Why Everyone Should Watch Netflix’s Explained | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Why Everyone Should Watch Netflix’s Explained

Deputy Editor Kat Smith reviews Vox Media's Explained and praises its short, snappy episodes for educating viewers on complex topics

Netflix: a pioneer in successful originals, flopped superhero shows and of course, the humble documentary. While the majority of the streaming site’s catalogue is filled with lengthy programmes such as Making a Murderer and The Staircase, their 2018 docu-series Explained is a breath of fresh air.

Produced by Vox Media and encompassing a range of topics, Explained explores astrology, weed, monogamy, the female orgasm, political correctness, K-pop, the racial wealth gap, life expectancy, and the list goes on. Despite each episode being approximately 15-20 minutes long, topics are discussed in astonishing depth. The docu-series unearths an impressive amount of information without feeling rushed or messy, with each episode being crafted to tell something of a story to the viewer about the given topic. While we can’t expect Explained to offer a plethora of information in such a short space of time, I guarantee that everyone who watches will learn more than they predict they will.

The docuseries unearths an impressive amount of information without feeling rushed or messy
The content is also pitch-perfect. Explained serves to cut out the background noise and get to the heart of issues that are discussed in current society and topics that surround us but feel less exposed. While I thought I was well-acquainted with both things, it was fascinating to find out that monogamy is such a complex concept, and that tattoos have such a rich history. When anyone can claim to be an expert on the internet, it’s refreshing to get such concise and accurate information in these episodes.

A perfect blend of modern-day interviews, statistics and historical research ensures a topic is tackled from each angle. The production is simply masterful. From the slightly addictive opening theme song to the montage of vintage clips regarding the episode’s theme, Vox Media has nailed this series. Little things like highlighted articles and books as well as impressive graphs keep the series engaging as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

When anyone can claim to be an expert on the internet, it’s refreshing to get such concise and accurate information in these episodes
While I love long documentaries delving into the depths of topics, I believe Explained is a remedy for losing attention. Other documentary makers would do well to consider how they could use these bite-sized installments to their advantage.

Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that Explained is one to add to your undoubtedly never-ending ‘Netflix series to watch’ list, but I implore you to move it to the top. When you can binge three episodes in just under an hour and gain some knowledge in the meantime, it hardly counts as procrastination.

Current Deputy Editor, confused philosophy student and pitta enthusiast (@katlouiise)



Published

24th September 2018 at 9:00 am

Last Updated

23rd September 2018 at 11:39 pm



Images from

Vox/Netflix



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