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.

Inside Death Row

#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.

star 10.00
2 votes
JFK: The Lost Bullet

#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.

star 10.00
1 votes
Alaska's Last Oil

#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.

star 10.00
1 votes
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Ultimate Shark

#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.

star 10.00
1 votes
Solitary Confinement

#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.

star 9.50
2 votes
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Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes

#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.

star 9.00
4 votes
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Science of Babies

#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.

star 9.00
2 votes
Inside LSD

#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

star 9.00
3 votes
Writers: Pamela Caragol Wells
Easter Island Underworld

#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.

star 8.67
3 votes
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The Last Days of Osama Bin Laden

#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.

star 8.67
3 votes
Eyes Wide Open

#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.

star 8.50
4 votes
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World's Most Dangerous Drug

#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.

star 8.50
2 votes
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Inside North Korea

#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.

star 8.40
5 votes
Climbing Redwood Giants

#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.

star 8.33
3 votes
Science of Cats

#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.

star 8.00
5 votes
Doomsday Volcano

#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

star 8.00
1 votes
Secret History of Gold

#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.

star 8.00
1 votes
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Finding Anastasia

#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?

star 8.00
1 votes
The New Face of Crime

#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.

star 8.00
2 votes
Marijuana Nation

#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.

star 8.00
1 votes
Bill Nye's Global Meltdown

#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.

star 8.00
4 votes
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The Cult of Mary

#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.

star 7.80
5 votes
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Call of the Wild

#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.

star 7.78
18 votes
Science of Dogs

#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

star 7.67
3 votes
Mystery of the Murdered Saints

#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.

star 7.67
3 votes
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