THE BLOG
04/04/2013 05:53 pm ET Updated Jun 04, 2013

HBO's Vice : Welcome to the War Zone

Heads roll, as do other body parts. Literally. In "Killer Kids of the Taliban," little boys tell you that the imam assured them, the bomb strapped to their bodies explodes outward, murdering everyone in its path but not them. And in case you were wondering which border is the world's most dangerous (Pakistan-India) or how to make a gun out of scrap metal, Vice on HBO is the show for you. Showrunners Shane Smith and Ryan Duffy, the most affable hosts you will see on a news program, started posting their videos of trips to challenged areas on YouTube, and now HBO has picked them up big time. Committed to exposing the most absurd, mind-bending stories on the rapidly morphing human condition, the show, airing on Friday, is executive produced by Smith, Eddy Moretti and Bill Maher, with Fareed Zakaria as consulting producer. Curious and fun, Ryan Duffy, a riot of tattoos, rides in a car with arguably the world's most endangered species, a man running for election in the Philippines. Don't worry, says the targeted would-be official, the car is bullet proof. Duffy's deadpan is worth watching all on its own.

Another Vice episode shows young women, desperate to leave North Korea becoming victims of human trafficking as they journey with handlers through China, Laos and Thailand, their families imperiled at home. Noteworthy, religious organizations plan their rescue, not governments. By contrast, Ryan Duffy had a swell time travelling to North Korea with Dennis Rodman. Kim Jong-un is seen enjoying the sport ringside. Playful Duffy organizes a Globetrotter pick up game with kids on the street. So, at the post-screening dinner at Porterhouse on Tuesday, would you take a trip to Korea at the present time seemed a logical question, given the threats of missile fire from the North in the morning news. Reporters seem most intrepid, avoiding the merely touristic, looking for places with action. Steve Kroft, one of many newsmen at the Time Warner Building for the premiere suggested, South Korea was fine to visit, but not as interesting as the North.

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

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