Top 20 Greatest MythBusters Episodes



Top 20 Greatest MythBusters Episodes

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Every episode is good, but these “MythBusters” episodes are the best. For this list, we'll be looking at the best and most popular episodes of the science entertainment television program. Our countdown includes “Speed Cameras,” “YouTube Special,” “Duct Tape Island,” and more!
Every episode of “MythBusters” is good. But these are the best. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 “MythBusters” episodes.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best and most popular episodes of the science entertainment television program. We’ll be basing our picks on the entire episode, not just one particular segment within it and considering its entertainment factor, the myths that were tested, the results, and its popularity within the fandom.

#20: “Speed Cameras”

We love when the “MythBusters” test common, everyday myths. Yeah, seeing if a car can take flight if you strap it with rockets is fun and all, but that’s not really applicable to real life. Beating speed cameras, on the other hand, is something we’ve all thought about (even if just in passing). This episode is a lot of fun, as it sees Adam and Jamie attempting to beat speed cameras using a variety of methods. These include using a crystallized plate cover, wrapping the license plate in plastic wrap, and coating one with hairspray. And before you get any funny ideas: no, none of them worked.

#19: “Prison Escape”

Prison escapes have made for some great stories over the years, so it’s only natural that the team tests some out. In this episode, Adam and Jamie assess whether dental floss can actually cut through steel bars, if you can shoot yourself out of prison using a cannon while attached to a cannonball, and various car hood myths. While they confirmed that you can hold onto a car’s roof as it zigzags, what is most fascinating is their “plausible” result regarding the floss and prison bars. The episode also featured a hilarious moment where Buster’s leg was ripped off his body while attempting the cannonball escape.

#18: “Duct Tape Hour”

This is a very popular episode within the “MythBusters” community because it represents the inherent quality of the show. That is to say, it’s all about very smart people doing very smart things. Duct Tape Hour is the antithesis to more grounded episodes like Speed Cameras. No one has ever wondered if duct tape could lift a 5,000 pound car, if it could be used to build a functioning cannon, or if it can be used to construct a boat. But that’s what makes “MythBusters” so good. They think of these outlandish things for you, and they somehow make it happen for our entertainment and bewilderment. And as it turns out, duct tape can do an awful lot...

#17: “Demolition Derby”

In this hour and a half special opening to the 2009 season, the Mythbusters test various car crash myths, including what a car can drive through, whether two big rigs can completely flatten a car, and whether the bus-turning scene from the movie “Speed” is possible. As it turned out, most of the myths in the episode were busted, with the only plausible ones being that a car can drive through a locked chain link gate and that it could pass under a big rig and still be drivable. Still, it’s exciting to see them crash cars, just like they do in the movies, even if the results are less than Hollywood-like.

#16: “Salsa Escape”

This is a fascinating episode of “MythBusters,” although it’s largely remembered for the iconic cement truck explosion. Simply wanting to mess around and make a big boom, the MythBusters enlisted an FBI expert to rig a cement truck with 850 pounds of explosive material. The result was arguably the show’s greatest explosion, as the explosives basically vaporized the cement truck. Plus, the sound of the explosion is oh so satisfying. While that scene is a “MythBusters” classic, the episode contains a lot of other good stuff. We learned that salsa has the potential to corrode prison bars, and we watched Adam try to bend the bars with a shirt soaked in urine. So that was fun.

#15: “Alcohol Myths”

We all enjoy the occasional drink, so it’s important to separate myth from fact. During this episode, the Build Team tested a Hwacha rocket launcher, while the MythBusters tried to figure out if beer goggles were real and also what so-called remedies helped people sober up quickly. While the idea that alcohol makes people look more attractive was plausible, the sobering up portion of the episode provided some great laughs, as we got to witness the boys drunk and Adam falling off a treadmill. Turns out that exercising vigorously and being slapped in the face are plausible ways to sober up quickly. Remember that one.

