Stuff Blowing Up / Live-Action TV

  • An honorary spot for this trope goes to the German action TV series Alarm für Cobra 11. A series about a team of highway cops in which cars explode on the slightest impact with other vehicles walls, trees or anything that touches something else than their wheels. Even a car just scraping a tunnel wall would explode just giving the driver enough time to bail out of the vehicle and run away. In later seasons of the show the directors cut down on the vehicle explosion rate.
  • Babylon 5: Sheridan's answer to the capital city of the Shadows is one medium-sized starship and a gigaton of nuclear explosives. The results are predictable.
  • British show Brainiac: Science Abuse ended most episodes with an "explosive of the week" segment, where three scantily clad women set up an explosive, detonated it, and gave the explosion a score. Other had similar gags, such as a golf pro putting into a hole to cause a trailer to blow up, and various No Celebrities Were Harmed style setups like "Tina Turner and her Bunsen Burner," all of which ended with something blowing up. The show also seemed to try and throw thermite in at any excuse they could come up with. One of the show's stated goals is to destroy as many caravans as possible (until recently, it shared a presenter with Top Gear).
  • In the Season 3 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they blew up the entire high school (to take out a giant demon snake). Reportedly, the actual explosion got the production team into hot water: not only was it at 5am, but it set off car alarms, broke windows and woke up a whole lot of people. They never filmed at that location again.
  • It's a rare episode of Burn Notice that doesn't feature something blowing up.
  • Castle blew up Kate's apartment. She survives.
  • The ability to blow things up is actually Piper's second power in Charmed. It's explained as the natural progression of her first power to stop time: at first she halted molecular movement, and now she can accelerate it.
  • The eventual fate of the space simulator on Community.
  • On The Daily Show, voting is so awesome, it explodes.
    Stephen Colbert: Jon, um... Did you set fire to Dick Gephardt?
    Jon Stewart: That's right, Stephen. We lit former Majority Leader of the House, Dick Gephardt, on fire. And then we blew him up.
  • The Discovery Channel TV show Destroyed in Seconds is all about this Trope.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Things have a distinct tendency to explode around the Doctor — and by "things", we mean anything from computers to (on thankfully rare occasions) entire planets. The Tenth is actually disappointed when Every Car Is a Pinto doesn't happen in "The Sontaran Stratagem".
      The Doctor: [disappointed] Is that it?
    • The companions are generally there to help minimise collateral damage, but Ace bucked the trend by bringing her own supply of home-made explosives (Nitro-9) on her travels. The Doctor tended to discourage this... except when it was useful to him ("Hand me some of that Nitro-9 you're not carrying").
      • No, let's talk about this TARDIS team for a moment. Seven and Ace were the only team to actively seek out bad guys in order to blow them up. And in the Big Finish Doctor Who expanded universe, it gets better. The Doctor basically just sighs and decides that scolding Ace for bringing along the explosives basically isn't worth the effort. Okay Ace, you can go blow up that evil from the dawn of Time if you want to. Just don't forget to wear your jacket, it's cold out there!
    • Naturally, this was lampshaded on occasion, like this scene from "The Pirate Planet":
      Romana: What about the Bridge and the time dams?
      The Doctor: Bridge and time dams, K9?
      K9: Piece of cake, master. Blow them up.
      Romana: Isn't that a bit crude?
      The Doctor: Well — it's a bit crude, but immensely satisfying.
    • In the surviving footage from "The Evil of the Daleks" episode 7, there is an explosion every few seconds. Shortly before the clip cuts out, a Dalek goes bang.
    • Despite having a single series of only thirteen episodes, the Ninth Doctor caused a lot of explosions in his short run. Blows up a department store, causes the last pure human to combust, bombs Downing Street (well, okay, that last one was Mickey, but the Doctor gave him the code to do so), allows a medium to blow up a house on top of the Rift, overheats the Mighty Jagrafess, destroyed the weapons factory at Villengard (offscreen) and visited Krakatoa (offscreen). As Rose so accurately lampshades in "The Doctor Dances", one of the Ninth Doctor's defining traits is that he really loves to blow thing up.
