The Best Episodes of Explorer
Last Updated: Nov 16, 2018
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.
#1 - Inside Death Row
Season 2009 - Episode 10
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.
#2 - JFK: The Lost Bullet
Season 2011 - Episode 11
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.
#3 - Alaska's Last Oil
Season 2008 - Episode 3
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.
#4 - Ultimate Shark
Season 2007 - Episode 2
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.
#5 - Solitary Confinement
Season 2010 - Episode 3
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.
#6 - Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes
Season 2011 - Episode 8
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.
#7 - Science of Babies
Season 2007 - Episode 11
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.
#8 - Inside LSD
Season 2009 - Episode 15
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
#9 - Easter Island Underworld
Season 2009 - Episode 9
An exploration team and scientists make an attempt to map out a large cave system which runs beneath the South Pacific's Easter Island.
#10 - The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden
Season 2011 - Episode 14
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.
#11 - Eyes Wide Open
Season 2016 - Episode 2
The human eye is an impressive organ, but animal eyes are far more powerful than ours and are crucial for survival in the wild.
#12 - World's Most Dangerous Drug
Season 2006 - Episode 15
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.
#13 - Inside North Korea
Season 2007 - Episode 3
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.
#14 - Climbing Redwood Giants
Season 2009 - Episode 13
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.
#15 - Science of Cats
Season 2008 - Episode 8
More than 600 million cats claim residence in households across six continents. The latest in scientific evidence reveals how the cat set off on a journey to conquer the world.
#16 - Doomsday Volcano
Season 2007 - Episode 4
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
#17 - Secret History of Gold
Season 2008 - Episode 13
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.
#18 - Finding Anastasia
Season 2008 - Episode 10
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?
#19 - The New Face of Crime
Season 2017 - Episode 16
A study of why some Afghan parents are dressing their girls as boys; and a profile of snowboarder Shaun White.
#20 - Marijuana Nation
Season 2008 - Episode 14
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.
#21 - Bill Nye's Global Meltdown
Season 2015 - Episode 3
Bill Nye experiences the five stages of climate change grief – from denial to acceptance – and along the way, he’ll explore what’s gone wrong with our planet and how we can start to turn things around.
#22 - The Cult of Mary
Season 2015 - Episode 4
From a small community in Alabama to thousands of people gathering in Mexico, Mary draws millions of people to shrines and sustains religious tourism. This is a journey into the heart of modern-day Mary devotion around the world.
#23 - Call of the Wild
Season 2016 - Episode 1
More than half the world lives in urban environments, but some people are reaching back to the land and carving out lives in the wilderness.
#24 - Science of Dogs
Season 2007 - Episode 9
With 400 breeds and counting, the dog is more varied in size and behavior than any other species. Follow man's evolutionary manipulation of dogs' appearance and talents, and see how nature and man have partnered to create new and specialized breeds
#25 - Mystery of the Murdered Saints
Season 2011 - Episode 5
For the first time, the Catholic Church will allow scientific experts and historians to openly test the veracity of the remains of reported saints. NGC has exclusive access to the forensic investigation. Deep in the crypt below the Cathedral of Reggio Emilia lie a set of bones believed to be those of two ancient saints, Chrysanthus and Daria. For more than 1,500 years they've been hidden away ... until now.