MYTHBUSTERS Revival on The Science Channel -- Season 1 thread

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Christopher, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, I never quite believed the claims that the replacement hosts chosen in Mythbusters: The Search would actually go on to star in a new show, but it's happened, and the new incarnation premieres tonight at 9:02 Eastern on The Science Channel. Here's an article with a couple of preview videos and upcoming episode descriptions:

    http://collider.com/mythbusters-2017-video-brian-louden-jon-lung/

    It looks like it might have promise; some of the myths they're testing sound interesting. The new hosts, Brian and Jon, seem appealing enough, but without the same odd-couple contrast that made Adam and Jamie such a classic duo. But at least our old friend the announcer is back. I'll give it a try tonight.

    By the way, I found out about this premiere because my Android phone has recently started giving me unsolicited news alerts from Google, and this morning it saw fit to tell me that the Mythbusters premiere was tonight. Which was convenient in this case, but kind of creepy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Hmm, okay... This was a decent debut for the revived show. Both myths were pretty interesting -- one, the claim that putting your feet up on the dash when the airbag deploys could be fatal, and two, the movie myth of a sword slicing through a body so cleanly that there's a delay before it falls apart. It all felt pretty much like a continuation; the new hosts kind of have it easy because they just have to step into a well-established machine and keep it running in the familiar way.

    As for the new hosts, they're okay, but Jon seems a bit too much like an Adam clone in personality. And Brian is competent and affable enough, but a little nondescript. They both seem reasonably smart and skilled, though. I just wish the episode had let them just prove themselves through their actions rather than flashing back to The Search and getting all self-conscious about trying to convince us that these guys deserved to be Mythbusters. A "reality" show was not really an ideal way to test that; the real proof is in how they do the actual job.

    As far as that goes, they did okay, but maybe need a bit of polishing. I'm surprised that the flaw in their rocket-sword rig wasn't obvious -- I realized ahead of time that the rockets would knock over the target just after the blade sliced through and thereby invalidate the test. And on the car-crash myth, their tow rig didn't work very well at keeping the car moving straight. Maybe instead of crashing into another car, they should've just put up a wider crash barrier (or two SUVs side-by-side?) so that there'd be no way the towed car would miss.

    I'm not surprised the sword myth was busted. I've always taken the conceit there to be that the blade doing the slicing was preternaturally sharp, so much so that it could essentially slide between molecules without resistance. So there's a degree of exaggeration built into it.

    Anyway, I guess this is still Mythbusters, and it seems it's still worth sticking around for the myths themselves, even with new people testing them. I wish they had the budget to hire one or two more hosts, though. I'm not thrilled that the only female presence on the show is Brian's dog.
     
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I can't even seem to gin up an interest to check the show out. Without Adam and Jamie, and especially without Kari...
     
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  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Not a bad second episode. The myths were fairly interesting. The first involved a burglar getting caught in a chimney and being blown out like a cannonball by a propane explosion. Some clever methodology to test different stoichiometric ratios of propane and air (and man, did they like saying "stoichiometry"), some decent strategy for the challenging full-size build of the chimney (which, in Mythbusters tradition, didn't quite work as planned, so they had to adapt as they went), and a pretty conclusive result, complete with an attempt to replicate the myth when the stated parameters failed. They introduced a new Buster to play the burglar, and that introduction was my least favorite part, because it was kind of overproduced and fictionalized.

    The second myth involved a chainsaw kicking out a bullet lodged in a tree and killing a lumberjack. At first, I thought the idea was that the impact of the chainsaw had ignited the bullet, which in retrospect wouldn't make sense for a bullet that had already been fired. It turned out that the idea was more of a railgun/linear accelerator thing, the high-speed chainsaw teeth just plain pushing the bullet up to lethal speed. They had to use a fair amount of trial and error and creativity to get a bullet into a log (without going out the other side), locate it, and set things up so they could observe what the blade did to it and how fast it went. And again, when the first test didn't give the mythical results, they ramped it up using a more powerful chainsaw. They didn't manage to replicate the result in either case, but I'd say they did due diligence.

    So, yeah, it's a bit stagey at times, and the hosts are a bit more generic, but it still feels like Mythbusters, and the experiments are still interesting.
     
  5. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I managed to miss this - found out about the return thanks to commercials during Thanksgiving reruns of the show.

    I've DVR'd both of the episodes so far, and watched the first one. I agree with everything Christopher said. (Although I would have compared Jon to Tory instead of Adam - and Brian reminds me of Grant in terms of personality if not skillset.)

