Coming in February on FRONTLINE

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This February, three new FRONTLINE documentaries will explore three big — and very different — questions:

  • With the Syrian civil war entering its third year, what’s happening on the ground right now?
  • How is social media transforming the way kids, brands, and pop culture interact?
  • What led Pope Benedict to resign one year ago — and is his successor, Pope Francis, succeeding in setting the Church on a new path?

Here’s a first look at what’s coming around the corner on FRONTLINE.

Feb. 11: Syria’s Second Front

Three years in to Syria’s civil war, rebel forces aren’t just fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. They’re also vying for control against another enemy: factions aligned with Al Qaeda.

In FRONTLINE’s Syria’s Second Front, journalist Muhammed Ali — a Syrian native himself — delivers a gripping report from inside a country in turmoil. One of only a few reporters to make it safely in and out of Syria’s northern front in recent months, Ali gained exclusive access to moderate rebel commanders and fighters as they launched what they’re calling “the second revolution” — this time, against jihadis from an Al Qaeda-linked group known as ISIS that has gained a foothold in the country.

Plus: more than 11,000 children have reportedly died in Syria’s violence. We’ll explore what life is like for children left behind in the besieged city of Aleppo.

This two-part hour on Syria is the latest installment of FRONTLINE’s in-depth reporting on the Syrian conflict (The Battle for Syria, Syria Undercover, and Syria Behind the Lines).

Feb. 18: Generation Like

Whether they’re getting retweeted by members of One Direction or liking the Hunger Games Facebook page for a chance to be included in the movie’s credits, today’s teens are directly interacting with pop culture — celebrities, movies, music, and, increasingly, brands — in ways never before possible.

In Generation Like (#GenLike), an eye-opening follow-up to FRONTLINE’s landmark 2001 documentary The Merchants of Cool, author Douglas Rushkoff returns to the world of youth culture to explore how the perennial teen quest for identity and connection has migrated to social media — and how big brands are increasingly co-opting young consumers’ digital presences.

Do kids think they’re being used? Do they care? Or in a new teenage reality where being Internet famous seems to be just a click or a post away, does the perceived chance to be the next big star make it all worth it?

Feb. 25: Secrets of the Vatican

A year ago, Pope Benedict surprised the world when he announced his resignation, becoming the first Pope to step down voluntarily in 700 years.

Now, can Benedict’s successor, Pope Francis, succeed in lifting the Church out of crisis?

Nearly a year in the making, this FRONTLINE film goes inside the Vatican to unravel the remarkable series of events that led to Benedict’s resignation and explore the current battle to set the Church on a new path under Francis.

For air times, check your local PBS listings.

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