|Created by||Peter Rees|
List of additional cast members
|Narrated by||Robert Lee|
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||7|
|No. of episodes||155 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||43 minutes|
|Original channel||Discovery Channel|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original run||January 23, 2003– present|
MythBusters is a popular-science entertainment television series that is produced by Australian company Beyond Television Productions originally for the Discovery Channel in the United States. The series has since been distributed by a number of international broadcasters, including SBS One in Australia and Quest in the UK. The series stars special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who use some elements of the scientific method to test the validity of various rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, internet videos and news stories in popular culture.
Filming for MythBusters is based in San Francisco, California, though occasional elements of production are done in Artarmon, Australia. Planning and some experimentation usually takes place at Hyneman's workshops; experiments that require more space or special accommodations are filmed on location, typically around the Bay Area of San Francisco and sometimes other parts of Northern California. During the third season, several members of Savage and Hyneman's team ("The Build Team") were organized into a second team and now typically test separate myths from the main duo.
The concept for the series was first created for the Discovery Channel under the title, Tall Tales or True by Australian writer/producer Peter Rees of Beyond Productions during 2002. Discovery rejected the proposal initially because they had just commissioned a series on the same topic. Rees refined the pitch to focus on testing key elements of the stories rather than just retelling them. Discovery agreed to develop and co-produce an initial three episode series pilot. Jamie Hyneman was one of a number of special effects artists who was asked to prepare a casting video for network consideration. Rees had interviewed him previously for a segment of the popular science series Beyond 2000 about the British/American robot combat television series Robot Wars. Adam Savage, who had occasionally worked with Hyneman in commercials and on the robot combat television series BattleBots, was asked by Hyneman to help co-host the show because, according to Savage, Hyneman thought himself too uninteresting to host the series on his own. During July 2006, an edited thirty-minute version of MythBusters began airing on BBC Two in the UK. The episodes shown on the European Discovery Channel sometimes include extra scenes not shown in the U.S. version (some of these scenes are included eventually in "specials", such as "MythBusters Outtakes").
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman are the original MythBusters, and initially explored all the myths of the series using their combined experience with special effects. The two work at Hyneman's effects workshop, M5 Industries; they make use of his staff, which often works off-screen, with Hyneman and Savage usually shown doing most of the work at the shop. One of the series' gimmicks is the interaction between Savage and Hyneman, which is similar to a double act, wherein Hyneman plays the straight man and Savage is the comic relief. The show is narrated by Robert Lee, though in some regions his voice is replaced by a local narrator.
As the series progressed, some members of Hyneman's staff were introduced to the audience and began to appear regularly in episodes. Three such members, artist Kari Byron, builder Tory Belleci and metal-worker Scottie Chapman, were organized as a second team of MythBusters during the second season, dubbed the "Build Team". After Chapman left the show for personal reasons during the third season, Grant Imahara, a colleague of Hyneman, was hired to provide the team with his electrical and robotics experience. Byron went on maternity leave in mid-2009, with her position on the Build Team temporarily filled by Jessi Combs, best known for co-hosting Spike's Xtreme 4x4. The Build Team now works at its own workshop, called M7, investigating separate myths from the original duo. Each episode now typically alternates between the two teams covering different myths.
The series has had two interns, dubbed "Mythterns": Discovery Channel contest winner Christine Chamberlain and viewer building contest-winner Jess Nelson; neither is with the series now. During the first season, the program featured segments with folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham, who explained the origins of certain myths, and other people who had first-hand experience with the myths being tested, but those elements were phased out early during the series. However, the MythBusters still commonly consult with experts for myths for topics for which they need assistance. These topics commonly include firearms, for which they most commonly consult Lt. Al Normandy of the South San Francisco Police Department, and explosives, for which they most commonly consult retired FBI explosives expert Frank Doyle and Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. The MythBusters will also routinely ask those they come in contact with during testing (such as those supplying the equipment being tested) if they have ever heard of the myth in question.
Each MythBusters episode focuses typically on several popular beliefs, Internet rumors, or other myths. The list of myths tested by the series is compiled from many sources, including the personal experiences of cast and crew, as well as fan suggestions, such as those posted on The Discovery Channel online MythBusters forums. Occasionally, episodes are produced in which some or all of the myths are related by theme such as pirates or sharks, and occasionally these are dubbed as "[Theme] Special" episodes. As of May 2009, four myths have required such extensive preparation and testing that they had entire episodes devoted solely to them, and four specials have been double-length.
