As fans of “Mythbusters” are well aware, a good portion of the entertainment value in that show comes from blowing stuff up.
Things explode on cue. And, sometimes, just to have some fun at the end of a segment, the Mythbusters use explosives to make things go boom in a more spectacular way.
None of that changes in “MythBusters Jr.,” which premieres Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the Science Channel. It features six youngsters between ages 12 and 15 doing exactly the same sort of thing that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman did in the 251 episodes that aired from 2003 to 2016 — test urban legends and assorted crazy ideas using scientific methods.
“Our parents letting us blow things up really helped in the process,” said 15-year-old Valerie Castillo.
Jesse Lawless, also 15, said his favorite memory from production on the first season of “MythBusters Jr.” is “a car blowing up. That was pretty fun.”
Savage — who returns to the “MythBusters” fold as the host and an executive producer of “Jr.” — said, with obvious delight, that he has a picture of three of the youngsters on the set “holding chunks of C-4. … Children holding C-4.”
(That's a plastic explosive also familiar to “Mythbusters” fans.)
“I’ve learned explosives,” 14-year-old Rachel Pizzolato confirmed. “Handle them safely, kids, please.”
(The show opens with a don't-try-this-at-home warning, and the crew is staffed with multiple safety experts who oversee everything the kids do.)
Make no mistake about it, “Mythbusters Jr.” is not a dumbed-down version of the original show, and these are not just the kids next door.
Castillo is a builder and robotics whiz from California; Elijah Horland, 12, is an electronics maker, programmer and circuit whiz from New York; Cannan Huey-You, 12, is a college sophomore studying astrophysics at Texas Christian University; Lawless builds custom hot rods at home in Louisiana; Pizzolato, 14, is a three-time science fair champion from Louisiana; and Allie Weber, 13, is a builder and inventor from South Dakota.
“It’s not a show about teaching these guys how to do stuff. It’s not a kids’ show,” said Savage. “These are the new MythBusters and I’m their camp counselor and their adviser and sometimes their test subject.”
It doesn’t bother him that none of these kids was born when the original “MythBusters” premiered in January 2003. He immediately signed on, after saying no to any involvement in the “Mythbusters” revival hosted by Jon Lung and Brian Loudon that premiered on the Science Channel in November 2017.
“I was sort of happy to take some time off from making the show,” he said. But since he left, he’s had his 50th and 51st birthdays and become an empty-nester, “and all of that is part of realizing that it’s time for me to start passing on everything to the next generation.”
And add to the more than 900 explosions set off during the run of the original “MythBusters.”
But, according to Savage, the “best part about making the show” is “the pure delight” on the kids’ faces. “They can’t hide it.”
In the first of 10 episodes of “Mythbusters Jr.,” Savage is as enthusiastic as ever. He’s clearly having a great time as the kids test two duct-tape myths — that you can make car tires and a working parachute out of it.
As the test dummy, Buster, is strapped to the duct-tape parachute and dropped from a helicopter, Savage tells the kids, “if there’s some reason we have to run, follow me.”
“That’s not scary at all,” Castillo jokes.
The big explosions don’t come until future episodes. But they are coming.
“You’re going to watch them blowing up stuff just as big as we did,” Savage said.