. “But if you come across Vice’s work over the years, if it’s a serious thing or a funny thing, you can always tell it’s from us.” 

Hmmm, right… so what shows are going to be Viceland UK? I think I watched a few documentaries Vice did about weed?

Yes, Vice aficionados will be pleased to hear there’s going to be a fair few shows about drugs. But also shows about sex, food, racism, sports, music and many more issues “that matter to young people”.

Here are our picks of the launch shows:

The UK Census

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FVICELANDUK%2Fvideos%2F1221192507902337%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Fans of Vice on YouTube will probably know Clive Martin. Clive likes going out. He likes going out a lot. And Clive likes filming and writing about it for Vice. Even if that means he’s seen sights such as a man masturbate into his own flip-flops, and a hip-hop crew wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words “F**k Clive”.

And, for Viceland, Clive is escaping his usual home of the UK club scene to travel the world “to discover how partying has become an act of rebellion, subsistence or survival for young people everywhere.”

What should you look out for in the first episode? Clive told Radiotimes.com: “My favourite bit where is in the Russian rebel-occupied city of Donestk, and two armed soldiers teach me a traditional dance in a club full of drunk guys with AK47s”

Suffice to say, it’s a funny, scary and extremely odd show.

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Hate for Beginners

http://players.brightcove.net/69912529001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5131740437001

Just in case you weren’t sure from the title, this programme is all about LGBT culture around the world. And leading this Emmy-nominated Gaycation from Japan to Jamaica is Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) and her friend Ian Daniel (Gaycation – yup, this is literally all he’s done).

It’s touching, funny and very very tense – see if you can get through this clip above of a coming out from episode one without covering your eyes with your hands.

Weediquette

This show on Vice’s favourite topic follows presenter Krishna Andavolu exploring the interesting highs and lows (I know) in the world of marijuana, from two-year-old users to army veteran addicts.

Episode one is worth a watch if just for a glimpse at a barbecue where all the kids are high. And we mean all of them.

Black Market

Michael K. Williams (you know, Omar from The Wire) has a past of drug addiction and homelessness. In other words, he’s the perfect guy for investigating the underground economies of the world, meeting those who would risk anything to survive.

It’s very very difficult watching, but it’s one of the most eye-opening documentaries on world poverty you’ll see.

Noisey

Host Zach Goldbaum takes us around the world (sense a theme emerging?) to meet and greet artists in the most compelling, dangerous and sometimes controversial music scenes. 

VICE World of Sports

Less so about sports themselves, this documentary will examine the culture of sport. Which, yes, means looking at a lot of hardcore fans – the best and worst of them – in several countries. Not as funny as watching Gary Lineker presenting Match of The Day in his Leicester FC pants, but definitely more thought provoking.

So, most of the shows are filmed abroad?

Oh, you noticed. Well, yes, despite the channel’s trailers focusing on shots filmed in the UK, a lot of the shows will be looking at “issues around the world”, meaning most episodes are set abroad.

Viceland say it’s intentional: “Anyone who thinks this generation isn’t an international generation is an idiot,” says Miller. “They’ve been reared on the internet and they care just as much what happens in other countries as they do about their own.”

There’s a lot of documentaries in that list. Will Viceland UK just show documentaries?

Viceland admit that “documentaries are where we come from”, so this channel probably isn’t for you if you’re looking for the next Narcos.

However, the channel is open – very open – to new ideas. In fact, Viceland UK is currently developing several scripted comedies and could even add a breakfast show or a late night talk show to later schedules. 

Will Viceland UK be broadcasting any films?

Glad you reminded us. During its first week, Viceland will air the Japanese action horror film Battle Royale (a brilliantly gory version of The Hunger Games). And you can see creepy rabbit cult hit Donnie Darko during the second week. (Timings of these haven’t yet been confirmed).

Hhhm, but aren’t all Vice videos already available on YouTube?

Not the ones Viceland UK will be broadcasting during peak times. However, a lot of the content aired during the daytime can be found on YouTube. 

