“When will the fun ever stop?” This, and variations like it, was one of Adam Savage’s oft repeated phrases over the fourteen-year run of Mythbusters. Sadly, we now have an answer to the question, at least in terms of that particular show: March 2016. The last new episode has aired, and all us science and gadgetry geeks have to move on.
Though perhaps not entirely. Jamie Hyneman will continue with his special effects company, M-5, and will be continuing projects behind the camera. Savage has expressed his interest in doing more television, including being on-screen, and his presence on social media means fans can still get their fix. And, of course, there are the reruns.
One mantra of the show was “don’t try this at home.” And as a gun owner, I found many of the episodes to be something I wouldn’t want to try myself—watching firearms be destroyed again and again was instructive but cringe-worthy, and many experiments required safety equipment I can’t just pick up at the local hardware store or gun shop.
But as a gun owner, as someone who carries guns, shoots guns, cleans guns, watches Hollywood embarrass itself with guns, and studies gun lore, getting to see legends, quirky news accounts, and speculations tested out was a pleasure. I’ve known the physics of firing a gun in a vacuum for a long time, but the Mythbusters built a plexiglass chamber, pulled the air from it, and fired a gun inside it. Not putting your fingers in front of the cylinder of a revolver makes sense, but Savage and Hyneman made simulated hands to show exactly what would happen—genuinely severed fingers. And for the kid inside us all who wondered if maybe, just maybe bullets could be made to curve, as seen in Wanted, the build team—Kari Byron, Grant Imahara, and Tory Belleci—offer an answer. The list goes on and on—what’s bulletproof, what will stop zombies, what fires a gun will and won’t start….
Yes, I’m a fan. But while “don’t try this at home” was the Legalese to prevent lawsuits, the bigger message of the show is that things aren’t to be believed just because they’re told in hushed tones or with citations of the friend of your second-cousin’s uncle. “Don’t take anything for granted” really is the motto of Mythbusters.
And in this way, along with so many other ways, the show is an illustration of exactly what is best in the potential of television. Week after week, we were invited not to watch artificial conflicts packaged as reality, but to see things tested with no foregone conclusion. In an age in which food comes wrapped in plastic for most of us, when ideas come canned with their ingredients not always labeled on the tin, and candidates are characters in a telenovela rather than advocates for platforms, Mythbusters has been a welcome reminder to think for ourselves and to insist on proof.
So thanks to the producers, support staff, researchers, and stars of the show. It was a good run, and the spirit of inquiry lives on.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of Guns.com.