Mythbusters Returns! New … but Improved?

Photo courtesy of Science Channel.

After a year and a half absence, the classic Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters, is set to return to the airwaves on November 15, 2017. Moving from the Discovery Channel flagship to the its nerdier cousin, Science (often abbreviated to simply, SCI), Mythbusters is looking to recapture the glory of its predecessor show while at the same time, raising the ante as it takes viewers on a wild ride of debunking age old myths. Featuring all new hosts, all new myths, an all new set, and even an all new Buster, this rebooted experiment show is NOT your father’s Mythbusters. IT’S BETTER!!

Launched in 2003 on the Discovery Channel, Mythbusters was hosted by Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman for its original 14 season arc.  Over the course of the show’s run, behind the scenes builders made their way on camera but it was Savage and Hyneman who defined the tone and culture of the show.  A yin and yang of temperament, Savage was often the uber-enthusiastic, full throttle ahead experimenter to Hyneman’s quiet and composed scientist man.  Hyneman was also distinctive for his fierce beret and mustache game.   After 282 episodes of crazy science and myth busting, Mythbusters aired its final episode on March 6, 2016.

On a personal note, I spent my 20’s watching Mythbusters; I loved the science, the explosions and I got the greatest joy in watching myths be busted. But, for me, it was the personalities that glued me to the show and kept me coming back week after week.  Savage and Hyneman WERE Mythbusters for me so it is with great hesitancy that I approach this new incarnation.

Photo courtesy of Science Channel.

Shortly after the finale of the original Mythbusters, Discovery announced it would host a science- and engineering-themed reality game show, Mythbusters: The Search, wherein 10 contestants would vie for a shot at hosting a reboot of the show.  The Search debuted in January 2017 and was hosted by the Nerdist‘s science editor, Kyle Hill.  After 8 weeks of putting its contestants through mythbusting science competitions, two winners were chosen, Brian Louden and Jonathan Lung.

Photo courtesy of Science Channel.
Photo courtesy of Science Channel.

Hailing from Spring Texas, Louden spent his career in emergency medicine. With a degree in biology and a life long passion for blowing things up, Louden has said that he, “was born to be a Mythbuster.”  With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a love for the inter-connectedness of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, for the uninitiated), Louden definitely strikes me as the “Savage” of the duo – a balls to the wall experimenter with a limitless imagination. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Bo Dingo, Brian’s rescue dog who was featured on The Search and Louden assures will pop up in the regular season.  The 2 are inseparable and as such, Bo has become the MythDog, an ever present member on set when the show is filming.

Photo courtesy of Science Channel.

Lung, who hails from New York, spent his career designing and building furniture as well as living in wood and metal shops, working on product designs.  Getting to “Tweak and Tinker” with designs is what he does.    As far as his relationship with the original Mythbusters, he credits the show in aiding him on the completion of his Masters Degree product design thesis, “[t]he Mythbusters approach to teaching people actually inspired my graduate thesis project on preparedness.” After a few minutes of hearing Lung speak and I think you’ll agree, he’s also a “Savage-like” figure.  Two Savages with no Hyneman to anchor them? That seems exhilarating but also, a little terrifying. Especially for the insurance underwriter of the show.

The series premiere episode hasn’t been made available yet but based on this log line description, expect lots of extreme twists on the experiments done to prove or better yet, bust, age old myths.

“In the season premiere, Brian and Jon use a synthetic cadaver to test whether an airbag explosion can be lethal to a front seat passenger if their feet are on the dashboard during a fender bender. Also in the opening episode Brian and Jon tackle the classic cinematic trope of delayed causality, and try to find out if it’s really possible to decapitate a bad guy, zombie or monster so fast, so accurately, that the head and body hold in position for a dramatic pause. To find the answer they build and test out a rocket powered sword. Other myths this season will determine if a burglar stuck in a chimney could be shot skywards if a homeowner lights his propane-powered fireplace, the possibility of igniting a lethal campsite catastrophe by cigarette lighter and a sleeping bag full of flatulence, whether a lumberjack can accidentally chop himself down by cutting into a tree and striking an embedded bullet, and more.”

I got to meet the guys at their New York Comic Con panel this past October.  The panel served two purposes, one, to (re)introduce us to who these 2 new MythBusters were and two, to demonstrate both their brand of experimentation as well as their unbridled enthusiasm for their work.  In a live experiment revolving around a sticky mixture called oobleck and the power of hi-speed cameras, we got to witness Louden hurl various water balloons at Jon’s head … but it all made scientific sense.

Hyneman and Savage had the aura of classic scientists – well Hyneman did anyway, which provided a gravitas to the show. Louden and Lung are more like your friends who know a lot about how things work and have a penchant for blowing shit up.  And also, maybe are drinking while they do their experiments.

Which is all a long way to say that this new Mythbusters team will be a lot more irreverent and fun than the old Mythbusters but Brian and Jon are as committed to the same hard science methods which made you fall in love with the show all those years ago.  We’re giving Mythbusters 2.0 a High Recommend!

Gratuitous Fanboy Selfie.
Gratuitous Fanboy Selfie.

 

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