Whether you are interested in science and scientific experiments or not, you must have heard of if not watched the “MythBusters” series. Arguably one of the most successful projects to air on Discovery Channel, “MythBusters,” is the American-Australian science entertainment program that introduced millions of people worldwide to science flubs. The series follows two special effects experts and hosts, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who test the validity of various theories and myths using scientific methods and experiments. Developed by Peter Rees, the series premiered in January 2003 and ran for 17 seasons, concluding in 2016.
- 1 How did “MythBusters” come to life?
- 2 Who is Adam Savage?
- 3 Who is Jamie Hyneman?
- 4 Who were the other cast members?
- 5 Why was “MythBusters” cancelled?
- 6 “MythBusters” rebooted in 2017
- 7 Another Spin-off
- 8 Did Adam and Jamie hate each other?
- 9 Which members of the “MythBusters” died?
- 10 Why were Tori, Grant and Kari fired from “MythBusters”?
- 11 Adam Savage accused of sexual abuse
- 12 Cannonball Accident
How did “MythBusters” come to life?
In 2002, the Australian writer and producer Peter Rees developed the show’s concept for the Discovery Chanel under the name “Tall Tales or True” – it was initially rejected because Discovery had already produced a similar series at the time.
However, Peter was confident in his idea and adamant about pursuing it, so he refined the pitch to focus on experimental aspects and practical use, rather than just retelling and describing them. After improving the show’s concept, Discovery agreed to co-produce a three-episode series pilot.
Discovery asked Jamie Hyneman to prepare a video for network consideration regarding the selection of special effects experts and hosts. Additionally, Peter interviewed Jamie for a segment of the science series “Beyond 2000”, about the robot combat series “Robot Wars.”
Jamie then asked Adam Savage, who had previously collaborated on several projects, to co-host the show, because Jamie thought it would be more enjoyable with two hosts than just one.
Who is Adam Savage?
Besides being a special effects expert, Adam is also an actor, educator, and producer, who subsequently gained worldwide fame for hosting “MythBusters”.
Adam was born into a family with a background in entertainment- his father, Whitney Lee Savage, was a painter, filmmaker and animator, perhaps best recognized for his work on “Sesame Street”, the educational children’s series, and the short film “Mickey Mouse in Vietnam .”
Before landing the part in the “MythBusters,” Adam engaged in several projects as an animator, graphic designer, and model marker on movies such as “The Mummy,” “Matrix: Reloaded,” and “Space Cowboy.”
Interestingly, a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts, Adam had taught advanced model making at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Regarding his acting roles, he made a cameo appearance in an episode of the procedural forensics crime series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” alongside his friend Jamie, and in the short movie “Night of the Little Dead.”
Besides “MythBusters,” Adam and Jamie Hyneman hosted another science and engineering show entitled “Unchained Reaction.” In 2011 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Twente located in Enschede, Netherlands, for popularizing science.
Who is Jamie Hyneman?
James Franklin Hyneman is a well-respected special effects expert, actor, inventor, and owner of M5 Industries, a special effects company known as the laboratory for “MythBusters” experiments. Hailing from Marshall, Michigan, Jamie also gained popularity among “Robot Wars” fans for his robot Blendo, deemed too dangerous to enter the competition. In addition, he invented Sentry, a fighting robotic vehicle.
Prior to his job on “MythBusters,” he worked on the second and third installments of the “Matrix” trilogy, and on the sci-fi drama film “Naked Lunch” as an animatronics technician, and this is how he met Adam. Talking of his acting roles, he mostly appeared alongside Adam in the series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”, and the movie “The Darwin Awards.” They both also lent their voices to characters in “The Simpsons” and “Phineas and Ferb.”
Similar to his friend, Jamie taught at a university- the LUT University in Lappeenranta, Finland. However, unlike his friend, Jamie holds a degree in Russian linguistics. In addition, he’s received three honorary degrees, from Villanova University, the University of Twente, and the Lappeenranta University of Technology, for popularizing science and technology.
Who were the other cast members?
In addition to stellar hosts, the show also featured a number of other members who alternated between the roles of a host and a builder. These include the TV personality Kari Byron, the model maker Tory Belleci, electrical engineer and roboticist Grant Imahara, and professional racer and metal fabricator Jessie Combs.
Why was “MythBusters” cancelled?
After a 17-seasons-run, many fans were disappointed as they learned that one of the beloved science shows had been canceled.
It sparked controversy and debate, given that many viewers wanted to get to the bottom of the issue. There are two theories, however, during a Silicon Valley Comic Con in 2017, a fan asked Adam to share some light on the show’s cancellation, and this is what Adam replied:
‘Everything in the world has its bell curve. The show ran for so long that I managed to renegotiate my contract three times – the last time was in 2010 and it was a five-year contract. At the time, our ratings were at their absolute peak and over the next five years they started their slide.’
He then explained that regardless of the decrease in ratings, the show still had relatively good ratings, but as the end of the contract was approaching, it raised several questions, such as whether they would continue filming the series. However, Discovery channel couldn’t offer them better pay due to the difference in the viewership rates.
Adam and Jamie couldn’t settle for less than usual, which combined with production costs, meant that the Discovery would be losing money.
Adam revealed: ‘It seemed like a proper place to put it to bed. It felt like all of these things were meeting at the right moments. The best part about all of that is that Discovery agreed to let us call it a final season and to say goodbye to the fans. That doesn’t happen on scripted reality.’
He added that the show had been running for 14 years and that he and Jamie were actualy tired anyway.
The decision to cancel the show was taken in 2015, but Adam and Jamie were given a last season to conclude the series, and farewell their fans.
