The Mythbusters are back with Collection 2, a set of their
best episodes from seasons 4 and the beginning of 5. While I'm still
disappointed that they are not releasing season sets (come on studio executives,
that's what consumers want!) this collection examines some great myths
including what really caused the Hindenburg to explode, why Mentos added
to a bottle of diet Coke causes it to erupt, and if a bullet fired straight
up in the air can kill someone when it lands.
Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are the Mythbusters, a pair of mechanically
inclined individuals who like to test all of those myths that everyone
has heard and many people believe. Things like the exploding toilet;
a woman dumps a jar of paint thinner into the toilet and when her husband
throws in a lit cigarette an hour later, he ends up with burns all over
his behind. Could it really happen though? Each week Jamie
and Adam take on a different myth and try to see if they can confirm or
'bust' them. If they can create an explosion somewhere along the
line, so much the better.
Mythbuster are joined in each show featured in this collection by the 'junior
team' consisting of Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara (who is
the only one of the group who seems to have any scientific knowledge or
training.) This second team also tackles a myth every episode and,
like their more senior brethren, aren't satisfied unless something burns
The entertainment comes largely from the interaction of the two hosts,
Jamie and Adam. They are like vinegar and water, and approach each
problem from totally different angles. Jamie is the thoughtful, careful
part of the team. He wants to plan out each experiment, see if they
can improve on it, and after all the angles have been examined then he
goes into the shop to create the machinery needed. Adam on
the other hand is much more impulsive. He's like that ADHD kid from
second grade who couldn't sit still. He wants to take the first idea
that springs into his head and run with it. He just flies by the
seat of his pants and sees what happens. Between the two of them,
they come up with some interesting and unique ways of testing myths.
While the first seasons covered many common myths, but the time the
show entered its fourth season (where a majority of these episodes originate)
they were examining some more obscure urban legends. While I hadn't
heard of many of the myths they were testing, the shows were just as enjoyable
as ever. One of the more interesting episodes involved testing some
movie myths about breaking into building and safes outfitted with the latest
electronic protection devices. The team had to break into a room
that was guarded by a fingerprint lock, a motion detector, and a thermal
sensor. The last one turned out to be the trickiest one to get past.
They tried a neoprene suit to keep a person's body temperature inside,
but the suit itself soon started to heat up and set off the alarm.
They also tried to change the temperature of the room, but incoming air
also set off the alarm. The motion detector was surprisingly easy
to get past, with a white sheet held in front of the 'intruder' effectively
masking their movements.
Earthquake Machine was another fun-filled episode. Nikolai Tesla
was an amazing man who not only invented the radio and came up with the
theoretical model for AC power, but also made some wild claims in the later
years of his life. One such claim was that he had created, accidentally,
and small machine that could cause a huge building to shake itself to pieces.
The concept that Tesla had harnessed was mechanical resonance and Jamie
and Adam decide to construct a machine identical to Tesla's see if they
can shake apart a huge bridge.
The only real problem I have is that the pair (and the announcer) often
describes what they are doing as "science." As far as scientific
experiments go, the stunts they pull off for the camera leave a lot to
be desired. Neither of the hosts have a background in science (nor
does anyone else associated with the show apparently), and the protocol
that they come up with often leaves something to be desired. They
should try to repeat their results, have controls, use larger sample sizes,
and set criteria for confirming or busting a myth before hand. This
is a minor gripe, but every time Adam talked about doing science I cringed
(especially after seeing Adam sticking his face up to a working vacuum
cleaner motor and lacerated his lip in the first collection).
said that, the show has evolved over the seasons. The show in this
set have more scientific rigor (though not a lot) than the first seasons
shows. One good example of this is the Diet Coke and Mentos show.
Jamie and Adam attempt to discover why Mentos and diet soda produces explosive
results. They approach the problem in a systematic way, first testing
the candy with plain soda water, and then testing it with many of the ingredients
found in Diet Coke which were added to the 'raw' soda water. Even
so, they could have been much more quantitative. Adam would just
eyeball how high the spout of soda squirted during these tests rather than
make any measurements of how much gas was released. Still, this show
is about entertainment, not science. I can appreciate that, I just
wish they wouldn't claim that it's something that it isn't.
