The science behind success of 'Mythbusters'

When you get a spare minute (or say, 30) during your day and make the decision to turn on the TV to help you unwind, what do you turn to? Something funny, such as “The Office”? Something more dramatic, such as “Criminal Minds”? Maybe you’re a reality show junkie and have your DVR set to record shows such as “Dancing With the Stars” or “The Biggest Loser.”

But how about something more … intellectual?

“Mythbusters” just began its ninth season on Discovery and is the best thing to come to smart TV since “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” For those not familiar with this scien-teriffic show, here’s a brief rundown: two special effects gurus (Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage) and three model-building/special effects-creating/robot-building nerds (I use that word with all the high esteem it deserves) team up to debunk myths ranging from the historical (how did prisoners really escape from Alcatraz?) to the hilarious (is it possible to build a sailboat out of duct tape?).

Typically and unfortunately, science has been smacked with the reputation of being a subject only geeks are interested in. “Mythbusters” has set out to successfully, well, bust that myth.

Drawing more than 1.6 million viewers with its new episodes, “Mythbusters” is growing ever popular with typical middle America.

“It’s not like you’re going to get a Ph.D. by watching us, but if you’re sitting on a couch with a beer, you might as well learn something,” says co-host Hyneman.

Not only is your brain going to be boggled by theories such as whether or not man really walked on the moon, but there is plenty of entertainment in the huge high-powered explosions that they replay in stunning slow motion, or simply listening to the quirky and quick Savage belt out an operatic tune, or good-naturedly diss his fellow co-host. This show marries the interesting with the entertaining, all while getting your inner geek on. What’s not to love?

“I don’t see why TV can’t be loaded with more intelligent stuff,” says Hyneman. “Why fill this most powerful medium with only mindless things? We can do better than that.”

Are you a fan of “Mythbusters”? Do you think there should be more TV shows that promote imagination, learning and discovery?

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