At a time of nearly infinite entertainment options, recommending a show to someone is not as easy as it used to be. Tell somebody about a new show they should watch, and they’ll likely respond with “What is it about?” and “Is it worth my time?”
In the case of Vice’s Big Night Out series, that first question is pretty simple to answer. Big Night Out follows Vice’s Clive Martin as he explores the nightlight of several countries. While some episodes are simply built around a particular location – such as the club scene in Hungary – most are based on a particular cultural movement or specific theme.
For instance, the fourth episode of the series sees Martin join a university rugby team as they go clubbing. In the process, he proceeds to get incredibly drunk, listen to a lot of bad music, and makes observations on the general college party culture. Another episode sees him head off to the woods in order to join a rave where most of the attendees appear to have consumed an almost lethal amount of hallucinogens.
Each episode plays out like a mix between a documentary and a review. Martin is as quick to make an insightful observation about the decline of the indie music scene as he is to quip about how watered down the cheap shots at a college bar are and how bored the DJ looks.
As for whether or not Big Night is worth your time…that’s a much more complicated question.
You might think that this show would only appeal to those who are already into the club scene, but more often than not the opposite proves to be true. While Martin clearly respects the club scene and is very knowledgable about it, he’s also quick to sarcastically point out how sad some of these clubs can be and how equally sad some of the people who go there are.
In that sense, the show might appeal most to those who don’t consider themselves to be clubbers and are interesting in understanding just what it is the whole scene is about. It’s a fascinating look into a world that some people have always been darkly curious about.
There are also times when Martin seems to be genuinely enjoying himself, although there never seems to be quite enough of them. The dryness of the show and the often absurd nature of its subject matter can wear you down pretty quickly. After enough episodes, you begin to feel like you’ve just gotten back from a night at the club.
Big Night Out is a show worth your time, but don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like binge watching the entire run.