White Rabbit Project
TV Series Review
Prestige TV is all the rage, I suppose, what with its complex, multilayered storylines, resonant acting and its darkish, content-laden episodes. But sometimes when you turn on the telly, what you really want is for folks to lay a bunch of science on you and then blow stuff up.
Welcome to White Rabbit Project, Netflix's first foray into the world of reality-based edutainment. It's like Discovery's Mythbusters, minus the myths but with plenty of busting.
If you're going to do a Mythbusters-like show, it's nice to have a few actual Mythbusters on hand. Netflix—which has never been accused of doing anything halfway—snagged three of them: Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara, popular vets from Discovery's long-running series.
Over the course of their decade on Mythbusters, this trio created flying guillotines, ran over cars with out-of-control snowplows and blew up pig corpses, all in the name of science (and ratings). If show founders (and legendary frienemies) Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were, like, geeky-cool science teachers, Tory, Kari and Grant were more like your knowledgeable-but-dangerous older siblings holding several cans of spray cheese and a pack of firecrackers.
But White Rabbit Project isn't just a Mythbusters rehash: The trio isn't probing cultural "myths" to see if they're scientifically plausible. They're tackling big-picture questions: Is it possible to mimic superhero superpowers? What was the craziest weapon from World War II? Why don't we all have hoverboards yet, and when can we expect to get them? Every episode is presented as a pseudo-contest, where the three compete to see which concept/gadget/superpower is the "best," based on ever-shifting criteria.
Grant, Tory and Kari obviously like working together. "It felt very much like a family again," Tory told Uproxx of the new project. For a show predicated on science, it's only appropriate that the chemistry would be so strong.
But alas, the show is also a bit more volatile than I recall Mythbusters being in terms of its problematic content. Oh, White Rabbit Project still has the same vibe as that fondly remembered Discovery program. And it mostly minds its manners, sticking to science, friendly ribbing and some occasionally horrific puns.
But bad words do occasionally squirt to the surface: And while f- and s-bombs are edited out (either with an audible bleep or simply expunged), words like "d--n" or "h---" float through television speakers unchecked. Moreover, some sexual entendres get bandied about in conversation, too. And, like the original Mythbusters, viewers are sometimes exposed to synthetic blood and guts.
Still, we're talking about an incremental increase in content, not a complete rejection of Mythbuster's family-friendly feel. And frankly, it's nice to see a show focus more on actual explosions, rather than metaphorical moral ones.