The BEST Episodes of Explained

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2021

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.

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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 8.32
149 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 8.20
163 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
60 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 8.07
134 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 7.94
134 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 7.93
149 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 7.91
218 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 7.86
155 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 7.79
122 votes
The Racial Wealth Gap

#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.

star 7.73
237 votes
Animal Intelligence

#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.

star 7.72
122 votes
Music

#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.

star 7.69
163 votes
Chess

#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?

star 7.67
52 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 7.67
176 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 7.64
157 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 7.63
165 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 7.62
159 votes
Pirates

#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.

star 7.61
119 votes
Sugar

#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?

star 7.57
77 votes
The End of Oil

#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?

star 7.56
50 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 7.51
202 votes
Why Diets Fail

#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.

star 7.45
175 votes
Flags

#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.

star 7.45
58 votes
Political Correctness

#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.

star 7.44
153 votes
Your Skin

#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.

star 7.43
46 votes