The MythBusters typically test myths in a two-step process. In early episodes, the steps were described as "replicate the circumstances, then duplicate the results" by Savage. This means that first the team attempts to recreate the circumstances that the myth alleges, to determine whether the alleged result occurs; if that fails, they attempt to expand the circumstances to the point that will cause the described result. Occasionally the team (usually Savage and Hyneman) will hold a friendly competition between themselves to see which of them can devise a more successful solution to recreating the results. This is most common with myths involving building an object that can accomplish a goal (for example, rapidly cooling a beer, or finding a needle in a haystack).
While there is not any specific formula the team obeys in terms of physical procedure, most myths involve construction of various objects to help test the myth. They utilize their functional workshops to create whatever is needed, often including mechanical devices and sets to simulate the circumstances of the myth. Human actions are often simulated by mechanical means in order to increase safety, and to achieve consistency in repeated actions. Methods for testing myths are usually planned and executed in a manner to produce visually dramatic results, which generally involves explosions, fires, and/or vehicle crashes. Thus, myths or tests involving explosives, firearms and vehicle collisions are relatively common.
Tests are sometimes confined to the workshop, but often require the teams to be outside. Much of the outdoor testing during early seasons took place in the parking lot of M5. A cargo container in the parking lot commonly serves as an isolation room for dangerous myths, with the experiment being triggered from outside. However, budget increases have permitted more frequent travel to other locations in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. Common filming locations around the Bay Area include decommissioned (closed) military facilities (such as Naval Air Station Alameda, Naval Station Treasure Island, Marin Headlands, Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Hamilton Air Force Base, and abandoned base housing at Marina, California's former Fort Ord), and the Alameda County Sheriff's Bomb Squad and Firearm range. Occasionally, mainly for special episodes, production is out of state, or even out of the country.
Results are measured in a manner scientifically appropriate for the given experiment. Sometimes results can be measured by simple numerical measurement using standard tools, such as multimeters for electrical measurements, or various types of thermometers to measure temperature. To gauge results that don't yield numerical quantities, the teams commonly make use of several types of equipment which can provide other forms of observable effects. When testing physical consequences to a human body which would be too dangerous to test on a living person, the MythBusters commonly use analogues. Initially, they mainly used crash test dummies (most notably one they named Buster) for observing blunt trauma injury, and ballistic gelatin for testing penetrating trauma. They have since progressed to using pig carcasses when an experiment requires a more accurate simulation of human flesh, bone, and organs. They have also occasionally molded real or simulated bones within ballistics gel for simulations of specific body parts.
Both for the purposes of visual observation to determine a result, and simply as a unique visual for the program, high speed cameras are used during experiments and have become a trademark of the series. Very fast footage of moving objects in front of a measured scale is commonly utilized to determine the speed of the object.
Testing is often edited due to time constraints of a televised episode. It can often seem as if the teams draw results from fewer repetitions and a smaller data set than they actually have. During the Outtakes Special, they specifically stated that while they are, in fact, very thorough in testing myths and repeat experiments many times in many different configurations, it is simply impossible to display all of it during a program. Beginning in the fifth season, episodes typically contain a prompt for the viewer to visit the show's homepage to view outtake footage of either additional testing, or other facets of the myths being tested. However, Savage himself has acknowledged that they do not purport always to achieve a satisfactorily large enough set of results to overcome definitively all bias.
In response to criticisms they receive about their methods and results in previous episodes, the staff produced several "Myths Revisited" episodes, in which the teams retest myths to see if the complaints have merit. These episodes have resulted in overturning results of several myths, as well as upholding some results for different reasons than originally concluded.
There are some myths the MythBusters refuse to test. Paranormal concepts, such as aliens or ghosts, are not addressed because they cannot be tested by scientific methods, although one exception, pyramid power, prompted Adam to comment, "No more 'oogie-boogie' myths, please." The program generally avoids experiments harmful to animals, though in one episode they bombarded cockroaches and other laboratory insects with lethal doses of radiation and the cast addressed this, saying that the insects were specifically bred for experiments and would have likely died anyway. The book MythBusters: The Explosive Truth Behind 30 of the Most Perplexing Urban Legends of All Time (ISBN 1-4169-0929-X) also gives a list of a dozen myths that are unlikely to be explored (although four were eventually tested). Savage has commented that it is difficult to test myths that require them to disprove general claims because of the inherent difficulty in proving a negative. As a result, when they do pursue such myths, they typically go about disproving specific methods that claim to achieve results. Additionally, certain myths are not tested due to various objections by Discovery Channel or their advertisers. Through the first seven seasons, a total of 2,265 experiments were performed and ten tons of explosives were used to test 705 myths. The team has also expressed reluctance to test conspiracy theory myths such as the JFK assassination or 9/11 conspiracies, although they have tested some of the conspiracy theories relating to the Apollo Moon landings.
