CBC's flagship documentary series explores and expands on the major issues of our time. Around the corner, around the world, our cameras bring viewers to the center of the stories everyone is talking about. Informed, exciting and eventful, DOC ZONE presents a sweeping panoramic view of what matters most to Canadians.

DOC ZONE airs Thursday nights at 9, on CBC-TV. Coming up next season: 

In an ever-expanding digital age we are swamped by our own photos, emails, tweets and news alerts. Endless new fitness, medical and biofeedback apps also overwhelm us. Today we each store two thousand times more data than we did in 2004, and the amount doubles every eight months. A growing army of “data addicts” loves it and thinks data will revolutionize our lives.  But many experts warn we suffer from information overload and need a “data diet”.

From the rising incidence of “gender variant” children, to the explosion of transgendered athletes and celebrities, the transgendered have burst into the mainstream.  But transitioning often entails wrenching social, psychological and physical trials.  And to be the parent of a child with gender identity issues is especially challenging.  Many are torn between the need to protect their child from bullying and ostracism and the desire to encourage self-expression and growth.  Doc Zone follows dramatic personal stories and documents the ongoing fight for acceptance and equal rights.

Some 50 years ago, Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl took female desire out of the closet.  But today there’s still debate over how women pursue those desires.  Provocative new science  about female sexuality coupled with an explosion of social media have smashed old stereotypes.  Sexting, twerking, apps for hooking up and rating men- it’s a new sexual revolution.   But as Doc Zone reveals, the backlash of judgment and fear hasn’t gone away.

The Ikea monkey became a media sensation, focusing controversy on the ownership of exotic pets. Today you can buy bearded dragons, ball pythons and hedgehogs at your local pet store.  Then there are the tiger cubs, chimpanzees and wolves for sale in the illicit pet trade. Do we have the right to own wild animals as property? Can exotic animals live happily in captivity? Doc Zone investigates the dangers to the pets, the owners and the environment.  After all, a tight bond with a boa constrictor can be a mixed blessing.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are not just for the military anymore.  By 2020, it’s estimated there will be more than 20,000 drones in the air over North America.  Cheap, easy to make and able to fly with incredible speed and accuracy, they are invaluable for such tasks as search and rescue, policing, tracking wildlife and firefighting.  But drones, with their ability to track a person’s every move, also open the door to unprecedented surveillance.  Drone technology is advancing so fast the law can’t keep up. The age of the drone has arrived but is it for better or for worse? 

The popular image of Canada during the Vietnam War is of a nation of peacekeepers who welcomed draft dodgers.  But the true story is far less comforting.  Supposedly neutral diplomatic staff in Vietnam were spying for the Americans and during the fall of Saigon, Canada ruthlessly abandoned its Vietnam staff.  While Prime Minister Pearson was criticizing the American bombing campaign, Canadian industry was making billions from the war.   Doc Zone investigates our quiet complicity and reveals the lasting impact the Vietnam decade had on this country’s culture and politics. 

In the on-line age, the death of television has been widely predicted.  But guess what? TV is going through a renaissance and Canadians at home and abroad are in the thick of it. From HBO to Netflix, TV has never been more popular. But there are challenges ahead as the business model gets turned inside out. Will on-line video spell the end of traditional TV? 



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