The Discovery Channel’s decision to run two intelligent, edgy and often humorous shows – “MythBusters” and “Smash Lab” – one after another on Wednesday nights makes it an attractive alternative to traditional sitcoms and dramas. While “MythBusters” is in its sixth season and continues to be extremely successful, “Smash Lab” is a new series that will benefit from its time slot behind one of Discovery’s most popular shows.
The concept of “MythBusters” is creative and unique: Each week the MythBusters pick three urban legends and use science to determine whether they are fact or fiction. They’ve explored everything from the questionably dangerous effect of using a cell phone at a gas pump to the likelihood of failing a drug test after eating a poppy seed muffin. Hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman also concisely explain complex scientific theories and make their audience laugh – mostly by making fun of each other. Their enthusiasm for their work is contagious and viewers soon become anxious to learn the results of the experiments throughout each episode. Adam and Jamie are also joined by three younger assistants – Kari, Tory and Grant – who give the show an additional shot of personality and vigor.
Recently, the Discovery Channel has run countless commercials for “Smash Lab” depicting one huge explosion after another – framing the show as “MythBusters” on steroids. But “Smash Lab” isn’t that simple; it has its own original concept, which is summed up by the network as “dangerous experiments for a safer world.” Each week the “Smash Lab” team uses cutting-edge technology in an attempt to make our lives a little safer. For example, in the recent “Crash Absorbing Concrete,” aerated concrete was used to make road barriers that decrease the impact felt by passengers in a car that crashes into a blockade. The Discovery Channel is looking to draw younger viewers to “Smash Lab” with a hipper, more youthful cast composed of Deanne “The Scientist,” Nick “The Designer,” Kevin “The Ideas Guy” and Chuck “The Engineer.” Compared to “MythBusters,” the show has a sleeker and more technologically savvy feel – the team’s lab houses the latest computers and tools.
If you’re accustomed to watching the same genre of TV shows over and over again, it might be best to switch to the Discovery Channel on Wednesday nights. The duo of “MythBusters” and “Smash Lab” promises not only to entertain you, but also to teach you something without the brain-numbing feeling of sitting in Physics or Chemistry class for two hours.