“MythBusters” rebooted in 2017
“MythBusters” did see a brief revival in 2017, after the sister network Science Channel rebooted the series under the name “MythBusters: The Search”, with new hosts industrial designer Jon Lung, and the American pilot and rescue diver Brian Louden; it didn’t feature any members of the original show.
However, it wasn’t as successful as hoped and was cancelled after two seasons.
In 2019, another reboot of the series premiered entitled “MythBusters Jr.”, with a different cast. It follows the same format of testing the myth through scientific methods, and so determining whether it’s true or false. The show’s host is Adam Savage, with six children, knowledgeable in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Consisting of 10 episodes, it premiered in January and concluded in February of the same year; it remains unclear whether the show will be renewed for another season. However, considering it is 2022, many believe that the ship has already sailed.
Did Adam and Jamie hate each other?
Another popular theory when reasoning the cancellation of “MythBusters” is that the two hosts were not that fond of each other, and had no relationship beyond the show.
Talking to a media outlet, Jamie said: ‘We like to point that out we’ve known each other for 25 years and never once sat down to have dinner alone together. We sort of managed to tolerate each other. I think it’s probably safe to say that continuing our onscreen relationship in front of the camera is probably not happening.’
Adam has also been very vocal about their relationship, saying: ‘We get on each other’s nerves and everything all the time, but whenever that happens, we say so and we deal with it and move on. There are times that we really dislike dealing with each other, but we make it work.’
Adam explained that building and designing in front of a camera took more time than without the camera. It was very frustrating for an individual strongly interested in construction and engineering.
Which members of the “MythBusters” died?
In 2019, Jessica Combs known as “the fastest woman on four wheels,” died in an accident at the age of 29 after crushing a jet-powered car while trying to break a land speed record in the Alvord Desert, Oregon.
Following minor hindrances, while driving the vehicle, her front wheel assembly collapsed at a speed of 550 mph (890km/h). The official cause of death was “blunt force trauma,” which happened before the car was consumed by fire. With her last run in the Alvord Desert, she broke the women’s land speed record of 512.71 mph (825.13km/h) set by Kitty O’Neil. Jessica appeared in the series’ 2009 and 2010 seasons.
In July 2020, news about the death of Grant Impala, a member of the “MythBusters” build team, shocked the fans of the show. He died at the age of 49 from a ruptured intracranial aneurysm. Before appearing on “MythBusters,” Grant worked as an engineer on several projects, including “The Matrix” trilogy and “Star Wars” prequel Trilogy. He came on the show at Jamie’s request, as they had occasionally collaborated. Grant was also the star of the Netflix “White Project” series alongside his co-stars, Tory and Kari.
Why were Tori, Grant and Kari fired from “MythBusters”?
Since the second season, the members of Adam’s and Jamies’ behind-the-scenes personnel were set as the second team of “MythBusters”, also called the Build Team, consisting of Tori, Grant and Kari.
They tested theories separately from the hosting duo, and worked in a different shop. However, this changed in 2014, when Discovery announced that some members would leave the show. According to the reports, the team was removed due to the growing production costs, while the show’s popularity and ratings slowly declined. Furthermore, they reportedly asked for higher pay, which was deemed unreasonable in the eyes of the producers.
While talking of the show at the Comic Con, Adam briefly touched on the subject, saying: ‘I’m sad that they removed Keri, Grant, and Tori from the show – we didn’t want that. Jamie and I didn’t want that.’
Adam Savage accused of sexual abuse
In 2020, Miranda Pacchiana, sister of Adam Savage, disclosed that she was “sexually abused as a child by her brother’. According to the documents obtained from the court, from 1976 to 1979, while the two lived together in Sleepy Hollow, New York, Adam forced himself onto her. He demanded that she perform oral sex on him, and other forms of abuse. Miranda was seven at the time, and Adam was 9.
In the lawsuit filed by Miranda, she stated that she felt “horrified and traumatized.” She sought to “recover from the emotional and physical suffering she incurred, and to make sure that no other child is forced to suffer the abuse and physical and mental trauma she felt and continues to feel.’
Adam denied the accusations, and his lawyer provided his official statement to the media outlet USA Today. Adam disclosed: ‘While I hope that my sister gets the help she needs to find peace, this needs to end.
For many years, she has relentlessly and falsely attacked other members of my family and me to anyone that will listen.’ He added that she had already attempted to pursue a financial bonanza from him and their family by disseminating false stories, resulting in complete estrangement from all members of the Savage family.
Their mother, Karen Savage, also weighed in on the situation and said: ‘It makes me very sad to say this, but my daughter suffers from severe mental health challenges, and it’s devastating that she’s putting Adam and our entire family through this,” she said. “Adam is a good man, and I support him completely.’ To date, there hasn’t been a resolution.
Probably the most famous incident to happen on the show was the “Cannonball Chemistry” experiment – “MythBusters” sent one of their experiments hurtling into a Dublin neighborhood. Luckily nobody was hurt, but the residents of Dublin were stunned to learn that a cannonball had come whizzing through their community.
While conducting the experiment, Jamie and Adam fired the cannonball from a bombing range at Camp parks, and it soared 700 yards into a house on Cossata Place, bounced across a road onto a roof, and into a minivan on Springvale Drive. Alameda Sheriff’s Office supervised the experiment, and despite the precautions, it didn’t go as planned. The problem occurred when the projectile went over the intended target (water barrels), skipped up a hill that was supposed to serve as a safe target, and hit the side of a house.
The news about this failed experiment made headlines, and many began questioning whether the show should be canceled. Jamie, Adam and Discovery apologized for what could have ended someone’s life, and disclosed that the cannonball ‘took an unforeseen bounce from a safety beam’, and that they would pay for the damages. The show wasn’t canceled after the incident, and they continued testing- in a remote area away from any community.