‘Hacking the System’ Review: ‘MythBusters’ Meets ‘MacGyver’

Published 1 year ago by

hacking the system brian brushwood national geographic Hacking the System Review: MythBusters Meets MacGyver

When it comes to earnest intrigue and exploration, MythBusters has served as television’s saving grace for over 10 years. Tonight, National Geographic is looking to share that title with their new series Hacking the System, which takes that same type of ingenuity viewers have grown to love and uses it to reveal tips and tricks which can greatly help you in your life.

In the back-to-back, 2-episode special creators Brian Brushwood and Jason Murphy, who serve as host and co-host, respectively, walk viewers through the impressively simple steps required to do such things as: steal a car, break in to a house, or even talk your way out of a speeding ticket. On the not-so-illegal front: replicating keys, making smoke bombs and car salesman tricks are just some of what’s included.

Realistically, if you read the front page of Reddit every day for an entire year, you will more than likely learn the same tips and tricks Brushwood shows in Hacking the System. However, it’s the “show” part where this series really shines – and what makes it a worthy companion to Discovery’s appropriately beloved MythBusters.

Reading pages and pages filled with text tips – no matter how helpful – will only get you so far, or allow you to remember so much. What Hacking the System does is brilliantly bridge the ever-present gap of knowing what to do and how, exactly, you do it, by showing you – successes, failures and all – which gives an entertaining visual memory of such tips, making it easier to apply them in your life, as needed. For example: in order to show you how to get out of a ticket, Brushwood actually gets himself pulled over, then uses hidden cameras and mics (and a blurry-faced police officer) to capture his attempt.

hacking the system brian brushwood police Hacking the System Review: MythBusters Meets MacGyverBeing pulled over? dome light on and hands on steering wheel

Admittedly, Hacking the System does reveal information that some could potentially use to commit various illegal acts. Even so, in today’s age, it’s reassuring that the series never shies away from providing viewers – potential victims – with information they can use to defend themselves against such crimes – or in the case of car salesmen, such shenanigans. After all, if someone is going to break into your car, they’ve probably Google’d “How to break in to a car” more than once. Additionally, one could say that if criminals are watching National Geographic, they’re not likely to be part of the stealing cars scene.

As a special that’s currently positioned as a proverbial backdoor pilot that could be a series, Hacking the System is surprisingly polished in its two episodes, and as the first one comes to an end you’ll be eager to tune in to the next one. What the future may hold for Hacking the System is still unknown, however, and that’s more than a bit disconcerting.

hacking the system car window Hacking the System Review: MythBusters Meets MacGyverBreak a car window with no effort? Spark plug

Over the past few years National Geographic has been attempting to elevate the status of their network to that of their competitors, and with shows like Air Crash Investigation and Life Below Zero the network has slowly been climbing the mountain that the History channel – along with their aliens – has proudly stood atop of for quite some time. Hacking the System is a different beast, however, and Brian Brushwood is its energetic and enthusiastic figurehead.

Will National Geographic take a chance and back a series which could provide them with their first homegrown network star, finally providing a face that viewers point to and associate with them? It’s too early to tell. However, if they’re still sincerely interested in evolving their network then, no matter what, Hacking the System will be back.


Hacking the System airs tonight @9pm & 9:30pm on the National Geographic Channel.

You check out a preview of the show below:

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  1. Sounds cool, kinda like the Secrets Of The Pickpockets type shows we get now and then in the UK with former and current thieves showing you the tricks of the trade to prevent being a victim.

    The only thing with shows like this is that once it’s been on TV, people change the way they do things so that trick to get out of a speeding ticket will likely not work any more because they’ll change tack to make sure they nail you.

    • I’d say it’s a bit more like The Real Hustle.

      • Yeah, that was another one I remembered after I’d hit the post comment button. Still the same though, TV show teaches viewers how to do something and soon enough, those tricks don’t work because the people those tricks initially worked against come up with new measures to prevent someone getting one over on them.

        It’s like a well-known scam that allowed people to wrap a penny in foil to fool parking meters into thinking you’d paid with a coin of higher value. Once the people who make those meters found out, they changed them slightly to prevent that scam/trick/however you see it.

        Still though, I’ll try to find this show online because this kind of thing interests me. I miss Time Warp too, that was a cool show.

        • I’m just happy to be able to mention The Real Hustle to someone and they know what it is! Haha.

          • Everyone and everything has its flaws ,one of which being not being able to recognize some flaws in ones self. What if ur mind could process and see these flaws and not only see them but perfect them naturally in the mind making them work the way u want …….to bad Iccan’tget ahold of this nNat Geoshow i know enough stuff but not internet savy….oxymoronic that i know all this stuff but ccan’t figure a way to contact the show. Sent emails no response…..

        • Not really. The “trick” he used to get out of the speeding ticket was respect the police officer’s intelligence (admit he was speeding), show he’s not a threat (light on, hands on wheel), then make the officer his buddy (by making him laugh). Sure it won’t work on/for everyone, but I’m pretty sure nobody will change anything because Brian revealed those dark dark secrets.

          Or for example in the house episode, his “tricks” to protect your home is stuff like get a good alarm code, don’t have your key lying around near your door in an obvious place and don’t trust a cheap safe that’s not bolted down. Again, things that will still be useful tips even after the show “revealed” them.

    • I would imagine that’s the point of revealing things like this. It forces criminals or exploiters to abandon those ways and spend time thinking of others because people are now on the look out for the trick.

  2. very nice… cant be nearly as good as myth busters though!

  3. hopefully he can show me how to package my dope so dogs can sniff it…

    • was hoping someone else was a fan of rage select, love a bit of jeff and jason. hope this turns into a series cause if anyone deserves success and fame it is jason murphy

  4. It is a different beast then myth busters, that I like. In this you learn things you did not know you needed or wanted to know. Such as the car dome light, that is respecting the officer. I learned need to know things in a fun ways. I was blown away at how much a pro Brian was, though I should not have been surprised . Jason and Brian’s persanailty compliment each other. I thought this was the pilot. Very disappointed it was/is not.

  5. This show looks awesome!

  6. Okay this show is great …someone reading this help it get to the editors of the show. All the hacks are valid but some are missing certain components that ethier made the star of the show unable to complete the hack. Or he completed the hack but the hack needed more intimate knowledge to make the hack work faster and better.so To the editor or someone who can paste and send this to the right place for Nat Geo . there are three ways to change traffic lights on suburban streets and most of them are faster than 13 second to change the traffic light. Or how about the reason why vhs. Cassettes were outsourced early by the invention of the CD and player conveniently in time to keep people from knowing what else a vhs tape player machine could read . a hack could be…Iwould write more ….but tthat’sit for u 4 now. WWon’tgive away secrets to the wrong people………….have a greatfull timeO:-)

  7. Not to be negative but he should be explaining that hack he is using to get his show. every episode I watched there may have been one or 2 nifty things or nifty to the brain because its something you havent thought of however, there are many things I watched that this man spoke about and really had no clue of what he was talking about. The fact of the matter acting like your in the know will get ppl to watch the show. There is being mindful and there is mindfull.

  8. Bad acting, obnoxious host, “hack” television at best.

  9. I feel like me and my 3 friends are your only viewers, and we look forward to making fun of how dumb this show is every week,