Mythbusters 2.0: A Great Show Fades Away

We have seen the first episodes of “Mythbusters 2.0”, pared back to Savage and Hyneman, and allegedly returning to the “original” spirit and format.  Bear in mind that I didn’t watch the show until the “M5 Era”, so this isn’t what I would have asked for.

Let’s see what the new show is like.

The episodes so far have been: Simpsons, Indiana Jones, The A Team (TV show), Video Games, and “Transformers”.

The first four are obviously media tie ins (ka-ching), and the “myths” involved attempts to reproduce fictional events, including cartoon and video game “physics”. Who cares? (Well, obviously, the network cares about making money off cross branding.)

And where is Buster? Apparently, he was downsized, too.

In a sense, this reverses the idea of the original shows, which probed urban myths about real life events which may or may not be fictional. This season’s “myths” are by definition fictional, but some cases may actually (perhaps accidentally) reflect some real world situations.

So where is the science? Really, there isn’t much here. I mean, you don’t need science to tell you that the “physics” of video games is not real. It is deliberately designed to not be real. And who cares if the stunts in a great movie or bad TV show might be real?  We know they are staged in order to tell the story.

The “experiments” are also quite a bit smaller-bore (I assume due to budgets), and, tellingly, there have been only three explosions.  Lot’s more Jamie and Adam talking and working in the shop.  This is not the Mythbusters we all knew and loved!

A “science-based reality show”? Well, this isn’t science in the normal sense of that word. It’s a reality show about a Hollywood special effects shop. This is interesting, but not in any way “science”.

Also, the investigations seem to all be special effects “builds”. This is certainly what Adam and Jamie are really good at, but what happened to their “scientific tests”, with control conditions, data collections, statistics, and so on? However flawed, Mythbusters showed kids how to think and do real science, even on squishy topics such as “beer goggles” or whether elephants are really scared by mice (apparently, “yes”). It is a shame to turn everything into Hollywood effects.

While I’m complaining, I’ll note that they have a revised web site, which has little useful material except video clips. Furthermore, they obnoxiously blocked some of the free video clips, telling me that they are “made available for free by their advertisers”, so I have to turn off my ad blocking to see them.

Really? Good luck with that. Do you think I will actually buy something from you arrogant SOBs?

So what I see—no myths, little science, and lots of ads. Lot’s of Hollywood.

Sigh.

Downsized. Dumbed down. Probably the last season.

It will be missed. It already is missed.

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