The BEST Episodes of Explorer

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Dec 6, 2021

Now in its third decade, National Geographic Explorer travels around the world exploring topical news stories. Hosted by Lisa Ling, Explorer visits locations with unique events and fascinating stories.

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Alaska's Last Oil

#1 - Alaska's Last Oil

Season 2008 - Episode 3 - Aired Mar 12, 2008

The world is addicted to oil. But now the easy pockets of oil are gone and the race is on to find new sources. Nowhere is the battle more intense than in Alaska - source of nearly 15% of America's domestic production, and home to the nation's largest wildlife preserve, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where companies are pushing to drill. EXPLORER travels back millions of years to see how oil was created, and looks to the future to ask how far we'll go to find every last barrel and at what cost.

star 10.00
1 votes
Inside Death Row

#2 - Inside Death Row

Season 2009 - Episode 10 - Aired Jun 12, 2009

In most places death has no schedule, but in Huntsville, Texas, an average of 16 people per year are scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. Inside Death Row interviews three inmates as their dates of execution draw near, and follows the stories of their families and loved ones as they deal with death firsthand. This story is not one of guilt or innocence; it is about how the State of Texas carries out the death penalty as well as the men and women whom, by choice or circumstance, become players in the act of executing another human being. Lastly, it explores how the residents of Huntsville feel towards living in a town that is ground zero for capital punishment in the United States.

star 10.00
2 votes
Ultimate Shark

#3 - Ultimate Shark

Season 2007 - Episode 2 - Aired Feb 19, 2007

The world's first MRI scan of a great white shark reveals the extreme engineering and hunting abilities of one of nature's most perfect predators.

star 10.00
1 votes
JFK: The Lost Bullet

#4 - JFK: The Lost Bullet

Season 2011 - Episode 11 - Aired Nov 20, 2011

Join a team of pioneering investigators as they bring the eyewitness films of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to life, and expose the hidden secrets of the crime of the century.

star 10.00
1 votes
The Man Who Can Fly

#5 - The Man Who Can Fly

Season 2012 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 12, 2012

BASE jumper Dean Potter has set his sights on Mount Bute - a 9,000-foot granite launch pad along the British Columbia coastline.. But first, he has to prepare his body and develop a new wing suit.

star 10.00
1 votes
24 Hours After Hiroshima

#6 - 24 Hours After Hiroshima

Season 2010 - Episode 10 - Aired Aug 17, 2010

Explorer tells the second-by-second story of a moment that changed the world forever: the dropping of the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. Through the eyes of those in the air and on the ground, including the last interview with the weapons test officer who armed the bomb, we'll experience the events as they unfolded that tragic day.

star 9.76
29 votes
Solitary Confinement

#7 - Solitary Confinement

Season 2010 - Episode 3 - Aired Apr 11, 2010

Today, more than 80,000 Americans are in solitary confinement. Explorer looks at the science of solitary and discovers what it means to be absolutely alone. We go inside Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) and witness prisoners on the edge and the guards who watch over them. Then, we look at experiments on whether isolation dramatically alters behavior and ongoing new research on how solitary actually could cause long-term mental problems like paranoia, disorientation and delirium.

star 9.50
2 votes
Inside LSD

#8 - Inside LSD

Season 2009 - Episode 15 - Aired Nov 3, 2009

Could LSD be the next drug in your doctor's arsenal? New experiments have a few researchers believing that this "trippy" drug could become a pharmaceutical of the future. Outlawed in 1970, the street drug developed a reputation as the dangerous toy of the counterculture, capable of inspiring either moments of genius or a descent into madness. Now science is taking a fresh look into this psychedelic world, including the first human LSD trials in more than 35 years

star 9.00
3 votes
Writers: Pamela Caragol Wells
Science of Babies

#9 - Science of Babies

Season 2007 - Episode 11 - Aired Sep 19, 2007

Did you know babies can learn languages and even grasp math? Explore the remarkable plasticity of a baby's brain and see how early experiences influence human development.

star 9.00
2 votes
World's Most Dangerous Gang

#10 - World's Most Dangerous Gang

Season 2006 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 31, 2006

You've seen the graffiti, the tattoos, the headlines documenting their brutality. What is driving the rapid spread of the ultra-violent gang MS-13? NGC takes you inside this burgeoning criminal enterprise now terrorizing 33 states and six countries.

star 9.00
1 votes
Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes

#11 - Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes

Season 2011 - Episode 8 - Aired May 10, 2011

The discovery of a human skull in the depths of Lake Superior begins a story that will take historian and author Brendon Baillod across two Great Lakes and a century of history. It takes him and a team of elite technical divers more than 20 miles off Milwaukee where they discover the wreck of one of Lake Michigan's lost queens. It takes them to the remote waters of Lake Superior where they risk their lives to determine the identity of yet another lost ship. And it takes us into the forgotten life of a brave and stubborn woman who lived, and died, on these wild waters. Whether her presence cursed these lost ships, or a more earthly explanation can be found, the Great Lakes reputation as a graveyard for mariners stands firm.