      Rose: First day I met him, he blew my job up! That's practically how he communicates.
  • There is also a TV show called Explosions Gone Wrong, where they explain the causes behind disastrous explosions. These are typically explosions at places that produce or store volatile chemicals. One of the segments includes a storage area for pressurized gas cylinders.
  • Farscape delivers many explosions, probably the most impressive being when they ignited an inhabited moon's atmosphere. Inverted in one two-parter, where their plan is to cause Scorpius' Commander Carrier to slowly implode by Talyn sacrificing himself by Starbursting inside. They opt for this instead of the explody route because this means that most of the Command Carrier's crew will have a chance to escape. But this still causes a lot of burst pipes and other Stuff Blowing Up, which leads to some horror when something explodes in a character's face, instantly burning off most of their skin and hair. Oof.
  • Related to the above, in the commentary for the pilot episode of Firefly, Joss said he hadn't had so much fun since blowing up Sunnydale High during the explosion-ful opening war sequence.
  • In the Game of Thrones episode "Blackwater", Tyrion Lannister has around 8000 jars worth of Wildfire (essentially Greek Fire with magic mixed in) dumped into a river where the enemy is attacking his side's city from with around a hundred ships. After enough ships are close to it, he signals his mercenary, Bronn, to shoot a flaming arrow into the wildfire. The result is about half of the fleet destroyed almost instantly.
  • Ghoulardi was famous for blowing up toys, model cars, etc. on the air. Many of these things were sent in by his faithful viewers.
  • From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy TV Series: "[Disaster Area's] songs are, on the whole, very simple and usually follow the familiar theme of boy-being meets girl-being beneath a silvery moon which then explodes for no adequately explored reason."
  • Horatio Hornblower has more than one, justifiably. Black powder was deadly stuff and there were a number of safety measures enforced on the men whose job was to work with it (it's noted in the books that they wore slippers because a spark from nailed shoes could destroy the ship). The first is a French corvette that gets an unlucky shot to the magazine, then there's a supply ship blown up by a fire ship, and an exploded bridge. In the second series, Horatio, Bush, and Kennedy destroy a fort most impressively. The third, however, takes it to implausible levels thanks to Conspicuous CGI and some serious Plot Armor enforced on the villain.
  • Keeping Up Appearances is a prissy comedy of manners. A church gets blown up.
  • Lost has blown up, to date:
    • Some of the airplane wreckage, Danielle's cabin, Arzt, the Swan station, Michael's raft, the Flame station, the submarine, a bunch of Others, one of the mercenaries, and a freighter. Good thing there's so much dynamite and C-4 on the island!
    • Kate blew up her drunken abusive father after putting him to sleep.
    • Eko tried to blow up the Swan's blast doors, but they call them blast doors for a reason! There was still a big explosion, though.
    • It was a meme at Television Without Pity that John Locke blows things up.
    • Ilana has blown up (leaving her backstory a complete mystery, with just four episodes left). And the rest of the dynamite, along with the Black Rock.
    • Sayid was also killed by an explosion.
  • In M*A*S*H, one episode had the camp experience weather so cold that it was freezing the ground so much that it was contracting around the surrounding land mines enough to trip their detonators and explode seemingly on their own. As Col. Potter, who has seen this happening before, notes "They'll be popping all night."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus blew lots of things up just for the fun of it. "The Exploding Version of the 'Blue Danube'" speaks for itself. No less explosive is the ever-popular "How Not To Be Seen" sketch, which ends in an orgy of Stock Footage explosions. Episode 16 has a Running Gag of random exploding animals, including That Poor Cat (offscreen). Other exploding things in the series include a penguin on a television set and Mrs. Niggerbaiter, whose friend's son says after she spontaneously explodes, "Don't be so sentimental. Things explode every day."