But what Viceland documentaries can be aired before the watershed?

True, a lot of Vice documentaries tackle the so-called ‘adult themes’ of sex, drugs and violence etc. But they’ve also done plenty of shows about food (have a look at their US show Munchies) that can be aired before the watershed.

“We have a decade’s worth of archive material – and not all of it is about drugs,” says Miller. In other words, expect a lot of shows produced outside the UK before peak times.

Hang on, wouldn’t it make sense to watch their online material on YouTube with fewer adverts during the day, but tune into the new UK shows in the evening?

Absolutely. But how much do you tune into daytime telly anyway?

Good point

Thanks.

Viceland UK launches today on Sky Channel 153 and Now TV.

What is Viceland UK?

Viceland UK is the new 24-hour TV channel from Vice, the brand that made a lot of documentaries you might have watched on YouTube about music, food, art, sex, drugs, fashion, film, sports and technology.

The brand has already launched television channels in the United States and Canada, but this is the first time Vice have hung their flag on UK TV schedules.

However, like its North American cousins, Viceland UK is being overseen by creative director Spike Jonze.

Spike Jonze? Like, the Spike Jonze, director of Her and Being John Malkovich?

The very same. 

Interesting. So, where can I watch Viceland UK?

Switch over to Sky Channel 153 (in the lifestyle and entertainment section). You can also catch Viceland’s shows on Now TV after they air on Sky.

No, it isn’t on Freeview.

Who is Viceland UK aimed at?

Your typical Vice audience: “Young people,” says Alex Miller, Viceland Creative Director. “We’re making shows for people who are interested in the world, who want to be a bit more optimistic about where we’re going; people who don’t give into the cynical old media.”

Basically, they’re gearing their content towards a younger audience – millennials who are more at home online than traditional platforms.

I see… so why are they making a TV channel?

We know: what’s going to get the Buzzfeed generation back to the box? “Obviously it’s a challenge,” says Miller. “But millions and millions of people watch TV all the time. And TV is the agenda-setting media of this country. It would be unentrepreneurial for us to not jump in and f**k that s**t up.”

So, effing and jeffing aside, it’s simply trying to create TV for young people, by young people. 

117938

Isn’t that what BBC3 are trying to do?

Indeed. But “we’ll just make stuff that’s good,” says Viceland, in no way thinking about Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

Viceland also say they’re taking a fresh look at how a channel is put together: “So many television TV channels just seem like a fruit salad of concepts – one structured reality format here, one American sitcom there. And they’ve thrown it all together with boring idents,” says Miller.

“It’s important that we have a TV station that has a personality, that has a point of view.”

Okay, what’s their viewpoint then?

Some have labelled their shows as counter-culture content championing a DIY antithesis to the traditional approaches practised by mainstream news outlets. Others might just call them a bucket load of gonzo-journalism documentaries.

And Vice themselves? They’re not entirely sure what their viewpoint is. “That’s a deep and complex idea,” says Miller. “But if you come across Vice’s work over the years, if it’s a serious thing or a funny thing, you can always tell it’s from us.” 

Hmmm, right… so what shows are going to be Viceland UK? I think I watched a few documentaries Vice did about weed?

Yes, Vice aficionados will be pleased to hear there’s going to be a fair few shows about drugs. But also shows about sex, food, racism, sports, music and many more issues “that matter to young people”.

Here are our picks of the launch shows:

The UK Census

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FVICELANDUK%2Fvideos%2F1221192507902337%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Fans of Vice on YouTube will probably know Clive Martin. Clive likes going out. He likes going out a lot. And Clive likes filming and writing about it for Vice. Even if that means he’s seen sights such as a man masturbate into his own flip-flops, and a hip-hop crew wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the words “F**k Clive”.

And, for Viceland, Clive is escaping his usual home of the UK club scene to travel the world “to discover how partying has become an act of rebellion, subsistence or survival for young people everywhere.”

