The BEST Episodes of Explained

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2022

Network: Netflix

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.

Watch Now
The Next Pandemic

#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.

star 8.26
157 votes
The World's Water Crisis

#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?

star 8.16
171 votes
Dogs

#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.

star 8.13
84 votes
The Future of Meat

#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?

star 8.06
141 votes
Billionaires

#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.

star 7.91
141 votes
Cults

#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.

star 7.90
159 votes
Designer DNA

#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.

star 7.88
226 votes
Why Women Are Paid Less

#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."

star 7.83
161 votes
Coding

#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?

star 7.77
129 votes
Animal Intelligence

#10 - 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.

star 7.73
132 votes
The Racial Wealth Gap

#11 - 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.

star 7.71
247 votes
Chess

#12 - 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?

star 7.71
75 votes
Music

#13 - 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.

star 7.68
172 votes
Extraterrestrial Life

#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?

star 7.64
186 votes
Can We Live Forever?

#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.

star 7.63
166 votes
The Female Orgasm

#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.

star 7.60
172 votes
Weed

#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.

star 7.59
167 votes
The End of Oil

#18 - 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?

star 7.57
72 votes
Pirates

#19 - 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.

star 7.56
125 votes
Sugar

#20 - 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?

star 7.55
89 votes
Monogamy

#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.

star 7.50
209 votes
Flags

#22 - 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.

star 7.44
72 votes
Why Diets Fail

#23 - 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.

star 7.44
183 votes
Diamonds

#24 - 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.

star 7.43
134 votes
Fairy Tales

#25 - Fairy Tales

Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Oct 15, 2021

Fairy tales have survived thousands of years for a reason. Explore their far-flung history and how the stories speak to fundamental human concerns.

star 7.43
65 votes