  • The MythBusters usually go out of their way to make sure something gets blown up, set on fire, or otherwise destroyed at least once an episode. Routinely lampshaded to the point where, for one season, host Jamie Hyneman's introductory credit clip was of him declaring "Jamie want big boom!"
    • Possibly the most extreme example is when they blew up a spare, nearly unsalvageable cement mixer with a ridiculous amount of explosives, which required the FBI's assistance, and that everything within a mile of the blast zone be shut down (including a portion of a nearby highway). They openly admitted it had nothing to do with the myth they were testing (whether you could use dynamite to clean the slag from the interior of a cement mixer), and was just a big boom. That was also the scariest explosion they'd ever done. They were standing more than a mile away, but realized they may have miscalculated when pieces of the truck were still landing behind them.
    • They topped that explosion while testing the myth that you could use the pressure generated by an explosion to create a diamond. Vaporizing the cement truck used 800 pounds of explosives. This time they used 5,000 pounds, and it left a crater. (It made diamonds all right, though they were the kind used for industrial processes, not gemstone-quality ones.)
    • One spectacular explosion was not expected, or wanted. Unfortunately, the attempt to redo the JATO car myth in "Supersized Myths" ended prematurely when the rockets malfunctioned.
    • They produced a montage of explosions in the series that was set to Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture".
      Jamie: "That's what we do on Mythbusters, we blow [Sound-Effect Bleep] up."
    • That says something about the show that awesome explosions are the second most interesting thing it has going for it.
  • Referenced in My Wife and Kids, when Michael wanted to see the latest Vin Diesel movie: Stuff Blows Up.
  • Deconstruction in the Austrailian soap Offspring. Where the main character's stalker ex-hubbie repeatedly blows up her possessions in a misguided attempted to win her back. Not Everything Is Better With Explosions it seems.
  • Power Rangers, its parent show Super Sentai, its sister show Kamen Rider, and tokusatsu in general do this a lot. Always there in Power Rangers, but taken to extremes during Bruce Kalish's time on the series, where simply announcing their arrival would cause color-coded explosions behind the Rangers. Particularly Egregious explosions are known as "Kalishplosions" in the fandom.
    • It goes Up to Eleven during the Kalish years (though it seems Koichi Sakamoto is the one who was really fond of them: evidently, someone was reining him in for the first 13-ish years of the franchise.) At one point in "Operation Overdrive", Mack and Moltor pointing their weapons at each other caused enormous explosions (they clearly didn't fire, and don't react to the explosions, which were well in the background.) It got to the point where it was less epic because when the background's never not on fire, you never say "whoa, that attack was powerful" or something.
    • This came under some incredibly heavy lampshading in ''RPM's'' episode "Ranger Blue". When given the opportunity to ask questions about the Ranger tech, Ziggy asks:
    Ziggy: Sometimes when I morph, I can't help but notice this gigantic explosion right behind me for no apparent reason.
    • This, combined with the fact that gratuitous booms were a Chekhov's Gag brought up later in the episode, has earned them the second nickname of "Ziggysplosions".
    • Kagaku Sentai Dynaman. Yes, this is Super Sentai. Yes, it's really called that. Their In the Name of the Moon phrase is simply: "Explode! Kagaku Sentai Dynaman!" Also, when they arrive for the main battle with the Monster of the Week, their entrance is always streams of energy in each Dynaman's color touching down in the BBC Quarry, creating a huge explosion that clears to reveal the team. More explosions happen at the end of their posing routine.
    • Lampshaded again in Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger when four of the heroes do their roll call inside the base. Before they finish, the mentor reminds them where they are and warns them to hold back. They just whisper "Zyuden Sentai... Kyoryuger!" with tiny puffs of smoke appearing behind them.
    • In one episode of GoGo Sentai Boukenger, Satoru, suffering from a bad luck spell, is set on fire by the the explosions that always happen when the team goes through their poses and announces themselves.
