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Daniel Thomas (pilot)
Bob Brozman (pilot)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
NO. OF SEASONS
NO. OF EPISODES
231 (including special episodes)
, , U.S.
FIRST SHOWN IN
January 23, 2003 - present
MYTHBUSTERS is a science entertainmentcreated and produced by Australia's for the . The series is transmitted by numerous international broadcasters, including (New episodes, repeat episodes show on ), and other Discovery channels worldwide. The show's hosts,expertsand , use elements of the toof rumors, myths, movie scenes, , Internet videos, and news stories. The show is one of the oldest--and the most popular--on currently in production, being preceded only by in the US and in Canada.Filming is based in , though some elements of production are done in. Planning and some experimentation take place at Hyneman's workshops in San Francisco; experiments requiring more space or special accommodations are filmed on location, typically around theand otherplaces, going elsewhere when required, such as Florida for experiments, or Africa for shark and elephant myths.During the second season, members of Savage's and Hyneman's team ("The Build Team") were organized into a second team and now generally test myths separately from the main duo and operate from another workshop.MythBusters refers both to the name of the documentary and also thewho test the experiments.
The series concept was created for the Discovery Channel as TALL TALES OR TRUE by Australian writer and producerof Beyond Productions in 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 a three-episode series. Jamie Hyneman was one of a number of special effects artists who were asked to prepare a casting video for network consideration. Rees had interviewed him previously for a segment of the popular science series about the British/Americantelevision series . Adam Savage, who had worked with Hyneman in commercials and on the television series , 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 onin 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 ).
See also: Savage and Hyneman are the original MythBusters, and initially explored all the myths of the series using their combined experience with . The two work at Hyneman's effects workshop, ; they make use of his staff, who often work off-screen, with Hyneman and Savage usually shown doing most of the work at the shop. The show is narrated by , though in some regions his voice is replaced by a local narrator.As the series progressed, members of Hyneman's staff were introduced and began to appear regularly in episodes. Three such members, artist , builderand metal-worker , were organized as a second team of MythBusters during the second season, dubbed the "Build Team". After Chapman left the show during the third season, , a colleague of Hyneman, was hired to provide the team with hisandexperience. Byron went on maternity leave in mid-2009, with her position on the Build Team temporarily filled by , best known for co-hosting. Byron returned in the second episode of season eight. 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, although the two teams still work together.The series had two interns, dubbed "Mythterns": Discovery Channel contest winnerand. During the first season, the program featured segments with, 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. The MythBusters still commonly consult with experts for myths or topics for which they need assistance. These topics include , for which they mostly consult Lt. Al Normandy of the South San Francisco Police Department, and, for which they consult retired FBI explosives expert Frank Doyle and Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. The MythBusters often ask other people, such as those supplying the equipment being tested, what they know about the myth under investigation.
Main article: There is no consistent system for organizing MythBusters episodes into . The program does not follow a typical calendar of on and off air periods. The official MythBusters website lists episodes by year. On the other hand, Discovery sells DVD sets for "seasons", which sometimes follow the calendar year and sometimes do not. In addition, Discovery and retail stores also sell "collections" which divide up the episodes in a different way--each collection has about 10 or 12 episodes from various seasons.The following table is organized according to year of first broadcast.
(includes specials)SEASON PREMIERE
January 23, 2003
March 7, 2003
September 23, 2003
December 12, 2003
January 11, 2004
December 22, 2004
February 2, 2005
November 16, 2005
January 11, 2006
December 23, 2006
January 10, 2007
December 12, 2007
January 16, 2008
November 19, 2008
April 8, 2009
December 28, 2009
January 4, 2010
December 22, 2010
April 6, 2011
November 30, 2011
March 25, 2012
November 25, 2012
May 1, 2013
March 24, 2004
October 27, 2010
Each MythBusters episode focuses typically on two or more , Internet rumors, or other . 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 fourhave been double-length. Several episodes (including the 2006 Holiday Special) have included the building of . Before a myth gets introduced by the hosts, a myth-related drawing is made on a blueprint. After the hosts introduce the myth, a comical video explaining the myth is usually shown.
