RogerBW's Blog

White Rabbit Project season 1 20 May 2017

2016 popular science/history, 10 episodes. The team does practical investigation of various historical events and other claims.

This is what happens when you get sacked from MythBusters, apparently: you go to Netflix to trade on your popularity without ever mentioning that other show. And there's obviously a great deal of inspiration from MythBusters here: the basic idea is to take actual events or proposals, like the Strelzyk-Wetzel escape from East to West Germany by home-made hot air balloon or the Hajile rocket-landing project from WWII, and to replicate such elements as seem suitably telegenic.

Unfortunately, this show extends the trend that MythBusters started; that programme began with one myth per episode to be investiged in depth, then moved to three or four. This show does six per episode. And then rates them against each other. Was that balloon crossing more or less impressive than a well-organised helicopter jailbreak? Who cares?

Basically the lack of time given to each thing is this show's undoing: introduce it (with actors and/or animated graphics), explain roughly what you're going to try, try it, and that's it. Sometimes, as in the "Scam Artists" episode, there isn't even anything to try to replicate, just a recounting of events and no experiment; or as in "May G Force Be with You", the "experiment" just consists of taking an accelerometer through a series of high-G events. It feels like MythBusters compressed, without the budget and of course without Adam and Jamie.

And without the quality of research: while investigating "crazy WW2 weapons", apparently nobody in the cast or crew thought that maybe a mention of a "B-52 bomber" (with graphics to match) might be just a tiny bit out of period. Of what they get right, there's really very little here that you wouldn't already know about if you're already vaguely interested in the subject; hear a mention of the Dale car scam, which was new to me, and a few minutes following links from Wikipedia will teach you more than the programme does (with less casual transphobia). I suppose this show might be helpful as a deprogramming tool for children who've been made to think that science and history aren't fun, and who for some reason don't have access to MythBusters, but alas it's a waste of time for anyone else.

No word on renewal.

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