RogerBW's Blog

MythBusters season 20 07 March 2018

2017-2018, 14 episodes (12 broadcast at time of writing). A new team tests various myths, sayings and rumours, to see how they stack up against the real world.

I knew that there had been a contest to find new hosts for a revived series (MythBusters: The Search); I didn't watch it, because it smelled too much like reality-TV, which is a format that just doesn't work for me.

So I don't know what the other contestants were like, but the two they picked… grate. Adam and Jamie were the funny man and the straight man; Jon and Brian are both half-hearted funny men. Sure, they're excited about having been given an enjoyable job, but they don't play off each other; there's no chemistry, and no difference of opinion about the best way to achieve something. (It also seems like a shame, these days, that they couldn't find a female presenter. There are plenty of women with the right practical building skills, even in the film industry which does its best to ignore them.)

Also, in the early days of MythBusters, Adam in particular was a bit more restrained. By the time he got regularly into full clown mode, he'd earned the silliness with real practical engineering. These guys feel, not necessarily through their own fault, as if they've just been dropped into the Adam-and-Jamie-shaped hole in the programme, and we're expected to accept them without asking why they're there. Again, if I'd watched The Search this might have worked better for me. But I have watched all of Doctor Who and enjoyed most of it; this shouldn't have been as hard as it apparently was.

So I wasn't inclined to like the show, but I gave it a try anyway. But the science felt wrong too; the experimental design was sloppy at best, mendacious at worst. Sure, some of the old show's episodes were like that, but this seemed like every experiment: it was much more about putting on a show than about gathering data. So: can a sword cut through someone's neck cleanly enough to leave the head sitting on the stump? We'll concentrate entirely on how fast the blade is moving, and pay no attention at all to how sharp or thick it is. Can a bullet dug out of a tree by a chainsaw kill the chainsaw's operator? We'll claim that the bullet is likely to move much faster than the chain, without attempting to justify that, and then act really surprised when none of the experiments show it happening. Does listening to angry music cause more aggressive driving? We'll do a 5-participant study, putting them all through the calm music / angry music test in the same order.

Even when they get things right, they're putting in less effort than on the old show. Half of one episode is dedicated to building a rig to launch a 2lb fish at 35mph. With Adam and Jamie that would have been "hey, we've still got the air cannon, we've stuck a wide barrel on it and turned down the pressure a a bit, now let's go and do something more interesting". If you're claiming to have continuity with proper MythBusters, why not use it?

Well, I gave it a fair shot, but four episodes in I hadn't had fun or learned anything new. So: off my watch list. As Ookla the Mok (the group, not the cartoon character) sang: Everything Good Turns To Crap.

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1