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 , or finding a ).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 use their functional workshops to create whatever is needed, often including mechanical devices andto 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,andare 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. Ain 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 . Common filming locations around the Bay Area include(such as , , , , , , , , and abandoned at 's former ), and theSheriff'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 asfor electrical measurements, or various types ofto measure temperature. To gauge results that do not 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 (most notably one they named ) for observinginjury, andfor testing . They have since progressed to using pigwhen 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,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 smallerset than they actually have. During the , 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 .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.Occasionally the MythBusters will take the opportunity to test "mini myths" during the course of one of the episode's main myths, usually in the name of satisfying personal curiosity. These can be either be planned in advance in order to take advantage of the testing location--for instance, in the "Peeing on the third rail" myth Adam got permission to find out if placing coins on a train track was sufficient to derail a train (he found that the test locomotive was not affected at all)--or can simply take place on the spur of the moment, such as in the "Elevator of Death" episode, when Kari found a bowling ball in an abandoned hotel they were testing in, and decided to drop it on a tiled floor in order to see if any damage was caused (while dropping the ball didn't do anything, bowling it across the floor was found to be sufficient to smash tiles on the opposing wall).There are some myths the MythBusters refuse to test.concepts, such asor , are not addressed because they cannot be tested by , although one exception, , prompted Adam to comment, "No more 'oogie-boogie' myths, please" and state at a tour show inin 2012 that it was a mistake. The program generally avoids experiments harmful to live animals, though in one episode they bombardedand other laboratory insects with lethal doses ofand the cast addressed this, saying that the insects were specifically bred for experiments and would have likely died anyway. However animal carcasses, including those of pigs and chickens, are often used.The book MythBusters: The Explosive Truth Behind 30 of the Most Perplexing Urban Legends of All Time () 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, most notably myths pertaining to(RFID) vulnerability. Through nine seasons, a total of 2,391 experiments were performed and 12were used to test 769 myths. The team has also expressed reluctance to test conspiracy theory myths such as theor , althoughsome of the conspiracy theories relating to the .
OUTCOMES OF THE EXPERIMENTS
By the end of each episode, the myths are rated "busted", "plausible", or "confirmed."
Myths are rated as "Busted" when the myth's results cannot be replicated via either the described parameters, nor reasonably exaggerated ones. Often, when a myth is declared Busted, the team will attempt to see what would be required to replicate the result of the myth through scientific means, discarding the original parameters of the myth itself. This is commonly referred to in the series as "the MythBusters way", and often reveals that the circumstances required to accurately recreate a 'Busted' myth are physically impossible or highly unlikely to occur with the scientific facts presented, or the equipment used in the myth used to gain the results is neither available to the general public, nor capable of producing the results. For example, when trying to see if diamonds can be made with a microwave, and the myth is busted, the team will arrange with an expert to have diamonds created with a large quantity of explosives.Some of these myths are retested if the viewers are dissatisfied with the results, and are declared "Re-Busted" if the results of this second attempt results in the same conclusion as the original attempt. On rare occasions, re-tested myths result in a different conclusion than the first attempt, usually going from "Busted" the first time, to "Plausible" or even "Confirmed" on the re-test.
Plausible is given under a few circumstances:
* The myth's results can only be replicated by expanding some parameters of the myth by a realistic and reasonable margin. This may have been due to facts of the myth having been altered slightly over time by it being told and re-told by the time it was tested by the MythBusters. Also, certain materials may have had to be substituted for others in some cases as a matter of necessity during the course of the myth being tested, but the new materials are almost always very similar to the materials specified and usually are readily available, so as to prevent it from being prohibitively costly or impractical.
* If there is no documentation of the myth occurring, yet the MythBusters were still able to duplicate it very closely to how the myth was described (such as the myth that pirates wore , or an untrained pilot being talked through landing an airplane).
* If the myth's results are achieved using the method described, but the underlying reason is different from the one described in the myth (such as in the myth ofto make it explode and extinguish the fire).