By the end of each episode, each myth is rated "busted," "plausible," or "confirmed".
MythBusters places a strong emphasis on viewer safety due to the nature of the myths tested, often dealing with purported household scenarios. All episodes begin with Adam and Jamie giving a disclaimer against attempting the experiments seen on the series; most episodes also feature a second warning halfway through the running time. These disclaimers are not broadcast on Discovery UK, on SBS in Australia, in the Netherlands, or on the Prime and Sky Discovery Channels in New Zealand. Often they are presented with an element of humor, such as Adam wearing a padded suit as Jamie hits him in the chest with a baseball bat.
The series employs various degrees of safety or courtesy-related censorship. Vulgar language and the names of ingredients used in the production of hazardous materials are usually blocked, but not with the standard bleep. Instead, the show uses sound effects which are humorous or relevant to the myth. Other potentially offensive subject matters are referred to by euphemisms or by strictly scientific terms. In the "Peeing on the Third Rail" myth the show censored the name of the valve used to release urine from the dummy. Visible labels of chemicals used to produce dangerous materials are blurred and the names of those materials are never mentioned. For example, in the Hindenburg special Adam described how to make a flammable compound by "mixing blur with blur." The show makes it clear that even though they are professionals, in certain scenarios such as building a bomb they are required to seek special permission or assistance from the government and are sometimes prohibited from engaging in certain activities. They usually do not show how to assemble explosives nor do they reveal all the ingredients needed to make them.
Many brand names of items used in the show or worn by cast members are also edited out, usually by blurring or covering up the branding with a MythBusters sticker. When a brand name is an inherent part of the myth such as in the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment the name is shown.
During January 2005, children's author and adventurer Andrew Knight (aka "Bowvayne") commenced legal proceedings in Australia against Beyond Productions, the producer of MythBusters, alleging passing off in relation to the use of the name "Mythbusters". Knight asserted that he had previously organized a team of "Mythbusters" and had used the name continuously since 1988 in relation to pursuing myths, ghosts, monsters, goblins, and other such mysteries in an offbeat manner all around the world. Knight authored a series of self-published children's books under the banner "Mythbusters" in 1991, 1993, and 1996. In February 2007, the Federal Court of Australia dismissed Knight's claims against Beyond Productions.
Hyneman and Savage have appeared on numerous entertainment programs, such as Good Morning America, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, NPR's news program All Things Considered, the syndicated radio Bob and Tom Show, Countdown With Keith Olbermann, and in the movie The Darwin Awards (as two military surplus vendors who sold a JATO rocket to the main character). Skeptic magazine's Daniel Loxton interviewed the duo in an article entitled "Mythbusters Exposed." Hyneman and Savage spoke at the annual convention of the National Science Teachers Association in March 2006, and the California Science Teachers Association named them honorary lifetime members in October 2006. They also are occasionally interviewed for articles by Popular Mechanics and are featured in that magazine's September 2009 issue.
Hyneman and Savage occasionally appear at colleges around the United States to talk about what it's like to be a MythBuster; the show consists of an interview and discussion to give the audience the opportunity to ask the MythBusters questions. The Build Team members have sometimes made appearances in similar capacity. They hold lectures in both collegiate and corporate settings, though the technical colleges tend to be the most enthusiastic. They have spoken at WPI, RPI, MIT, Georgia Tech, Michigan Tech and many others.
Kari Byron was interviewed on The Late Show, on January 16, 2006.
People involved in survival stories reported in local newscasts have sometimes mentioned previous viewings of MythBusters as an influence to their actions. Twenty-three year old Theresa Booth of St. Martin, Minnesota credits a MythBusters episode for her and her infant child's survival. On April 3, 2007 she skidded off the road into a drainage ditch which had filled with flood water from the Sauk River. In a local newscast, she is described as opening the car door as soon as it entered the water, and credits her watching of the show (specifically, the episode of the Underwater Car myth) for her knowledge of how to survive the accident. On October 19, 2007 in Sydney, Australia, a teenager named Julian Shaw pulled a fainted middle-aged man off the railway tracks near a train station to safety below the platform. He pulled back as the train passed, citing that the "Train Suction" episode affected his response.
On the May 1, 2008 episode of CSI, "The Theory of Everything", Jamie and Adam appeared in a cameo as observers taking notes during a test to determine whether a taser bolt can set someone afire under various circumstances.