What should you look out for in the first episode? Clive told Radiotimes.com: “My favourite bit where is in the Russian rebel-occupied city of Donestk, and two armed soldiers teach me a traditional dance in a club full of drunk guys with AK47s”

Suffice to say, it’s a funny, scary and extremely odd show.

Hate for Beginners

The clip below contains some strong language. It’s video from Vice, what did you expect?

It’s a simple idea: take one upcoming black comedian, Jamali Maddix, and throw him into a group of hardcore fascists. And then watch footage of his showdowns with said racists intercut with standup from Maddix.

The change of pace is slightly jarring, but Maddix’s charm and sense of humour shine through and keep the show together.

Gaycation

Just in case you weren’t sure from the title, this programme is all about LGBT culture around the world. And leading this Emmy-nominated Gaycation from Japan to Jamaica is Ellen Page (Juno, Inception) and her friend Ian Daniel (Gaycation – yup, this is literally all he’s done).

It’s touching, funny and very very tense – see if you can get through this clip above of a coming out from episode one without covering your eyes with your hands.

Weediquette

This show on Vice’s favourite topic follows presenter Krishna Andavolu exploring the interesting highs and lows (I know) in the world of marijuana, from two-year-old users to army veteran addicts.

Episode one is worth a watch if just for a glimpse at a barbecue where all the kids are high. And we mean all of them.

Black Market

Michael K. Williams (you know, Omar from The Wire) has a past of drug addiction and homelessness. In other words, he’s the perfect guy for investigating the underground economies of the world, meeting those who would risk anything to survive.

It’s very very difficult watching, but it’s one of the most eye-opening documentaries on world poverty you’ll see.

Noisey

Host Zach Goldbaum takes us around the world (sense a theme emerging?) to meet and greet artists in the most compelling, dangerous and sometimes controversial music scenes. 

VICE World of Sports

Less so about sports themselves, this documentary will examine the culture of sport. Which, yes, means looking at a lot of hardcore fans – the best and worst of them – in several countries. Not as funny as watching Gary Lineker presenting Match of The Day in his Leicester FC pants, but definitely more thought provoking.

So, most of the shows are filmed abroad?

Oh, you noticed. Well, yes, despite the channel’s trailers focusing on shots filmed in the UK, a lot of the shows will be looking at “issues around the world”, meaning most episodes are set abroad.

Viceland say it’s intentional: “Anyone who thinks this generation isn’t an international generation is an idiot,” says Miller. “They’ve been reared on the internet and they care just as much what happens in other countries as they do about their own.”

There’s a lot of documentaries in that list. Will Viceland UK just show documentaries?

Viceland admit that “documentaries are where we come from”, so this channel probably isn’t for you if you’re looking for the next Narcos.

However, the channel is open – very open – to new ideas. In fact, Viceland UK is currently developing several scripted comedies and could even add a breakfast show or a late night talk show to later schedules. 

Will Viceland UK be broadcasting any films?

Glad you reminded us. During its first week, Viceland will air the Japanese action horror film Battle Royale (a brilliantly gory version of The Hunger Games). And you can see creepy rabbit cult hit Donnie Darko during the second week. (Timings of these haven’t yet been confirmed).

Hhhm, but aren’t all Vice videos already available on YouTube?

Not the ones Viceland UK will be broadcasting during peak times. However, a lot of the content aired during the daytime can be found on YouTube. 

But what Viceland documentaries can be aired before the watershed?

True, a lot of Vice documentaries tackle the so-called ‘adult themes’ of sex, drugs and violence etc. But they’ve also done plenty of shows about food (have a look at their US show Munchies) that can be aired before the watershed.

“We have a decade’s worth of archive material – and not all of it is about drugs,” says Miller. In other words, expect a lot of shows produced outside the UK before peak times.

Hang on, wouldn’t it make sense to watch their online material on YouTube with fewer adverts during the day, but tune into the new UK shows in the evening?

Absolutely. But how much do you tune into daytime telly anyway?

Good point

Thanks.

Viceland UK launches today on Sky Channel 153 and Now TV.