    I remember that at least one of the two was not who I thought should win (though at this point I honestly don't remember who I wanted to win!), but so far they seem to be doing a decent job continuing the tradition.

    Not loving the new theme but it's still better than the last two seasons' theme. Wish they'd kept the old logo - but that's just my dislike of change, the new one of those is actually okay.
     
  6. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    At least we can still enjoy Kari and the build team on Netflix's White Rabbit Project.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's not as interesting a show as Mythbusters. It's not just the cast that matters to me, it's the content and the science and the creativity. The new Mythbusters seems to be keeping that stuff alive pretty well, whereas White Rabbit is a feeble and unfocused attempt to do something vaguely Mythbustery. It might be better with some significant retooling, but as it stands, it doesn't have much appeal beyond the hosts.
     
  8. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Are there new eps of White Rabbit? I've seen the whole first season.
     
  9. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I forgot to post about the third episode, or perhaps I didn't want to, since it included a flatulence myth involving a lighter in a sleeping bag. Broadcast standards seem to have changed, since the hosts and the announcer were free to use the crude terminology that Adam and Jamie had to avoid when they tackled such myths back in the day. There was also a myth about a water heater being knocked over in an earthquake and blasting through an RV. Their test didn't work because the heater hit too low and hit the RV's chassis, so they said it might be their first revisit. Still a learning curve for these guys.

    I only just remembered to watch this week's episode, which was better. One myth involved testing whether heavy metal music could aggravate road rage, so they did the old standby of setting up an obstacle course in an "abandoned suburb" (where did they get an abandoned suburb?) and testing several volunteers. They reputedly found that the music enhanced frustration and aggressive driving in those already prone to frustration, but there were a couple of faults in their design. For one, they had all five test subjects do the angry music second, and tackling the course in the other direction, which means three variables were correlated so you couldn't be sure the difference was due to the specific one being tested. They should've had a larger sample size and had an equal number do the angry music first as the easy-listening music first.

    Although I wasn't entirely convinced this wasn't somewhat staged, since a couple of the test subjects -- the sweet little old lady and the big angry guy -- seemed a little too on-the-nose to be real. But then, sometimes real people turn out to be more caricatured than fictional characters, don't they?

    The other myth involved a waterskier being hit in the face by an invasive species of Asian carp that jumps out of the water when startled, and whether the impact was hard enough to be fatal. Brian and Jon's learning curve kicked in again, because they put a lot of effort into building a bungee-driven carp-throwing track that was just way, way too dangerous with the level of tension they had to load onto it to reach their target velocity of 35 MPH. Halfway through, I was thinking "Adam and Jamie would've built an air cannon." And indeed, that's what Jon and Brian did as Plan B, and it worked even better than expected.

    But the new cast isn't without its assets. The nice thing about Brian's paramedic background is that there seems to have been an improvement in the human-analog "Busters" they build to test injury. In this case, they came up with a clever but creepy head-and-neck rig with authentic surrogates for bone, vertebral discs, and neck tendons, plus the clever touch of a glow stick as the spinal cord so any damage would be immediately visible. Good builds in this myth, and the result was disturbingly plausible. Maybe waterskiers need to start wearing helmets and neck braces.

    I'm kind of warming up to Brian and Jon. They're both pretty likeable hosts, and they seem to know their stuff. Sometimes they seem a bit self-conscious, but it feels like they're relaxing into the gig somewhat. I still they could use a female co-host, though.
     
  11. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To be pedantic, it's also a different network; I don't think we can be sure that the standards at the network(s) changed between then and now; we just know that their current ones at Science are different from the ones Discovery had at the time.

    In the past they've used one located on a closed military base, Fort Ord. Not sure if that's what they used this time.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I didn't notice the location caption. But what has me wondering is that, so far, the new Mythbusters doesn't seem to use the same testing locations as the old. They seem to be based in and around LA rather than San Francisco, and the old familiar places like Alameda are nowhere to be seen. So my expectation would be that they weren't using the same abandoned military base that was used before, which is why I wondered.

    Also, this test course had a roundabout in it, and I don't recall that being a feature of the abandoned residential area that the previous Mythbusters used. I'm surprised to see one in the United States at all.
     
  13. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Come up to Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have several, and it seems like they keep adding more every year.
     
  14. Teelie

    Teelie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Where I live in the U.S. they are doing a multi-year project to add around 6 roundabouts to a road with plans to expand it further as they learn from this one.