star 9.00
4 votes
The Battle for Midway

#12 - The Battle for Midway

Season 1999 - Episode 3 - Aired Apr 14, 1999

National Geographic follows underwater explorer Bob Ballard as he searches for the aircraft carrier sunk during the Battle of Midway.

star 9.00
1 votes
Writers: Donavan Reiff
Lions of Zambia

#13 - Lions of Zambia

Season 2019 - Episode 4 - Aired Jan 28, 2019

Phil Keoghan tags lions in Zambia. Correspondents explore manmade earthquakes, chocolate, designer dogs and Cory Booker.

star 9.00
1 votes
Yellowstone Wolves

#14 - Yellowstone Wolves

Season 2019 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 28, 2019

This episode explores an invasive species, rehab facilities, tracking whales, and wolves.

star 8.75
4 votes
Easter Island Underworld

#15 - Easter Island Underworld

Season 2009 - Episode 9 - Aired Jun 9, 2009

An exploration team and scientists make an attempt to map out a large cave system which runs beneath the South Pacific's Easter Island.

star 8.67
3 votes
Swimming with Sharks

#16 - Swimming with Sharks

Season 2019 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 14, 2019

Phil Keoghan helps tag whale sharks. Correspondents investigate super recognizers, life in Fukushima and heart disease in mummies.

star 8.67
3 votes
World's Most Dangerous Drug

#17 - World's Most Dangerous Drug

Season 2006 - Episode 15 - Aired Oct 18, 2006

Methamphetamine is one of the hardest drugs to quit. Its abuse is ravaging rural communities and cities alike. NGC correspondent Lisa Ling goes inside this global epidemic to find out what makes meth so addictive and destructive.

star 8.50
2 votes
Human Towers

#18 - Human Towers

Season 2019 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 7, 2019

Castellers, also known as human towers; grizzly bears; security for marijuana businesses; the color blue.

star 8.40
5 votes
Inside North Korea

#19 - Inside North Korea

Season 2007 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 27, 2007

Cross into North Korea, one of the world's most secretive nations, for a rare glimpse of the country and its absolute dictator Kim Jong II.

star 8.33
6 votes
Climbing Redwood Giants

#20 - Climbing Redwood Giants

Season 2009 - Episode 13 - Aired Sep 29, 2009

They are living giants; one of the Earth's largest and oldest trees. Some tower more than 350 feet high, taller than the Statue of Liberty; some may have been seedlings when Jesus was born. Yet these natural legends still shroud centuries-old secrets. In a major National Geographic cross-platform event, which includes the October 2009 cover story for the magazine, we'll reveal the little-explored environment of the redwoods using high-tech aerial laser surveys and breathtaking imagery.

star 8.33
3 votes
The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden

#21 - The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden

Season 2011 - Episode 14 - Aired Nov 30, 2011

CNN Correspondent Peter Bergen travels to Afghanistan to interview key players and reveals never-before-told facts that tell the real story of Bin Laden's final moments.

star 8.07
29 votes
Finding Anastasia

#22 - Finding Anastasia

Season 2008 - Episode 10 - Aired Jul 22, 2008

Did Romanov Princess Anasatasia survive a Bolshevik firing squad, or did she and her brother Crown Prince Alexis perish with their father, Tsar Nicholas II, before a Bolshevik firing squad in 1918?

star 8.00
1 votes
Marijuana Nation

#23 - Marijuana Nation

Season 2008 - Episode 14 - Aired Oct 2, 2008

Lisa Ling takes a look at the marijuana industry as she examines the different aspects by interviewing a grower, scientist, and members of law enforcement. Also included is the validity of medical marijuana.

star 8.00
1 votes
Secret History of Gold

#24 - Secret History of Gold

Season 2008 - Episode 13 - Aired Sep 25, 2008

Gold's appeal and value span time and cultures, but there is a little-known secret to the story of gold. Most of the gold mined throughout history remains in circulation today -- even the gold closest to your heart may have dark origins. From the Amazon jungle to the markets of Dubai, NGC examines the underbelly of the modern gold trade with a treasure hunter and an illegal miner to expose its volatile history.

star 8.00
1 votes
Doomsday Volcano

#25 - Doomsday Volcano

Season 2007 - Episode 4 - Aired Feb 28, 2007

Volcanologists make a stunning discovery when they dive into one of the largest, yet most mysterious, natural calamities in human history: the eruption of Santorini

star 8.00
1 votes