RogerBW's Blog

MythBusters 2015 season 13 March 2016

2015, 14 episodes. If you're reading this you probably know what MythBusters is about, or you can go and find out.

This season is notably the one after the build team got sacked. (Or "left the show". It looks as though the official reason was failed contract negotiations, which could mean anything.) So it's back to Adam and Jamie, and anyone who was helping them out didn't appear on screen or get any credit.

The visual style has been changed too, with animation largely replaced by on-screen information boxes, but the most significant change is to the subject matter. Of course the show hasn't been about its original topic, testing the plausibility of urban legends, for quite a while now; but this year's episodes mostly moved away from general real-world questions and towards themed episodes typically tackling two related questions tied to a film or TV programme. Thus we have "The Simpsons Special", testing the possibility of saving a house from a wrecking ball with a human body, and how toilet systems behave when explosives go off inside them (not the classic fountain, unsurprisingly); or "Video Game Special", testing the time taken to run a maze while carrying lots of weapons vs discarding all but the latest weapon, and slicing real fruit with a real katana. This has happened before (such as a promotional episode for The Green Hornet), but not so frequently that it felt like a major theme.

I'm prone to object to change in general, and I try to control for that, but even then I found this less inspiring than previous seasons. The thing shown in the film doesn't work like that in real life? Well, of course not. It's a film. As late as 2014, most episodes tended to be about testing ideas that might be considered plausible by a reasonably well-informed person, and that was more interesting.

On the other hand, having usually two "myths" per episode does mean they get a bit more time each; there's no return to the original format of finishing off the first one before tackling the second, but one can't have everything.

It's not terrible, but it often feels tired. Adam and Jamie have been doing this since 2003, and it shows. The series was renewed for a final season.

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