    The new Mythbusters is interesting. It definitely feels like an offshoot of the original show but it doesn't have the same hook yet that Adam and Jamie, then later Kari, Tory, and Grant brought to the show. Not to say it isn't bad or less interesting but the show feels weird without the old cast.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Like I said, I think the new guys are starting to establish themselves fairly well, although it does seem like they were cast with an eye toward replicating the Adam/Jamie dynamic (a hyperactive, funny New Yorker and a big, bearded, laid-back Midwesterner in a hat). Which makes me skeptical of the legitimacy of the "contest" element of The Search, but then, I was skeptical of it to begin with.

    Anyway, I think the most important things are the experiments and the science, however tenuous the science content is at times. And the show has brought in new hosts before. At first it was just Adam and Jamie, and then the "Build Team" of Kari, Tory, and Scottie gradually emerged, and then Scottie left and Grant came in. Plus there were other supporting players that came and went, like the "Mythterns" Christine and Jess and the fill-in host Jessi Combs.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    This week's episode was about improvised weapons from spy movies -- The Bourne Identity's use of a fire extinguisher to fire a nail into a bad guy, and two gimmicks from Skyfall, one involving shotgun shells in light fixtures to create fragmentation grenades, and one involving shotgun shells and a nail under a floorboard to blow a villain's leg off. Unsurprisingly, all three of them failed to work as shown. It's pretty standard in TV and movies showing such explosive or dangerous contrivances to leave out a crucial step so that they can't be replicated. Indeed, the Mythbusters couldn't even tell us how they replicated the result to make the chandelier grenade myth work as intended. Though I assume it involved a better containment method for the nuts and bolts around the shell than just plastic bags. It was obvious from the get-go that those would just drop the stuff to the floor instead of blasting it outward. The shells under the floorboard didn't work without a barrel to contain them either. And the extinguisher needed an extended barrel to fire its nail with any real force or reliability.

    So the results were kind of a gimme, but there were some interesting rigs the guys devised to test them. And it was interesting to see the workings of the control valve inside the nozzle of a CO2 extinguisher. With the cone removed, the bare nozzle sprays the gas outward to the sides rather than forward, so the rightward and leftward thrust cancel out and keep it stable (with the cone then redirecting the blast forward). Without the valve, the more powerful one-way blast is harder to aim or control. That's interesting to know.

    One thing the original Mythbusters generally did that the new one has not done at all so far is to show actual clips of the movie scenes in question. I guess The Science Channel doesn't have the budget to license the clips, at least not from big-ticket movies like Bourne and Bond.
     
  17. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    Or possibly the studios have raised their fees to show the clips. Besides, I rather like the animations. Well, a bit more specifically, I like the "cut out" styled animations (probably Flash) with "Buster", but that motif was already being phased out during the last two "classic" seasons (after the "Build Team" was let go).

    As for the new hosts, yeah, Brian is the bit more "laid back" of the pair, but the "contrast" is is not nearly as pointed as between Adam and Jamie. the new guys are more like "Adam 'light'" and "Adam 'extreme'".
     
  18. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well as the show demonstrated Roundabouts are more efficent at moving traffic, so perhaps that is why they are adding more.
     
  19. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In a test that might be true, in reality that depends on the situation of the roads.

    Massachusetts has added about one a day. The one I went throw today had the traffic back up from the roundabout, to the highway ramp and then up to the high way. It never did that before because now you have to go 5 mph in the damn thing and you can't go most of the time because you don't know if the car is leaving the useless thing or not.

    All they have to do is stick a left turn arrow at this intersection, that was it, the road was already wide enough.

    Anyways I tried watching the show and I just couldn't. I didn't see the need for firing everyone by canceling the show and then announcing new people for a reboot about a month later.You can't catch the mahic that was the original show ever again.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Discovery cancelled the show because its ratings were no longer good enough for them to justify keeping it -- and it sounds like Adam and Jamie were just tired of the grind of doing the show for 14 years and wanted a break. (Also, they were probably starting to get a bit too old for the more physically strenuous myths.) The Science Channel then picked up exclusive rights to air the reruns, and I guess those got good enough ratings by Science's standards that they decided (or were convinced by Beyond) to give a revival a go.

    As I said, I think the revival does a pretty good job of feeling true to the original. Cast changes happen. I got used to Grant replacing Scottie (though I really liked Scottie), so I can get used to Jon & Brian replacing Adam & Jamie. Maybe it would've made more sense just to promote Kari, Grant, and Tory to the leads, but that's just not the way things worked out.