VBS goes on assignment to Monterrey, Mexico with portrait photographer Stefan Ruiz to document the “Cholombiano” street culture of sticky sideburns and stoner cumbia jams in the first episode of the new VBS series Picture Perfect. (17:30 min)
Decrying the ‘lies, lies and damn lies’ fed to us by politicians and the media, the writer and broadcaster Darcus Howe imagines a new political vernacular accessible to all. Animation by Central Saint Martins students Alexandre Do and Tezo Kyungdon Lee, who have taken inspiration from Plato’s cave allegory to form the narrative. (4 min)
Starting with the news story of some kids getting busted for selling lemonade, the FoxNews reporter went on to explore and expose the hypocrisy of the America law system, creating so many laws every year that authorities can arrest practically anyone. (42 min)
This documentary was the Official Golden Harvest tribute to the master of the Martial Arts Film, 4 years after the 33 year-old Bruce Lee died of cerebral edema. His stature has only grown with time. There has been 50 or so documentaries and films made about him including the excellent 2011 I am Bruce Lee. (86 min)
How did Stone Age people reach North and South America? Dr Alice Roberts discovers evidence for an ancient corridor through the Canadian ice sheet that may have allowed those first people through. But some very ancient finds in southern Chile seem to suggest a very different way into the Americas; an ancient human skull discovered in Brazil even points to an Australasian origin of the Americans. Could a route from Australia across the Pacific have been possible? (58 min)
In the fourth episode, Alice Roberts looks at our ancestors’ seemingly impossible journey to Australia. Miraculously preserved footprints and very old human fossils buried in the outback suggest a mystery: that humans reached Australia almost before anywhere else. How could they have travelled so far from Africa, crossing the open sea on the way, and do it thousands of years before they made it to Europe?
The evidence trail is faint and difficult to pick up, but Alice takes on the challenge. In India, new discoveries among the debris of a super volcano hint that our species started the journey much earlier than previously thought, while in Malaysia, genetics points to an ancient trail still detectable in the DNA of tribes today. Alice travels deep into the Asian rainforests in search of the first cavemen of Borneo and tests out a Stone Age raft to see whether sea travel would have been possible thousands of years ago, before coming to a powerful conclusion. (58 min)
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia switched to a free market economy, opening the doors for the Red Mafia to take control of an estimated 40% of the nation’s economy. As one of the most fearsome, violent, creative, and well-educated criminal organizations in the world, the Red Mafia has been difficult to locate and shut down. (44 min)
The Smoking Baby. The 2-year-old is more than just a YouTube sensation. He’s also become the unwitting poster child for a 21st century showdown. Vanguard correspondent Christof Putzel travels to Indonesia — the land of smoking toddlers and cigarette sponsored everything — where the stage is set for a David vs. Goliath battle as a small, underfunded group of concerned citizens battle Big Tobacco and a government drunk on profits and denial. “Sex, Lies & Cigarettes” charts Big Tobacco’s attempt to expand its reach into Indonesia, which by all accounts has become the “Wild West” of cigarette marketing and promotion. (44 min)
In the third episode, Alice Roberts describes the various waves of anatomically modern humans that settled the continent of Europe about 40,000 years ago. She crosses the Bosphorus and travels up the Danube River, following their likely route. She then describes the already resident population of Neanderthals, and visits Gibraltar, the last known site occupied by Neanderthals. She suggests that the principal difference between them and Homo sapiens was the latter’s ability to create art, and visits the cave paintings at Lascaux. She discusses the theories about why Europeans have white skin and describes the birth of agriculture and the societal changes that took place as a result, visiting the spectacular Neolithic temple at Göbekli Tepe, in southeastern Turkey.