YouTube asks Could You Survive the Movies? in new science series: Watch the exclusive trailer
Spoiler alert: The answer is no.
But that shouldn’t stop you from checking out YouTube’s new original series Could You Survive the Movies? Hosted by Jake Roper, known for his work with the Vsauce3 YouTube channel, the series explores the science behind classic movies, breaking down scenes and images to explain what they would look like in the real world. For instance: what would actually happen if you were blown back by a sound wave from a giant amplifier, à la Marty McFly in Back to the Future? Could you survive it?
The series’ trailer, which you can exclusively watch above, teases the other films to be explored in the first season, including Ghostbusters, Die Hard, and Men In Black. It also provides a look at the show’s unique approach, modeled off of Roper’s 2018 pilot video of sorts, which applied the same concept to Mad Max: Fury Road. Unlike, say, Mythbusters, Could You Survive the Movies? is a scripted, narrative series; each episode places Roper within the world of the movie being explored, with re-creations of the film’s costumes, props, and sets. It’s as much a love letter to cinema as it is a scientific exploration.
Could You Survive the Movies? premieres Oct 21. on YouTube (via Vsauce3 and YouTube Learning). Ahead of the series’ debut, EW spoke to Roper about putting the show together and what movies he’d like to explore in the future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you pick the movies and topics to explore?
JAKE ROPER: It was really simple. It was just movies that I really liked, and that I have an affinity with, and I selfishly wanted to explore the worlds of them. Like, I’m never going to be in a Back to the Future movie, but I could kind of create my own, and then be in it. And then also just from watching these films, any movie has interesting topics to discuss, and to expand upon, so that wasn’t too difficult, to find demonstrations or experiments to do within those movies.
Do you actually re-enact the stunts yourself or just explain them?
We re-enact them. For example, with the Back to the Future one, I didn’t physically get blown back by a pressure wave, we just used a pull rig to show me. But we can’t show the footage from the movie, so we do have to re-enact it. So the viewer, if not too familiar with the content, understands what we’re doing, and then we do the actual scientific representation that doesn’t actually involve me, cause I would die.
Were there any that you wanted to do but couldn’t?
For season 2, if we get that far, I would love to do Fast and the Furious. That series is one of the most fantastic to me. Because physics just doesn’t exist in that world. And so I’d love to just do a bunch of different things from that. Like, what actually would happen if you were driving down the road with a gigantic bank vault attached to your car? It wouldn’t look like what we think it would. Or could you actually drive a car between two skyscrapers? So that would be awesome to me.
One that I really want to do is Blade Runner. And that one’s less of explosions, and more of, what does it mean to be human? Like, for example, if we were to upload your consciousness to a computer, would that computer be human? Or, because you don’t have a body anymore, are you no longer human? At what point are we not people anymore? So that, to me, is like, a really interesting topic. And it’s a little bit more philosophical than it is physics and chemistry.
What do you hope to achieve with the show?
I think the goal is what I call accidental learning. It’s to get people excited by science, cause everyone is generally curious in life. But you just have to package it in a way that’s digestible. So to me, it’s through movies. Everyone likes movies, so if we can take a topic, or a film that people love, and then, oh wow, I learned about pressure waves, and about force and momentum? That, to me, is awesome because it’s accidental, but you feel empowered by knowing this now.