10 episodes of explanations that will change the way you think

With popular docuseries Explain and its related spinoffs, Vox provided Netflix subscribers with intellectually stimulating entertainment to complement the platform’s lighter offerings. Over its three seasons, the series has offered in-depth analyzes of various facets of global culture, covering dance madness and animal intelligence with equal reverence and thoroughness.

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The most effective of these episodes challenge the audience to reconsider their point of view on the given subject – whether it is a mundane practice or an all-encompassing concept – and come away with an expanded and more nuanced.

“Billionaires”

Mark Cuban mourns Esso Watch founder Ryan

This Season 2 episode features both a glimpse of a notable band member named (shark tank cast member and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban) and perhaps the most prominent of his opponents (former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders).

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“Billionaires” puts the outsized wealth of the world’s wealthiest individuals into perspective by noting the vast divide between the wealthiest celebrities (citing Michael Jordan and Kylie Jenner as prominent examples) and the corporate titans who dominate the economy (by especially Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos). Sanders details how America’s wealth gap has widened in recent decades, while Cuban defends his socio-economic status by saying everyone would choose to be a billionaire if given the chance .

“Weather”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in The Dark Knight Rises.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt narrates this Season 3 episode on a universal topic that everyone knows about but few have examined in depth. The episode introduces first-time viewers to the concept of “space-time”, a theory that posits that time and space are linked and exist as a singular unit.

Gordon-Levitt entertains the implications of spacetime theory, such as the apparent inability of free will to exist in such a setting. With “Time,” Vox covers lofty and seemingly unattainable concepts with the same degree of skill as more easily observable phenomena, making the subject matter of the greatest sci-fi movies as understandable as real-life events.

“Anxiety”

This episode of the spin-off series The Spirit Explained examines the neurological and environmental causes of something that afflicts Americans with increasing frequency. Comedian Maria Bamford talks about her experiences with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can be exacerbated by or cause anxiety, providing much-needed catharsis for those with similar mental health experiences.

Specialists, such as psychologist Ali Mattu and neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky, provide professional insight into the matter which, when paired with Bamford’s entertaining interview, constitutes a well-conducted investigation that ranks among Netflix’s top projects. highlighting mental health.

“Beauty”

A landscape in the Midlands, UK

Rather than focusing exclusively on human appeal, “Beauty” examines the visual appeal of non-human art, objects and animals. While acknowledging that the human perception of beauty was largely shaped by evolutionary impulses – narrator John Waters citing our attraction to rectangles due to our primitive ancestors’ tendency to scan their horizons from left to right – the episode also notes the more frivolous and romantic origins of some beauty staples, like those of the majestically colored feathers of peacocks.

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Experts interviewed also discuss the interesting way Alzheimer’s patients have found beauty in the same sources as before developing the disease.

“The Future of Meat”

Seth Green eating a hamburger in X-files

“The Future of Meat” questions the ethics of a practice most Americans partake in daily while successfully persuading many viewers to embrace the perspective presented rather than resent the relevance of the arguments. The experts interviewed explain how the meat industry harms human civilization in addition to animal victims, and they detail how our burgeoning global population will not be able to maintain its current eating habits for decades to come.

The episode also provides hope, noting alternatives to laboratory meat that could potentially help citizens of first-world nations limit their reliance on animal domestication.

“The Next Pandemic”

UK government includes Plague Inc. QR codes in confusing Covid emails

This prescient episode from 2019 warned of the threat that a possible global pandemic could pose less than a year before COVID-19 realizes the fears presented, and is one of the documentaries to watch with Netflix. Pandemic. JK Simmons summarizes previous pandemic outbreaks – particularly those of SARS in 2002 – and guest experts urge governments to prioritize funding for disease control before a crisis emerges.

Although the advice presented in this episode was not followed in time to prevent COVID from wreaking global destruction, it could certainly inspire preventative measures to ensure that a future outbreak is not as catastrophic.

“Creator DNA”

Original series explained by Netflix

This first episode of the series explains the promises and potential pitfalls of genome engineering, a practice in which parents determine the physical and neurological characteristics of their unborn children.

In addition to listing the benefits of the procedure, such as the ability to provide successive generations with intellectual, physical, and behavioral benefits, narrator Joss Fong informs viewers of the ethical complications that can arise if genetic modification becomes widespread. Star expert Rebecca Cokley, who is a person with dwarfism, worries that genetic differences such as hers could be wiped out if designer DNA becomes commonplace, moving into the field of eugenics .

“Extraterrestrial Life”

LeVar Burton in the Aviation Gin ad

Cultural icon LeVar Burton narrates this Season 1 episode, which deals with both popular perceptions of extraterrestrial life (reflected in the best alien invasion movies of all time) and scientists’ opinions of its existence. potential. Burton notes that the vastness of the universe suggests we’re probably not alone, but adds that our continued inability to identify aliens presents complications.

The episode features interviews with scientists who present their respective views on the matter and the likelihood that the human race will one day come into contact with such life forms. Viewers with limited scientific knowledge will find the discussion easy to follow thanks to the crisp writing and simplified explanations the episode is structured around.

“Fairy tales”

Cinderella Modern Disney Princesses

This episode distinguishes fairy tales from legends (which have a historical basis), myths (which are religious in nature) and fables (which provide moral lessons). Viewers learn that there are multiple variations of common fairy tales that are specific to the cultures they come from. For example, while the Brothers Grimm popularized some of the most influential stories of 19th century Prussia and Walt Disney introduced Americans to the more tamer tales of the modern era, many of these fairy tales were born there. thousands of years ago.

The episode encourages audiences to understand the universality of storytelling and appreciate the transfer of cultural values ​​across generations.

“Apologies”

Keke Palmer

In one of the most powerful episodes of Explainnarrator Keke Palmer covers the origins of the apology, notable examples of its use, and how best to deliver such a statement.

The episode features the story of two New York natives who were arrested for a violent confrontation and then went through a process called “restorative justice,” an alternative to jail that ensures accountability for the parties involved in the discussion rather than by punishment. This episode may be Explainis the most relevant, and it is certainly one of the most touching in the series.

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