Furze World Wonders: Glossy, Fiery and Not as Fun

 

If you’ve never heard of Colin Furze, go look him up on YouTube. Since 2006, the former plumber has made hundreds of videos in which he builds and tests crazy contraptions. Starting today, he gets his own original series on the platform, called Furze World Wonders (which sounds like “First World Wonders” in his decidedly un-posh British accent).

Up until now, Furze used his mad scientist sensibilities to amuse himself. Each video basically consisted of Furze reenacting that line from Jurassic Park about being so consumed with whether you can do something that you don’t take the time to ask if you should. It resulted in clips where Furze laughed maniacally while riding a flaming jetbike or a bike with ice for wheels—all scored with high-energy punk rock. It was fun if a bit scrappy, but Furze World Wonders is more polished and focused in both in intent and production.

The series–which comes in episodes of around 20 minutes–is driven by an altruistic streak as Furze invents things for his fans. The second episode finds Furze building a new tour van for a band called Bamboo, who have a self-described “pop with a post-rock punch” sound. In typical Furze fashion, he doesn’t create a vehicle just for transporting equipment. He builds them a mobile venue complete with pyrotechnics. It’s the kind of thing he wouldn’t have had the financial or personnel resources to build before and that widening of possibilities is arguably the best thing about Furze World Wonders.

That said, there is something lost in watching him go corporate. While Furze is more hands-on in the first episode, where he builds a temporary BMX park for a group of riders, he’s basically just a host in the second. Part of the fun of Furze’s original videos was watching him MacGyver the machines together and while he builds a giant, flaming bike wheel in the first episode, all he really does in the second is modify a previous flaming guitar design (the man loves fire, if you can’t already tell) and have his childlike excitement dampened by the wet blanket member of his build team.

Frankly, the overall series is a little light on the build details. Though the BMX’ers and the band will eventually have to live with whatever Furze creates, they’re surprisingly absent from the process. For the first episode, that’s no big deal. The BMX park is temporary, but for Bamboo, the vehicle Fruze creates will become their permanent touring van. It would make sense for them to have a lot of input. However, all the band really does pre-reveal is appear at the beginning to watch their old “tour bus” (what appears to be an old RAV4) get crushed and practice skidding a semi-trailer on a driving course. While the first scene has a certain anarchic, destructive appeal and the second ensures the band doesn’t end up dying in their new Furze-approved vehicle, the show would be better served showing their involvement (if any) in the design process. Without it, the viewer is left to wonder whether or not the band actually likes the finished product.

Though the members of Bamboo seem thrilled by their new tour van at first blush, it’s hard not to wonder how they’ll actually use it. Cool as the mobile venue aspect is, the vehicle as a whole isn’t very practical. There are only two real seats for the band of four. Are two of the guys really going to sit in the back with all the equipment and no seatbelts? Is there AC back there or in the cab, for that matter? Are they really going to risk using their gear as furniture when the van is in motion? They’re the kind of boring considerations Furze never had to deal with when he was inventing things for himself and it sort of takes some of the fun out of it.

Still, as long as you don’t think too hard, Furze World Wonders is really fun. The titular host is always fun to watch and his utter delight at the contraptions he and his team create is infectious. Sure, going legit has taken away some of the scrappy rebelliousness that made his channel so fun to watch, but just imagine what he can create with a real budget and a whole team working behind him. Ice bikes were just the beginning.

Rating: 8/10

The first episode of Furze World Wonders is available to watch for free.

By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to.