  • Reno 911! is known to feature gratuitous explosions in unlikely circumstances. For example, in one episode, Deputy Junior gingerly disposed of the feces of a police dog that had accidentally consumed a large amount of C4 explosive. Lieutenant Dangle then unknowingly tossed something into the garbage can, causing a massive, fiery explosion.
  • Republic of Doyle: A car seems to explode in most episodes, though occasionally they merely have a large truck plow through a building.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles absolutely loves explosions. But being a Terminator series, that's just sensible.
  • Saturday Night Live
  • In the SCTV recurring sketch "Farm Film Report", its hick critics preferred films with this trope ("Blowed up real good!"). They loved Scanners and were awfully disappointed Blowup for not actually having stuff blowing up in it (they did like Zabriskie Point though). They also had every celebrity interview end with the celebrity essentially willing themselves to blow up, and would end their show with the catchphrase "May the Good Lord take a likin' to ya and blow ya up real soon!" And they would themselves explode.
  • The opening scene of the season 2 premiere of Shark ended with a bus containing a witness to a mob hit exploding just outside of the courthouse. It wasn't hugely relevant to the plot, but it was lovingly replayed in slow motion several times throughout the episode, both before and after commercial breaks. Well, it was quite a lovely explosion.
  • "The Great Game" in Sherlock begins with Moriarty blowing up a building opposite Sherlock's flat. He then rigs several hostages with exploding vests, challenging Sherlock to solve cold cases in exchange for their freedom. He sticks to the rules unless the hostages start describing him, in which case - boom.
  • Smallville probably has the most serious usage of Stuff Blowing Up than anything. Sometimes it is difficult to find an episode without an epic explosion. Just in season one, we have a classroom combustion ("Hothead"), greenhouse explosion ("Craving"), car explosion ("Metamorphosis"), bus near-explosion ("Rogue"), gas canister explosion ("Drone") and a gas-line explosion ("Obscura").
  • Stargate Atlantis features an episode where characters get infected with explosive tumors, turning them into unwitting suicide bombers. The awesomeness of the episode is reduced by the fact that people die, and is completely pooched when Beckett dies at the end thanks to gratuitous Idiot Ball. Well, he was warned, the other characters tried to stop him, and he wanted to prove he was a badass doctor who could solve any medical issue.
  • Stargate SG-1 also blows things up quite frequently, generally alien ships. In one episode, Sam Carter blows up a sun. Teal'c once commented about a show-within-a-show:
    Teal'c: I do not understand why everything in this script must inevitably explode.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part Two" (S02, Ep22), when the Devil's Gate open, black smoke explodes in a cloud covering the landscape with lightning and streaks of light.
  • One Comedy Channel ad for "Super Sitcoms" featured at least two cars exploding. All it needs now is footage of a giant robot, and we have the new Awesome Channel.
  • Every time a caravan is used on Top Gear, the presenters make a point to blow it up at the end. When they went on a full-blown caravan holiday they set it on fire and it went a little further than expected. It ended with them towing the burnt-out shell of the caravan back to London. Clarkson also directly invoked the trope when challenged to make an advert for a VW car, inserting random explosions into sequences such as a funeral.
  • Torchwood blew up bits of Cardiff in "Exit Wounds" and the Elaborate Underground Base and Jack Harkness himself. in the Children of Earth miniseries.
  • The Ultra Series loves this trope to death. In the vast majority of episodes (especially those of later series; earlier series tended to feature more Family Unfriendly Deaths), whenever the Ultramen kill the Monster of the Week with their beams, its body is vaporized in a tremendous explosion (though for some reason, the explosion never destroys it surroundings). Beyond the obvious Rule of Cool, it also serves to make the deaths more family-friendly and cement the monsters as Deader Than Dead. Outside of the dead monsters, explosions frequently pop up in the monsters' rampages and the attack team firing upon them with their laser guns and fighter jets.
  • Even low action quotient teen mystery drama Veronica Mars managed to have a plane blow up.
  • The X-Files loved this trope.