The Mythbusters: They really like blowing stuff up.Mythbusters (SBS2, 7pm) is a fantastic show, of that there can be no argument.
They blow stuff up. They fire all kinds of awesome guns. They attach rockets to cars. They build ridiculous contraptions to see whether ancient Greeks set fire to enemy ships with the sun, or whether anyone could’ve escaped from Alcatraz.
They test out urban legends, old wives’ tales and situations from TV, anything from how to trick a speed camera to whether eating turkey puts you to sleep, and see what’s plausible and what’s not.
And if the myth doesn’t work out … they’re probably going to blow stuff up anyway. They really like blowing stuff up, and that’s why we love them – they’re just like us.
The mythbusters are Adam Savage, a giggly, over-excitable man-child whose razor-sharp mind, keen sense of curiosity and wonder, and scientific expertise are well masked behind a big grin and an obsession with making things go boom; and Jamie Hyneman, who always looks to me a bit like Adam in a 19th-century sergeant-major’s costume, speaks in a deep, rumbling monotone, and gives off an air of feeling slightly exasperated by his partner’s ADHD-inspired approach to science. But you know that deep down he loves the explosions as much as anyone.
Mythbusters plays on the idea that ”science can be fun” by showing us something that is, without question, loads of fun, and is also, if looked at in dim light and not examined too closely, a bit like science.
You won’t find anyone at the CSIRO pulling this stuff, but amid the mayhem and the yeeha-ing, there’s actually quite a lot to be learnt. You could do a lot worse than park your children in front of it.
Friday’s episode is the Mythbusters Deadliest Catch special, and has Jamie and Adam hitting the high seas with the captains from that show to see whether it’s true that a fisherman caught in a coiled rope attached to a crab pot can be pulled to the bottom of the ocean.
It’s a job for Buster, the hapless Mythbusters mannequin, who has been subjected to more abuse, indignity and explosives than all the A-Team’s enemies put together. Meanwhile the interns test the efficacy of power naps, while failing to make their scripted banter sound natural.
A different kind of myth-busting is going on in Wake In Fright (ABC2, 9.33pm), the landmark film that turned the outback into a nightmare.
Directed by Canadian Ted Kotcheff and starring Gary Bond, Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty and Jack Thompson in his first film role, the movie tells the tale of a teacher whose overnight stay in a mining town turns into five nights of drunken debauchery and exposure to the savage, violent dark heart of the bush.
Drinking, fighting and late-night roo shooting – it’s all the more disturbing for being so close to home.