Fan favorite axed: Mythbusters

Published: October 22, 2015

Fan favorite axed: Mythbusters, Mythbusters is ending, and I am sad. Everyone has a safety-net show. A show guaranteed to be broadcast on one channel or another at any time of day; a show that exists to stop you from sliding so far down your EPG that you end up in a murky morass of shopping and porn channels and endless identical Nigerian soap operas. My wife’s safety-net show is Come Dine With Me. Mine has always been Mythbusters. If nothing else is on, I’ll end up watching Mythbusters.

It doesn’t matter how bad the schedules are, or even which country I’m in, I’ve always been able to find Mythbusters. Somewhere, I’ll be able to watch two middle-aged men with cartoonishly opposing personalities attempt to blow something up, but not actually blowing it up until 90 seconds before the end of the episode. That’s a comfort.

Yet next year’s series will be the last. Entertainment Weekly has calculated that during the show’s 14 years, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and their cohorts will have staged 2,950 experiments over the course of 248 episodes. That’s a lot of science, and it might go some way to explaining Hyneman’s relief about not having to do it any longer (“This has been a very rewarding and interesting decade, but it’s not really what I’m cut out for,” he told EW).

But still, it’s sad news. True, the viewers haven’t been the ones grafting away on the show, endlessly trying to jazz-up the crushing repetition of exploding a pig carcass in new and interesting ways every week for almost a decade and a half. But they have been abnormally active in getting the show made.

I’m just a casual Mythbusters fan – I don’t sit down to watch new episodes, even though I reckon I’ve probably seen almost every episode more than once – but the hardcore fans have redefined television fanaticism. They hoover up this show. They are the ones who suggest experiments, quibble over the results, and hold the hosts’ feet to the fire time and time again. Mythbusters is a series forged in the fires of its own online community. It was one of the first shows to harness the power of the internet in this way, and you can feel its influence everywhere.

In a sense, it probably doesn’t matter that no new episodes of Mythbusters will be made. After all, its 248 episodes will remain a perennial television fixture, and I’m not likely to stop watching them when I find them. They are timeless, in a way – two men with negligible wardrobe skills, occasionally accompanied by their eager-beaver friends, trying to waterski behind a cruise ship, or climb down a wall on a rope made of human hair, or destroy an endless number of cars with an endless variety of objects.

But this still feels like the end of something. Yes, you can bet that Mythbusters will go out on a high – even if that means topping the breathtakingly giddy episode where they explored the veracity of the Breaking Bad finale – but you have to wonder if there’s a show big enough to fill the gap. What are people going to watch on the Discovery Channel now? Truffle Wars? More importantly, what’s going to be my new safety-net show? God, it had better not be Come Dine With Me.


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