During August 2008, Hyneman and Savage appeared on the stage of NVISION 08, an event sponsored by Nvidia, having been asked by Nvidia's Creative Director, David Wright to provide a visual demonstration of the power of the GPU vs a CPU. They did this by creating an image of the Mona Lisa with a giant parallel processing paintball gun. An encore of the demonstration was given at YouTube Live featuring Hyneman standing in the path of the paintballs wearing a suit of armor.
MythBusters is broadcast in several countries, primarily by each country's edition of the Discovery Channel. In some countries, the English speech is either subtitled in the relevant language, or the narration voice-over is replaced, or the entire show (narration and hosts' voices) is dubbed. The United States customary units, used by the hosts throughout the show, are converted to metric in the process. Sometimes, the part where the myth is explained in sketches is completely redrawn in that language. Excerpts of the show were also shown as part of the Beyond Television-produced Beyond Tomorrow.
MythBusters is an American science television program on Discovery Channel starring Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, two special-effects experts who set out to test the validity of timeless myths and urban legends of popular culture.
|Exploding Toilet||Chicken Gun||Ming Dynasty Astronaut||Paper Crossbow||Hindenburg Mystery||James Bond Special 1|
|Cell Phone Destruction||Explosive Decompression||Brown Note||Shredded Plane||Underwater Car||Lead Balloon|
|Barrel of Bricks||Sinking Titanic||Salsa Escape||Archimedes Death Ray||Speed Cameras||Airplane on a Conveyor Belt|
|Penny Drop||Break Step Bridge||Exploding Port-a-Potty||Helium Football||Dog Myths||James Bond Special 2|
|Hammer Bridge Drop||Buried in Concrete||Is Yawning Contagious?||Franklin's Kite||Myths Redux||Viewer Special 2|
|Tree Cannon||Myths Revisited||Cooling a Six-Pack||Cell Phones on Planes||Voice Flame Extinguisher||MacGyver Special|
|Stinky Car, Raccoon Rocket||Scuba Diver, Car Capers||Son of a Gun||Bullets Fired Up||Birds in a Truck||Alaska Special|
|Escape From Alcatraz||Ancient Death Ray||Breaking Glass||Myths Reopened||Ninja Special||Shark Bites Extravaganza|
|Elevator of Death||Jet Pack||Mind Control||Western Myths||Exploding Steak|
|Beat the Radar Detector||Killer Brace Position||Exploding Pants||Big Rig Myths||NASA Moon Landing|
|Killer Quicksand||Bulletproof Water||Crimes and Myth-demeanors 1||Grenades and Guts||Viral Hour|
|Exploding Jawbreaker||Border Slingshot||Steam Cannon||Snow Special||Phonebook Friction|
|Pingpong Rescue||Killer Tissue Box||Killer Whirlpool||Baseball Myths||Water Stun Gun|
|Boom-Lift Catapult||Escape Slide Parachute||Diet Coke and Mentos||Viewers' Pick Special||Blind Driving|
|Exploding House||MythBusters Revisited||Shattering Subwoofer||Red Flag to a Bull||Return of the Ninja|
|Chinese Invasion Alarm||Crimes and Myth-demeanors 2||Superhero Special||Alcohol Myths|
|Confederate Rocket||Earthquake Machine||Myth Evolution||Motorcycle Flip|
|Vodka Myths||Deadly Straw||Trail Blazers||Coffin Punch|
|Steel Toe-Cap Amputation||Killer Cable Snaps||Exploding Water Heater||End With a Bang|
|Seasickness—Kill or Cure||Air Cylinder Rocket||Supersized Myths||Viewer Sequel Threequel|
|More Myths Revisited||Shooting Fish In A Barrel|
|Exploding Lighter||Pirates 2|
|Concrete Glider||Confederate Steam Gun|
|Firearms Folklore||Airplane Hour|
|22,000 Foot Fall|
[While wearing comically large pontoons on his feet with an array of diving gear.]
Adam: Blue Pointer 2. Makes me wonder what happened to the Blue Pointer 1.
Tory: [in the water with a bird next to him] Hey buddy. You better not attract any sharks, you little [censored].
. [after Jamie has fired hundreds of rounds at the bass with an M134 minigun]
|Created by||Peter Rees|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||171|
|Running time||43 min.|
|Original channel||Discovery Channel|
|Original airing||Janurary 23, 2003|
|[Official website Official website]|
MythBusters is an American scientific television show, which began on January 23, 2003. The hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman along with Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara attempt to test whether certain myths are true or false, referred to on the show as confirmed or busted, respectively. The show has had a total of 133 episodes as of April 15, 2009.