Mythbusters, for those not in the know, is a show on Discovery Channel with two stars, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who are Hollywood special effects gurus based in San Francisco. They take their experience (over 30 years worth combined) and use it to test and prove or disprove popular myths. Originally, the series only focused on these two men, but the crew has grown and changed over the years and currently has a second team composed of Kari Byron, Salvatore Belleci, and Grant Imahara.
This year, for the Discovery Channel's ever popular Shark Week, Mythbusters is airing a special episode. In it, the Mythbusters team travels to the Bahamas to test whether sharks are affected by magnets, attracted to thrashing swimmers, swimming dogs and flashlights at night, repelled by spicy peppers, if hitting a shark in the eye will stop them from chewing on you, as well as working out how hard is it to even aim for an eye while in the jaws of a Great White Shark.
I know that this show is very popular on the Discovery Channel, but I have tried many times to get into it and have failed every time. The subject matter and science is something that appeals to me greatly so I have always been puzzled at why the show does not grip me. Watching this episode, I finally realized why. The dialogue, jokes, and interplay between the cast feels scripted and forced, like watching high school amateur theater. Most of the jokes and silly voices are unfunny and detract from the show. Too much time is spent with “filler” where one of the cast members repeats what they are doing or what they just did for the viewer in case the viewer fell asleep during the last few moments.
Having said that, I love the actual science that happens on the show and each member has a talent for what they do. They are all obviously excited by their jobs and the best parts of the show are when they are putting the myths to the test. While the show glosses over possible problems with some of the experiments, such as the validity of testing shark responses in an area where the sharks are conditioned to be attracted to boats due to the chumming that goes on, there is absolutely nothing wrong in the way they conduct the experiments themselves. They use a control and they test several times to see if they get the same results.
Final verdict: If you like the show, you will love this special episode. If you do not like the show but, like me, look forward to Shark Week every year, you will still like this episode. It premieres Sunday, July 27, 2008.