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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mythbusters special ranks transportation myths

Mythbusters: Collection 6     Discovery Channel's Mythbusters did a special episode last night entitle "Mythbusters Dirty Dozen: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." In it, the Mythbusters rank their favorite transportation-related myths from 12 to 1, though there are five #1's, one for each of the Mythbusters team. Besides showing clips of those moments, there is new footage and behind the scenes stories told by the cast, to give something new to loyal viewers.

     Including trains is a stretch, because there is only one myth covered that is loosely based on trains. And it's not all that exciting, so it may have been included just to justify the nicely flowing episode title. The myth in question involves Adam Savage peeing on the electrified third rail. Although handled as tastefully as possible, it's still disturbing to see the yellow liquid flowing freely. This is a family show, and it stays family appropriate, but the gross out factor is high.

     Airplanes fare better, taking a handful of spots, including when the Mythbusters use a jet engine to overturn a bus. Combining a few forms of transportation into one stunt, it's a thrilling ride, but is surprisingly not any of the team's #1. Surprisingly, because it is such a huge production, and one of the coolest demonstrations of wind power ever staged. Unlike explosions, the carnage is not obscured by smoke and fire, but laid bare for all to see.

     Motorcycles and bicycles also make an appearance. While not technically fitting the title of the special, they are forms of transportation. Plus, the Indiana Jones motorcycle myth is one of the few instances where Jamie Hyneman actually gets into character for the movie. Even the stoic Jamie is excited by going after such a classic movie.

     Most of the myths are, not surprisingly, about cars, as Mythbusters do a ton of car myths. Ranking #11 is a stunt gone wrong, as a car careened over an embankment and off camera. Kari Byron gets a lock of utter shock and fear on her face. Apparently, there is a freeway nearby, and if nothing else, the crash provides quite the distraction. For the normally enthusiastic, but pretty brave Kari, this may be the best facial expression she's ever delivered, and deserves a slightly higher rank than #11.

     There could be much debate over how the twelve (actually sixteen) myths are ranked, and Mythbuster fans love to debate. But there is no question that this is a good list of myths, and a fascinating episode, even if you've seen all the episodes they are talking about before.

     Catch news episodes of Mythbusters Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.

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