#14: “Jaws Special”

This episode originally ran during Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” and who isn’t fascinated by these underwater killing machines? This episode is especially great due to the “ShaRammer,” a device used to mimic and measure the force of a great white. The team tests various myths from Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster thriller “Jaws” here, including shooting an oxygen tank to make it explode, and while that one was busted, it was scary to know a great white can both destroy a shark cage and ram a hole in a boat. This episode is a classic for shark, movie, and science lovers alike.

#13: “Indiana Jones Special” / “The Busters of the Lost Myths”

We love when the MythBusters take on Hollywood, and the “Indiana Jones” special is one of the best of the bunch. The reasoning comes down to two main aspects: the myths tested and the surprising results. Adam and Jamie tested if it was possible to survive the poison dart launchers, and they found that it was indeed plausible. They also tackled many whip-related myths, like disarming someone, breaking the sound barrier, and swinging across a chasm. They managed to break the sound barrier with a whip crack at 1,200 feet per second, and they found it was plausible to both disarm someone and swing across a chasm with a whip. Who knew “Indiana Jones” was so realistic?

#12: “Brown Note”

This episode has three classic segments all in one, making it a terrific outing filled with memorable moments. The three myths tested are: number one - whether a bullet will propel a man backwards after being shot - which was busted, number two - whether there is an infrasonic ‘brown note’ also known as aa noise that will make a human defecate themselves, which was busted, and number three - whether Chinese water torture can drive someone insane, which was confirmed. As it’s hilarious watching Adam test the brown note, and terrifying seeing the reactions of the water torture, it made for an emotionally varied and fantastic episode.

#11: “Reunion”

Let’s face it: most reunion and retrospective episodes are self-congratulatory bores. But not the “MythBusters” reunion special. Yes, this episode contained the typical “look back” stuff, like the team’s favorite myths, their most stressful moments, and their favorite explosions. However, the episode also delves deep into the making of the program, like how the Build Team got started on the show and how they designed certain equipment for the tests. It also showcased how “MythBusters” has actually affected people and their lives, like exploring the program’s impact on popular culture and reading about people who explored and studied engineering after watching the show. This is how retrospective reunions should be done.

#10: “YouTube Special”

You never know what you’re going to get with viral YouTube videos. Sometimes it’s something genuinely interesting. Other times it’s obvious fooey. The YouTube Special contains a mix of the two. In this episode, the team tests three popular YouTube videos - igniting 30,000 match heads to create a fireball, rolling a 7-foot LEGO ball down a hill, and igniting a car tire with friction. As it turns out, only the match head test was confirmed. Regardless of the disappointing outcomes, it was a lot of fun to watch the MythBusters launch a bowling ball with 60,000 match heads and create a massive ball of LEGO (which subsequently collapsed in about ten seconds).

#9: “Underwater Car”

This episode is both exciting and very informative, as it could save your life one day. In it, Adam tests various ways to escape a submerged car, quite a few to immediate success. He confirms that you can escape a car instantly once it hits the water and if the water is up to your waist, but escape is not possible once the water covers the window. It’s a scary episode too, as these are based on real scenarios that people have faced, but the information given is comforting, as knowing that if you act fast you will be fine and come out alive.

#8: “Bullet Baloney”

The MythBusters have tested a lot of firearm myths over the years, but Bullet Baloney may be their masterpiece. They prove that a rifle will still fire with a bent barrel. They tested to see if tape measures, golf balls, or wallets are bulletproof (they aren’t). They shot a neon sign in the hopes of making it rain sparks. They tried firing a gun in a vacuum. They tested a scene from “The Grey” that involved a wooden spear equipped with a shotgun shell. And they proved that dropping a 9mm into hot oil will cause it to discharge. The episode is like a greatest hits collection of firearms myths, and every single one is interesting and entertaining in its own way.

