The BEST Episodes of Explained
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Dec 26, 2020
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 - 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?
#4 - 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.
#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 - 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."
#8 - 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?
#9 - 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.
#10 - 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.
#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 - 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?
#13 - 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.
#14 - 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.
#15 - 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.
#16 - 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.
#17 - 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.
#18 - K-Pop
Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired May 30, 2018
Elaborate music videos, adoring fans, killer choreography. Learn about the global music phenomenon from South Korea that goes beyond "Gangnam Style."
#19 - 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.
#20 - 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.
#21 - Diamonds
Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 28, 2019
A diamond is forever. But why is that? Dig into how these mined pieces of carbon became both a status symbol and a sparkly sign of everlasting love.
#22 - The Stock Market
Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Jun 20, 2018
Does the stock market accurately reflect the status of the economy? Finance specialists discuss market history, valuations and CEO incentives.
#23 - Tattoo
Season 1 - Episode 13 - Aired Aug 1, 2018
They've been used to command respect, punish criminals and mark achievements. Tattooists speak about the origins of tattoo traditions and rituals.
#24 - !
Season 1 - Episode 10 - Aired Jul 11, 2018
Do we overuse exclamation points!? Linguists and copy editors look at how the punctuation has adapted across history, literature and internet-speak.
#25 - Cryptocurrency
Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Jun 6, 2018
Cryptocurrency has made people billionaires, but is digital cash the next revolution? Learn about this anonymous currency and how it's coveted.