Watching a documentary about someone, we get an idea of who he is and what the filmmaker wants to impart.
But watching a season devoted to the same three subjects over the course of a year gives viewers a deeper understanding, which is precisely documentarian Andrew Jenks' goal for "World of Jenks."
The series, airing Mondays on MTV, is different from last season's of the same name. This is one hour, rather than half an hour, and instead of focusing on different people each segment, this examines the battles three different people face.
Chad from Middletown, N.Y., is the only person returning from last season. He is autistic, funny and profane, and Jenks follows him as he graduates from high school.
D-Real is a terrific dancer from Oakland, Calif. Once a drug dealer who did time, he's buried many people close to him.
Kaylin from San Francisco is a fashion designer who battled two different kinds of cancer. She moves to New York to pursue her dream.
"I really like this new format, where you get to know three people and how they are as people, and what they are fighting," Jenks tells Zap2it. "I think it is a better way to tell their stories."
Jenks and his researchers looked for subjects not angling to be on a reality show.
"The idea was to give young people going through tough circumstances a voice that they would not get, a voice as wide as MTV," Jenks says. "One issue I was keen on delving into was a young person facing death."
Jenks was piqued by Kaylin's blog, which described chemo as "sort of like the worst hangover you ever had, only you are going through it every day of your life."
D-Real faces death regularly as those around him are fatally shot on the hard streets of Oakland.
Since Jenks moves in with his subjects and turns the camera on them, they open up.
"Part of the agreement is that we will have full access to your life," Jenks says, "and the reason being is that we don't want to be dishonest with our viewers."
Photo/Video credit: MTV