#7: “MacGyver Myths”

For the show’s 100th episode, the team puts the ultimate inventor and secret agent to the test: MacGyver. They test various inventions from the show, including whether or not a man can blow a hole in a wall with sodium and water and whether you can make an ultralight plane. The best part of the episode has to be the MacGyver Challenge though, where Jamie and Adam pit their ingenuity against each other. It’s a fun segment, filled with ingenious problem solving. But what this episode really proves is how much of a pleasure it is to watch these men at work.

#6: “Road Rage”

Despite what its title may suggest, this episode does not really test any myths related to the concept of road rage. Rather, it explores the veracity of Hollywood car chase tropes. Needless to say, the “busted” results aren’t very surprising. They found that it’s quite easy for one car to push another off the road. They found it impossible for a Mustang to ramp off a Corvette and do a barrel roll in midair, as seen in the movie “Wanted” (but the car crashes were certainly fun to watch!). Finally, they found that driving a car sideways on two wheels is incredibly difficult, and may in fact lead to whiplash. Cars are cool, but not Hollywood cool.

#5: “Lead Balloon”

Lead Balloon is an interesting episode, as it tests both an idiom and a viral video. In other words, two things you probably don’t expect to be real. In the titular experiment, they test the veracity of the idiom “going down like a lead balloon.” They found that the idiom was not accurate to reality, as their lead balloon flew without helium. Meanwhile, the Build Team tried surfing a robot on a wave generated by dynamite. Not only were the waves too small for surfing, but the force of the explosion would likely lead to internal bleeding and eventual death. So, yeah, that one was busted too. Entertaining to watch? Absolutely. Surprising? Absolutely not.

#4: “Cell Phone Destroys Gas Station”

This was just the second episode of “MythBusters” (outside of the pilots), but what an episode it was. It was named after one of the most classic myths that they ever tested, which was actually a widespread belief at the time of airing. Luckily for all of us, it turned out to be a load of baloney. But this is the core essence of “MythBusters” - taking a widespread belief, testing it with a variety of intelligent and comprehensive methods, and coming to an inarguable conclusion. The episode also spawned two of the show’s most popular quotes and sequences, including the famous eyebrow debacle. This is “MythBusters” 101, and it is essential viewing.

#3: “Mentos and Soda”

After a televised demo took the internet by storm in 2005, the famous Diet Coke and Mentos trick is analyzed by the Mythbusters in this episode. It’s a unique segment in that they were not busting or confirming a myth, but rather, explaining how the reaction occurs - and it’s actually the first time one of their segments didn’t use the "Busted", "Plausible" or "Confirmed" ratings. That’s not to say the episode isn’t fun though, as they also set a record for highest geyser of cola at 30 feet, created homemade pyrotechnics, and blew the canister off of a tube of Pringles without destroying the chips.

#2: “Duct Tape Island”

They say duct tape can do pretty much everything, so the boys put that to the test multiple times in this episode. Abandoned on an island in Hawaii, Adam and Jamie have only a pallet of duct tape at their disposal, and it’s amazing and fascinating to watch just what they do with it just to survive. Some examples include building a distress signal, making clothing, and building a fire, but it’s the finale that trumps them all: the duo builds a working canoe and is able to “escape” the island. The Build Team may not have appeared at all here, but it’s still a truly captivating episode regardless!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Snow Special”

Avalanches, Frozen Tongues & Driving on Ice

“Explosions A to Z”

Vignettes Related to Explosions in Myth Testing Ranging from Audit Art to Zenith

“Ninjas 2”

Catching an Arrow, Special Forces Ninja’s Revenge, Underwater Blow Dart & the One-Inch Punch

#1: “Exploding Water Heater”

Do you have a water heater in your house? Well, you may feel a little wary of it once you hear about the results of the tests that the guys do in this episode! While the Build Team tests various denim jeans myths, the heart of the episode is the water heater test. In it, they confirmed that one could indeed explode and shoot through a ceiling 500 feet into the air. While proper heaters don’t do this, as they tested it based on poor installation and neglect, it’s still a terrifying thought, and these informative pieces are one of the main reasons “Mythbusters” has remained popular as long as it has.