MythBusters by Beyond Televison Productions

MythBusters, TV Program. Produced by Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. Hosted by Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage.  2003 – present.

Content: Urban legends, rumors, and myths are put to the test by the “myth busters,” lead by hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, with help from co-hosts Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara.  The myth busters are a multi-talented group with expertise in engineering, technology, geometry, science, firearms, explosives, physics, robotics, and more.  Each show features two to three myths that are brought to life, in the safest possible way, and tested for veracity.  Myths can either be confirmed, busted, or plausible, if they are not confirmed or busted with certainty.  The hosts are witty, intelligent, creative and hilarious (word provided by my tween son).  The process of testing myths is often tricky, as some of them are difficult to duplicate accurately.  The shows are often messy, sometimes dangerous, and occasionally gross (see MythBusters Double Dipping episode).   The hosts create elaborate props and settings with which to test the myths; they often provide controls for their experiments, and they try to think through what possible problems could arise to make the test inaccurate.  Some tests are more accurate than others, but the show is entertaining and enlightening every time.

Review: There is science to be learned in MythBusters and, even more, each show is a lively demonstration of problem solving skills.  There is a myth, and the hosts have to figure out how it is going to be tested.  The beginning of each shows gives the viewer some insight into the process the team used to figure out how to test the myth.  Then viewers watch the preparation for and finally the demonstration of the myth, this can include multiple iterations, if something in the original demonstration goes wrong.  In any given episode, viewers can learn about science, engineering, and physics, as well as learn creativity, reasoning and thinking skills.  Sometimes I find the test methodology to be flawed thus the results may not accurately measure the myth being tested, but there is always a valiant effort to do a high quality job.  This show is a great choice for tweens, as it is entertaining enough to draw them in and keep them attentive, meanwhile, there are many lessons to be learned, including the oft heard, “Do NOT try this at home.”

Bonus for Bay Area Tweens: this show takes place in and around San Francisco, so scenes of the area are often in the background.

Genre(s): Non-fiction, Science

Viewing/Interest Level: 8+ years

Available in: Cable TV Discovery Channel, DVD

Similar Programs: Dirty Jobs

Subjects: urban legends, myths, science, engineering, physics

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