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Netflix’s WHITE RABBIT PROJECT is a Hole Worth Going Down For MYTHBUSTERS Fans (Review)

Netflix’s WHITE RABBIT PROJECT is a Hole Worth Going Down For MYTHBUSTERS Fans (Review)

It’s starting to feel like the end of MythBusters might have been the best thing that could have happened for fans of the show. Not only is our own science editor Kyle Hill hosting next year’s competition show MythBusters: The Search, which will find an all new generation of busters to replace the old crew, Netflix has reunited the show’s M7 Build Team of Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, and Kari Byron (who all left the show in 2014), for the new series White Rabbit Project, which premieres today December 9th. Though different in format and goals, it’s another way science and tall-tale lovers will fill the hole MythBusters left in their hearts and on their TVs.

Instead of focusing on legends or stories of questionable veracity, and then trying to determine if they are real or not, White Rabbit Project revolves around true stories and evaluating and comparing them with a defined set of standards, so that at episode’s end the hosts can rank them in terms of overall impressiveness (the show gets its name from the concept of “going down the rabbit hole” with certain topics). The premiere episode, “Jailbreak,” took on famous (or rather infamous) escapes of all sorts, from El Chapo’s underground tunnel escape in Mexico, to World War II’s biggest prisoners of war break out, to a daring hot-air balloon dash for freedom out of East Germany.

Unlike MythBusters, with its constant creating and technical work, most of the show is spent watching dramatic recreations of true stories (no testing for validity or plausibility here, these are things that happened). These are filmed and presented in a lighthearted manner, though computer graphics and interviews are also used to explain some of the more impressive stories ranging from totally absurd to totally life-affirming. Instead of spending most of their time on difficult builds, the three hosts presented different examples of famous jailbreaks for consideration from the other two.

tory-white-rabbit

The format makes the show stand out as new and independent from MythBusters, rather than trying to redo or recapture what made that work, and it’s better for it. This isn’t a spin-off or a reboot, this is a whole new endeavor that combines real science with the general feeling of a show like Mysteries at the Museum, but with the built in chemistry the three hosts have that made them so watchable. This show will thrive on its own.

If anything, we’d like to see more interaction between the three, since the set-up requires them to do a lot of narrating and explaining. Them getting to joke around and talk to one another about the actual requirements and merits of these stories gave it a personal touch that made the show stronger. The format has a lot of built-in solitary segments, but it doesn’t need to be so rigid to still accomplish what it wants to do. For example, Grant walks through one of his recreations in this premiere episode, narrating it live while the jail break happens around him. It makes it stand out from the other dramatizations.

Of course, you don’t put these three together without having them build something, and in this case it was Tory trying to recreate the homemade hot-air balloon from one of his stories. Since to love MythBusters was to love the science and feats of engineering that defined it, these scenes were some of the most satisfying (even without any explosions — though there was lots of fire).

white-rabbit-hot-air

The improvised hot air balloon was a crazy and impressive job by Tory to be sure, so don’t worry about the team doing scaled-down builds.

White Rabbit Project is not Mythbusters, and that’s a good thing, but it does maintain that same love of science and the fun of exploring entertaining and amazing stories, with three hosts we know are up to the job. If they get to do that job together more often going forward, it’s going to be a very fun and informative series, and that’s just what our science-loving hearts crave.

4 out of 5 burritos

4 burritos

What are you looking forward to with this show? Confirm it in our comments section below.

Images: Netflix

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