* If it requires a highly improbable set of circumstances, yet is shown to be possible under similar yet artificial circumstances. For example, in the myth ofit was shown that two bullets can fuse together but would be exceedingly difficult to actually get two period guns with period ammunition to collide in the correct way to cause the result. The results can be created in a similar laboratory setting, but the chances of the myth actually happening as described are remote.
* If the results stated in the myth are attainable, but in such a way as to make the process either highly dangerous or less efficient than more common methods of achieving the same result. For example, in "", the MythBusters declared the myth "Plausible (but not recommended)", due to the danger in driving a car at high speeds on a wet road even though the myth was completely true.
* If a positive result is attained using surrogates for living creatures, but the procedure would result in injury or death if an actual creature was tested. For example, in "", two ballistics gel replicas of pet dogs were used to test the myth that a falling frozen turkey would crush a household pet; both replicas sustained serious injuries, as determined by a veterinarian, and the myth was dubbed "Plausible", as the Build Team was unwilling to test the myth on actual pets.
* Occasionally a myth will be labelled plausible if the described scenario produces a result similar to, but of less intensity than, the one described in the myth.
The term "True" was used instead of "Confirmed" in the first season.
* The MythBusters are able to recreate or closely recreate the myth's purported outcome with the described circumstances. A Confirmed myth is usually corroborated with documented evidence of actual occurrences.
* If the myth lacks any specific scenarios, the Mythbusters will test every reasonable scenario, and just one scenario is enough for them to confirm the myth. For example, when testing to see whether shooting fish in a barrel was in fact very easy, in most tests, they could not hit the fish with a bullet, but the energy transfer to the water by the bullet was lethal to the fish; therefore, the myth was confirmed.
* If there are no documented instances of the event occurring in real life, but the myth was taken from a specific scene or character in a specific movie, the myth will also be confirmed if they are able to replicate it with the same circumstances. For example, the Build Team gave a verdict of "confirmed" for a scene in where two skydivers--one without a parachute--jumped off the plane at different times, and yet, the second jumper was able to catch up to the first jumper. Even though there were no documented cases of this ever being attempted in real life, it was confirmed nonetheless, since it only came from a single scene in a specific movie. The same applied to the myth about thedriving his car at highway speeds into avia ramp, without any trouble; even though Adam and Jamie found no real-life occurrences of the stunt, it came from a specific TV show, and thus was confirmed.
* In rare circumstances, a myth is considered "confirmed" when the testing process is consciously stopped, but news reports or other documentation are available that confirm it has happened at least once; in testing the(in which a taxicab is flipped by the engine of a jet aircraft), both Adam and Jamie agreed that the myth couldn't be replicated accurately for insurance reasons, but news footage verified that such an event is possible. (In this case, three years later they were allowed toand confirm the myth using a Boeing 747.)
WARNINGS AND SELF-CENSORSHIP
MythBusters places a strong emphasis on viewer safety due to the nature of the myths tested which often involve purported household scenarios. In some countries, all episodes begin with 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 SBS in Australia, in the Netherlands, Discovery Mix in Sweden, 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, or Jamie explaining that he and Adam are professionals before Adam slides into view and crashes into a barrier while saying, "Don't try this at home!"The series employs various degrees of safety or courtesy-related censorship. Vulgar language and the names of ingredients used in the production ofare usually censored; in addition to the standard , the show often uses a relevant or humorous sound effect.and scientific terminology are used for potentially offensive terms. In the "Peeing on the Third Rail" myth, the show censored the valve used to release urine from the dummy. They usually do not show how to manufacture explosives, and the names of dangerous chemicals are often censored and their container labels obscured. For example, in the "" special, Adam ignitedwith amixture of "blur" (a syrupy liquid) and "blur" (a dark powder). The show makes it clear that although they are professionals, they must sometimes seek special government permission or assistance, as in experiments that involve the use of explosives. Occasionally, their insurance company prohibits certain activities entirely, if it is likely to cause bodily harm or property damage.Inthat focused on myths surrounding electronic security devices, there was a segment on defeatingusing various methods. One of these techniques involved creating a fake 3D fingerprint from a 2D image of the authorized print. After some trial and error, the team successfully cast a viablereproduction using a copper-coated , a picture of the fingerprint printed on , and aprocess. After the reproduction was shown to defeat both fingerprint scanners, and although the chemicals used during the etching process are never identified, the narrator still hints at an important step having been edited out and discourages viewers from trying it themselves. However, none of the other techniques that successfully defeated the fingerprint scanners or the other security devices tested in the episode were censored or obfuscated, perhaps because the rest were all fairly simple and straightforward methods, such as holding up a bedsheet or moving extremely slowly to hide fromor holding up a pane of glass to defeat .Brand names and logos are regularly blurred or covered with tape or a MythBusters sticker. However, brand names are shown when integral to a myth, such as in the .In a rare break from their safety warnings, Adam and Jamie stated on the air that this myth was perfectly safe for viewers to replicate on their own. Another example of this is the , which states, "It is impossible to separate two phone books interleaved page-to-page due to the massive amount of friction between the 800 pages of each book."
