Mythbusters came back this weekend in the exceptionally odd timeslot of 8pm on Saturday, presumably a reflection of the show’s DVR-heavy audience. And it’s yet another special, this time about Star Wars, that’s both a great showcase for the show’s strengths and a frustrating demonstration of its weaknesses.
First off, it’s another $#(@ing “special.” The show has shown a troubling addiction to these lately; the last season had five “specials,” out of eleven episodes, tying into not just TV shows, but Wallenda stunts and sports. It’s unclear whether this is a ratings grab or it reflects the show running low on ideas, but it’s getting a bit annoying.
Secondly, Sophia Bush pinch-hitting as Leia is hugely welcome, and she plays off Jamie and Adam surprisingly well. But she’s trouble at the same time, because she’s got way more presence and comic timing than, well, the entire build team. The show’s always been jokey, but these “specials” tend to bring out the worst in the cast and writers, who are scientists, not comedians. Jamie requiring a “Yoda” practice is probably the worst pun the show’s ever deployed, and, yes, we know that’s a bold claim.
Finally, the myths are watered down a bit by the presence of three, one of which, namely Luke swinging across a chasm, is a bit rushed and dull, not to mention barely a myth. Considering how much time went into the other two, the gleefully destructive test of an infamous Ewok trap and the nerdily elaborate test as to whether or not you’d survive in a tauntaun, it feels like filler. It doesn’t help that they don’t test the myth, really; just the individual components of it.
That said, the other two myths are the show at its best: Taking a silly concept to ridiculous extremes to actually make it work. The tauntaun test in particular is both fascinating in the process and hilarious in what goes wrong. As for the AT-ST smash, it’s not really a surprise that Newton’s Laws work, but damn is it funny to see in action.
In other words, it’s mostly a flawed celebration of a battered yet still beloved film series. Just no prequel myth tests, guys. Some things are a bridge too far.