Ever since MythBusters premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2003, co-host Adam Savage’s name has become synonymous with the program. Yet the outgoing myth-buster didn’t always spend his days tearing things down for the sake of science and education on television. In fact, as the original MythBusters intro frequently reminded viewers, Savage, fellow co-host Jamie Hyneman, and team members Kari Byron, Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara got their start in the myth-making business. Creating movie magic with special effects, and the art and mechanics that support them, was their primary trade.
Which is why Savage finds himself in a rather interesting position as the host of the new podcast SYFY 25: Origin Stories. For the month of September, the 15-part series will celebrate the genre-centric cable channel’s 25th years with long conversations between Savage and celebrated science fiction writers, television, and film producers, and makeup and special effects artists. On the one hand, the host’s professional experience with the Star Wars prequels, The Matrix trilogy, and other flagship entries makes him the perfect person to interview the likes of Neil Gaiman, D.C. Fontana, and Rick Baker. On the other hand, Savage’s well-known fandom may help him connect with such pop culture stalwarts in a way others can’t. Or as he explains it to Uproxx while geeking out over Star Trek and comic books, “If you scratch the surface of a creator, you’re going to find a fan.”
“Someone once asked Sunset Boulevard director Billy Wilder, ‘Would you have directed movies for free? Would you have done this no matter what?’ And he said, ‘What do I look like, a sucker?'” Savage says. “That sort of typifies the older Hollywood. ‘I’m here to do this job you’ve given me.’ Yet Wilder couldn’t tell the stories he told without a deep love of a really good story. I feel like you could ask him, ‘Do you love film?’ He would probably say ‘buzz off,’ but if you asked him what’s important about story, he would probably talk for days. That was another thing that typified all of these interviews. It’s not necessarily about the genre, although every one of these people has chosen to exercise their creativity in science fiction. It really comes down to the narrative, to the story. This is one of the most fundamental human exploits — the telling and consumption of narrative.”
In other words, Savage admits his position as creator and fan did affect the conversations he had for SYFY 25: Origin Stories, but counters that their depth and quality stem from the fandom espoused by his interviewees. Even when, as the host notes, he worried his admiration would tank interviews. “It was a little intense for me to interview Ron Moore. Ron and I are mutual fans, but we had not met before,” Savage says of the Battlestar Galactica and Outlander showrunner. “It’s so difficult for me to place in context my love for the Battlestar Galatcica reboot. As a cultural marker. As maybe some of the most complicated and complex political television shows since Norman Lear, and I am not exaggerating. I was very nervous leading up to the interview. Luckily, Ron is a super nice guy and tremendous interview. He’s really generous as an interviewee and tells wonderful stories, of course. He’s a born storyteller. All of my fears were out the window within the first 90 seconds.”