Due to the nature of the experiments performed on the show, many have not gone as expected. Sometimes these mishaps have rendered the test equipment unusable, such as when the rocket in the Rocket Car Revisit exploded on ignition. Others have even resulted in minor injuries to the personnel involved with the show, such as when Tory banged his knee falling off a fire tower; the fall was expected and prepared for using a safety harness, but him injuring his knee was not foreseen. These kinds of incidents are usually included in the broadcast program, with little other media attention, but sometimes things fail in more spectacular and news-worthy ways.
On March 20, 2009, the town ofwas shaken and windows were shattered by a blast created by 500 pounds of during filming of the myth "". Some residents were upset that the blast took place without "telling anyone". Chief Barry Burns, of Esparto Fire Department, had several firefighters on hand for the explosion. He said he made the decision not to notify anyone in town for safety's sake. "Mythbusters is supposed to be a really popular show. Everybody would have been out there. We would have had to cancel it because it would have been too dangerous." Representatives from the show replaced some of the windows that same day. The experiment did air, but the hosts recounted in a 2011 special episode ("") that they have never returned to the Esparto quarry as a result of the mishap.
On December 6, 2011, while conducting the "" experiment, the MythBusters crew accidentally sent a cannonball through the side of a house and into a minivan in aneighborhood. Although the experiment was being carried out at theunder the supervision of the , the errant projectile went over its intended target of water barrels and instead soared 700 yd (640 m) into a neighboring community, striking a house and leaving a 10 in (25 cm) hole, before striking the roof of another house and smashing through a window of a parked minivan. No one was hurt by the rogue cannonball.A producer of the show visited the house to apologize, followed by Savage and Hyneman; Savage later stated that production of the series would not be suspended because of the incident. MythBusters starsandreturned toon February 22, 2012 to participate in a moderated panel session at Dublin High School's Engineering and Design Academy Open House during National Engineers Week 2012, in part to help repair relations with the community. The sold-out event attracted an audience of over 1,000.During the airing of the experiment on November 11, 2012, the Build Team apologized for the accident and explained that they suspended testing after the accident in order to assess damage and start an investigation. The testing resumed several months later, at a rock quarry in a much more remote area.
In January 2005, children's author and adventurer(aka "Bowvayne") commenced legal proceedings in Australia against, the producer of MythBusters, allegingin 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, thedismissed Knight's claims against Beyond Productions. A parallel action, relying on the same three books and a collection of short television appearances was brought later that year in the Chancery Division of the High Court of England and Wales. Beyond Properties Pty Limited was again a defendant, as were two other Beyond companies and Discovery Communications Inc, the entity responsible for broadcasting the MythBusters programme in the UK. These claims were also dismissed.
POPULARITY AND INFLUENCE
Adam (left) and Jamie (right) as keynote speakers at Symantec Vision 08.Hyneman and Savage have appeared on numerous entertainment programs, such as , the , 's news program