The BEST Episodes of Explained
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Sep 19, 2021
This enlightening series from Vox digs into a wide range of topics such as the rise of cryptocurrency, why diets fail, and the wild world of K-pop.
#1 - The Next Pandemic
Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 7, 2019
If you're not worried about a looming global pandemic, you probably should be. Are we prepared for an outbreak? Bill Gates and other experts weigh in.
#2 - The World's Water Crisis
Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired Sep 12, 2018
The global water crisis is at an inflection point. How do we price our most valuable resource, while also ensuring access to it as a human right?
#3 - Dogs
Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Aug 6, 2021
Who's a good dog? They all are! From puppy-dog eyes to feats of heroism, see how canines evolved into humankind's best friends and sources of pure love.
#4 - The Future of Meat
Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 14, 2019
The planet's current rate of meat consumption is unprecedented -- and becoming unsustainable. In the future, will meat alternatives be the answer?
#5 - Billionaires
Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 3, 2019
There are more billionaires than ever. But how does this vast accumulation of wealth affect the world? Mark Cuban and Bernie Sanders offer insights.
#6 - Cults
Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 26, 2019
How do cults lure people in and exert control? Learn a cult’s telltale signs, and how loneliness and life online makes indoctrination easier than ever.
#7 - Designer DNA
Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired May 23, 2018
Scientific feat or terrifying social experiment? Specialists in the field discuss the high stakes and ethical controversies of gene editing.
#8 - Why Women Are Paid Less
Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired Sep 5, 2018
Hillary Clinton and Anne-Marie Slaughter discuss the cultural norms at the center of the worldwide gender pay gap, including the "motherhood penalty."
#9 - Coding
Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 24, 2019
Computer code now controls how we live. But how did these programming languages evolve? And how can they be used to build a new and better world?
#10 - The Racial Wealth Gap
Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired May 23, 2018
Cory Booker and others discuss how slavery, housing discrimination and centuries of inequality have compounded to create a racial wealth gap.
#11 - Animal Intelligence
Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 10, 2019
What goes on inside an animal's mind? Figuring out how they think and feel might just be the key to understanding our own place in the world.
#12 - Music
Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired Sep 19, 2018
When does sound become music? Why are humans so uniquely able to master musicality? Researchers talk rhythm, octaves and the magic of song and dance.
#13 - Chess
Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Aug 20, 2021
For centuries, chess has captured hearts and minds — and pawns — and it's more popular than ever. What makes this ever-changing board game so special?
#14 - Extraterrestrial Life
Season 1 - Episode 9 - Aired Jul 4, 2018
Despite decades of searching, we have yet to discover extraterrestrial life. Scientists discuss the reasons, including: Are aliens just too snobby?
#15 - Can We Live Forever?
Season 1 - Episode 15 - Aired Aug 15, 2018
Can we uncover the secrets to extending the human lifespan? Experts discuss how developments in science -- even the French lilac -- hold some clues.
#16 - The Female Orgasm
Season 1 - Episode 16 - Aired Aug 22, 2018
The female orgasm is more elusive when a man is involved. Discover the reasons why and how women are embracing hands on solutions.
#17 - Weed
Season 1 - Episode 12 - Aired Jul 25, 2018
Marijuana experts discuss the rise of potent "sexually frustrated" cannabis plants, the quests for consistency in weed strains and the history of hemp.
#18 - Pirates
Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 31, 2019
In pop culture, pirates are often depicted as booty-looting rogues, but their history is far more complicated. See how they became enemies of humanity.
#19 - Sugar
Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 16, 2021
Once crucial for survival, sugar now poses a health risk. Is there a way to satisfy our primeval craving for sweetness in a healthy, balanced way?
#20 - The End of Oil
Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Aug 13, 2021
Oil led to huge advancements - and vast inequities. As the planet warms, why is it so hard to turn away from fossil fuels, and can it be done in time?
#21 - Monogamy
Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired May 23, 2018
What do biology, human history and the promiscuity of bonobos reveal about monogamy? Experts and everyday couples weigh in on shifting cultural norms.
#22 - Why Diets Fail
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Jun 13, 2018
Atkins. Paleo. Keto. Do any work in the long term? Experts look at marketing, food environments and genes to explain why diets are often unsuccessful.
#23 - Flags
Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 30, 2021
A flag can unite, divide and terrorize. Explore how a piece of cloth transformed into a powerful symbol of both love and hate, freedom and oppression.
#24 - Political Correctness
Season 1 - Episode 17 - Aired Aug 29, 2018
Political correctness can sometimes feel like a tug-of-war between inclusivity and free speech. Experts discuss the concepts behind the fraught term.
#25 - Your Skin
Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Aug 27, 2021
Don’t panic, but our skin plays host to trillions of bacteria, fungi, mites and other microscopic guests. Go beyond skin-deep with our largest organ.