Just when I thought I had reached closure on the MYTHBUSTERS final season comes news that the Science Channel is planning to revive the series. Already? The Science Channel currently airs reruns of the popular but now defunct science-based series starring Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman.
Apparently fans like me, and presumably you, have been so bummed at losing new episodes that the Science Channel has launched a crusade to bring it back, albeit with new hosts. This according to an article in the authoritative entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter.
The Science Channel’s MYTHBUSTERS page now even sports a casting call page. Here’s the deal. They want to do a reality-TV style competition with 15 wannabe myth busters vying for the enviable job of building cool stuff and testing odd ideas. They will try to solve challenges, including classic MYTHBUSTERS myths and some new ones. And they will be judged during the competition by a panel who have been involved in MYTHBUSTERS over the years. I don’t know just what that means, but it would be awesome if it included Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, or Grant Imahara. The winner or winners would then host a new MYTHBUSTERS series.
Here’s the thing: Can anyone ever replace Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as the MYTHBUSTERS? Science Channel says it’s a “franchise” they “didn’t want to let go.” Then why didn’t they just import the original hosts? I’ve also read that they wanted to bring on the next generation of science geeks to host the show. Who would better represent that group than Kari, Tory, and Grant, who already have the experience and expertise to carry off the MYTHBUSTERS franchise and who fans have loved watching for more than a decade? In fact, many show fans abandoned the show when the fab three left the series last year.
Sure, I get it. Freshen up the series with new stars and let it flourish on a new channel. Maybe encourage a new generation of science geeks by seeing hosts closer to their own age doing cool, fun stuff solving mysteries and engaging their curiosity. Maybe they’re right after all. And if that’s the case, I hope we see a real change that truly encourages a new generation, including girls and minorities, who do real science.
And if they want to attract this viewer, they won’t mess with the format too much. I’ve seen too many MYTHBUSTERS-wannabe shows fall flat on their faces because they just didn’t have the Savage-Hyneman magic.
What I am personally not excited about is a typical reality-TV competition where a group of competitors are given a few hours to do a build, we see them slave away, work up a sweat, express drama over doubts and slip ups, then appear before judges who disparage their work, walk off to “discuss” the results, and then send someone home. Enough already. What I hope for is something different, something inspiring, something that shows off competitors’ skills and aspirations and ingenuity — not their failures and disappointments. Yes, failures have always been part of the process, but it’s never been part of MYTHBUSTERS defeat. Failure has been part of learning and coming up with an answer, even if it was busted or plausible, or better yet, confirmed.
Besides, Adam and Jamie tried hosting a reality TV competition series (UNCHAINED REACTION – 2012) based on doing builds, and it barely lasted a season.
What Adam and Jamie had, and then grew with Kari, Tory, and Grant, was a camaraderie and a team spirit. Without it, this new show will become just another reality-TV build show. Let’s hope this attempt to revive MYTHBUSTERS remains in the spirit of that chemistry. And let’s hope that MYTHBUSTERS fans will find a place in their hearts for a series revival of epically short notice.