What can you say that hasn’t already been said in gushing tones about a TV show that has produced hundreds of hours of remarkable, geeky entertainment? In January, MYTHBUSTERS approaches its final – and I predict its finest – season.
Are you a fan? I am and have been since I first stumbled onto the show in the winter of 2004. And now I prepare for its final season, which premieres on January 9.
The first episode I saw was ginger-mustacheod, black-bereted Jamie Hyneman and fedored, laughing Adam Savage trying to make a miniature suspension bridge collapse under the in-step march of dozens of automated Army boots. What a preposterous idea! But what fun to watch. From that moment on, I was hooked on nerdy mythbusting.
Either in watching new episodes as they aired or picking up reruns of those I had missed, I have watched every episode of MYTHBUSTERS. I have my favorites of course and, sure, I have those I could have done without. But isn’t that true of any show?
My favorite episode was the rocket-launched Chevy, which it turns out was the first episode ever produced (2003), and which they later retested because fans suggested improvements to their method. Then there was the gutsy dump truck with the steel-clad cattle trestle plowing through a traffic jam from January 2014 – that was so well executed, it smoothly opened a path for the truck like opening a zipper! And finally, there was the busting of the myth that NASA faked the Moon landings from August 2008 – a thorough scientific demonstration if ever there was one.
The episodes I could have done without were the grosser ones: bacteria on your toothbrush, polishing a turd, poop hitting the fan, making a candle out of earwax – that sort of thing. Although, watching Kari Byron nearly puke from handling pork human analogs and Grant Imahara vomit from spinning was kind of entertaining.
Those aside, there were thousands of explosions to entertain us, including the most amazing of all explosions: trying to remove hardened cement from inside a cement truck. I believe there will be a reprise of that in the final season. And the MYTHBUSTERS have promised to end the series with “the mother of all explosions” — whether those are one in the same, I don’t know. One of my favorite was testing whether an exploding water heater could blow it through the roof of a house, which they tested twice. Was Tory Belleci wiping out on his bicycle an explosion? It was epic.
And MYTHBUSTERS tested innumberable other ideas. They dropped a classic VW Beetle from 4000 feet and sped another car to the same spot to see which could get there faster (2009). There was the “chicken gun,” built to test whether a bird in flight could really break an airplane window, which then got down to testing which did more damage, a thawed bird or a frozen one (2004). They tested the efficacy of waterskiing behind a rowing crew of eight (2004) and a cruise ship (2007). And they tested dropping Mentos in a bottle of Diet Coke (2006), finding a needle in a haystack (2004), slipping on a banana peel (2009), herding cats (1014), and catching a greased pig (2014). They even tried to roll a 7-foot ball made of LEGO blocks down a hill (2009). I don’t have room to mention everything they covered. A fan infographic mentions 248 episodes to date, the MYTHBUSTERS Wikipedia page lists 267.
What was greatest about the MYTHBUSTERS crew was their engagement with their fans. They listened to their fans, often revisiting myths when fans suggested new ways to approach a myth or when they complained a myth hadn’t been tested fairly or fully. Rather than looking askew at complaints, Adam, Jamie, and gang took on the feedback as challenges, almost like peer-review challenges in science. And after all, isn’t that what MYTHBUSTERS was really about — using science to confirm or bust a myth?
So, MYTHBUSTERS fans, we face our final demise. The end of a very good thing. We can either mourn our loss or sit back and enjoy what I think will be MYTHBUSTERS’ finest season ever. Sit back and be geeked to the max.
When the final episode of the final season airs on the Discovery Channel – the date hasn’t been announced yet – MYTHBUSTERS reruns will continue on the Science Channel. And we can relive all those wonderful moments over and over again.
Update: MYTHBUSTERS just announced their “MYTHBUSTERS Revealed: The Behind the Scenes Season Opener” on Facebook, which airs on January 2, at 8:00 p.m. ET (re-aired at 1:00 a.m. ET) on the Discovery Channel! Enjoy.