RogerBW's Blog

MythBusters 2016 season 19 November 2016

2016, 10+2 episodes. If you're reading this you probably know what MythBusters was about, or you can go and find out.

This was the final season, and everyone knew it going in. Sometimes recently the show has felt tense, sometimes it's been tired, but here the end was in sight and everyone seems to have been willing to make one last push.

Sometimes just a single "myth" was tried per episode (can a tanker rail-car collapse from internal vacuum), sometimes it was as many as four fairly quick and simple ones; the overall format was about the same as in the two-presenter 2015 season, with repetitions and intercuts to maintain viewer interest and keep context over commercial breaks. There weren't any TV or film marketing tie-ins this time; this was back to the 2014 formula of ideas that a reasonable person might find plausible, or at least worth looking into.

Of course some were better than others: the viral-video and Reddit episodes often seemed pointless, and once again in considerations of deceleration trauma there was no consideration of how deceleration distance directly affects the shock load. (When you are approaching a solid surface at 120mph and you want to experience a peak deceleration of less than 50 gravities, you need nine and a half feet of space to decelerate in, whatever it's filled with. So two or three feet of padding won't ever do the trick.)

The "Reunion" episode, bringing back the build team (credited from about 2005 until 2014) for chat, reminiscence, and short video clips, got excessively sentimental at times; but, well, this was the show that returned popular science to public consciousness, even if it did have to be desperately simplified for the TV audience. And it lasted for nearly fourteen years, a lifetime in television terms. I think they can be excused the odd emotional moment.

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