Like the first "collection" of Mythbusters episodes, the main gripe
I have with this DVD set is the way it is arranged. First off, this
isn't a season set. Why not? Haven't consumers voted overwhelmingly
with their wallets that they want entire seasons of shows that they like???
This set isn't even in chronological order, it skipping around for no reason.
At least there are no "best of" specials in this set. Inexplicably
there were two in the first collection.
This set contains the following episodes:
Season 4 Episode 4: Helium Football: Will a Helium filled football
fly father than one filled with air? Can a magician really catch
a bullet in his teeth?
Season 4 Episode 7: Bullets Fired Up: Can a bullet that is fired
straight up return to Earth and kill someone? If you filter cheap
vodka with a consumer-grade water filter, will it taste the same at top-shelf
Season 4 Episode 13: Whirlpools: Can a whirlpool really suck a
ship down into the briny deep? What about a snowplow cleaning the
highway? Could it blow a car off the road?
Season 4 Episode 16: Crimes and Myth-demeanors 2: How can you
defeat modern alarm systems? The Mythbusters try to bypass motion
sensors, fingerprint locks, and heat sensor. Then they try to break
into a glass relocking safe by filling it with water.
Season 4 Episode 18: Deadly Straw: Is a hurricane powerful enough
to blow a straw all the way through a palm tree? Then the Junior
Busters test the myth that plants are psychic.
Season 4 Episode 17: Earthquake Machine: Did Nikolai Tesla really
invent a small machine that could take down a large building? The
mythbusters build one and attach it to a bridge. Meanwhile, the second
team tries to reproduce a lethal lava lamp disaster.
Season 4 Episode 14: Diet Coke and Mentos: So, why does a Mentos
candy cause Diet Coke to erupt the way it does? Watch this episode
and find out.
Season 4 Episode 25: Anti-Gravity Device: Is there really such
a thing as an anti-gravity device? They busters buy several kits
from internet web sights and get some surprising results. Also, can
leaving your Christmas tree plugged in overnight start a fire?
Season 4 Episode 24: Firearms Folklore: Is it really possible
for one sniper to kill an enemy by shooting a bullet through his rival's
scope? Can two bullets really hit the air and fuse together?
per could kill another by shooting straight down the enemy gun scope.
Special 10: Holiday Special: Can a dropped turkey really break
someone's foot? Then the busters try to discover the best way to
keep a Christmas tree fresh over the holidays.
Special 11: Pirate Special: Which caused more deaths during naval
battles, the cannon balls or the shrapnel from the wood splinters.
What did pirates use to keep their cloths nice and clean? Were they
washed in grog? And finally why did they wear eye patches?
Season 5 Episode 1: Hindenburg Mystery: What caused the Hindenburg
to burn so quickly? Was it the Hydrogen gas that filled it, or the
paint that was used? Then the junior team tries to get an alligator
to chase them.
Season 5 Episode 2: Underwater Car: If your car runs into
a lake, do you really have to wait for water to fill the cabin before you
can open the door? Then the second team sees if you can fold
a piece of paper in half more than 7 times.
Note: I received test discs to review. These did not come
in a retail case and do not necessarily represent the final product.
The stereo soundtrack is fine but not outstanding. The show isn't
recorded under optimal conditions, it's more like a documentary than a
movie, and sometimes a comment or two is hard to hear. The explosions
and crashes don't have the punch that I was hoping they would either, but
that's not too surprising given the origins of the show. There are
The 1.78:1 image is enhanced for widescreen displays and looks good.
As was mentioned in the audio section, this show isn't recorded on a set
but in a workshop and the lighting and filming conditions aren't always
optimal. Even so, the program looks good. There are some digital
defects, a bit of aliasing and some minor blocking, but nothing too great.
The image quality is very acceptable for a show of this type.
Unfortunately there aren't any extras included with this disc.
This is a really fun show, and if it gets people thinking about some
things they've always taken as fact, so much the better. This
set is better than the first one, mainly since there aren't any clip shows
included, but it's a shame that the Discovery Channel didn't release this
program in season sets. Even so, this collection is recommended.