Break out your berets and black T-shirts: Summer break’s over for Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage and the rest of the MythBusters.
According to The Discovery Channel, by the time the show’s 2010 run comes to an end in December, MythBusters will have tested 756 myths, conducted 2,349 experiments, set off 746 explosions and destroyed 128 vehicles. (Seriously: How awesome would it be to be able to put those numbers on your résumé?)
This fall’s set opens this Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with”Hair of the Dog,” a sort-of-sequel to part of the 2007 episode “Dog Myths,” which tested methods of evading a bloodhound and getting past a guard dog. This time around, Adam and Jamie test even more drastic measures to throw the tracking canine off the scent. The supporting cast trio of Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci and newly-minted GeekMom contributor Kari Byron spend their part of the hour attempting to hide stuff from trained contraband-detecting dogs.
Considering there’s little of what I call the “Erector Set” factor — you know, where the MythBusters have to design and build some complex contraption in order to conduct their experiments — and not a single explosion, this was an awfully entertaining episode with more than a few head-shaking moments of wonder.
Discovery goes for a little cross-promotion with the Oct. 13 episode, “Storm Chasing Myths,” in which Storm Chasers Reed Timmer and Sean Casey bring their modified tornado-pursuit cars in for some high-wind testing behind the jet engines of a 747. Then they challenge Jamie and Adam to develop nothing less than a portable tornado-proof shelter.
Though I was wary at first of the crossover angle, I really liked this one, what with seeing all the modifications to the vehicles and then watching the MythBusters’ own workshop ingenuity put to the test.
The Oct. 20 episode is one of those which draws its inspiration not directly from a “myth,” but from the well-established sayings “cold feet” and “When the poop hits the fan.” (OK, nobody ever uses “poop” in that particular phrase. You know what they mean.) So, here’s the warning on this episode: While Jamie and Adam mix up a blue batch of ersatz poo for the testing purposes, in order to do so, they must first gauge a few properties — density and stickiness, for instance — of the actual stuff, and it’s not pretty. If you have an easily-turned stomach, you might want to close your eyes for a minute or so during this phase of the show.
While Jamie and Adam are flinging their All-New True Blue Poo Goo™ around, Kari, Grant and Tory take turns facing their greatest fears in order to see if “cold feet” has any basis in reality. This means we’re in for a harrowing stunt plane ride, a close-up encounter with a couple dozen tarantulas, and an “eat-this-disgusting-thing” challenge.
Honestly, while throwing something splattable at a rapidly-spinning object has almost always been entertaining to me, I thought the supporting cast stole the show in this one, if only because of their willingness to get genuinely, heart-racingly freaked out in the name of science — it’s really hard not to get a little tensed up on their behalf and feel relief when their moments of terror are finally over.
These first three episodes of the season all have a distinct feel and approach that holds promise for more fun to come. Other questions to be tackled over the next few months include whether 007 is for real when he peels off his dive suit to reveal a perfectly pressed tuxedo (I’ll confess a weakness for the movie-themed MythBusters experiments) and whether your laptop could save you from a speeding bullet.
Mythbusters airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
Disclosure: The Discovery Channel provided these three episodes on DVD for review purposes.