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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The most intelligent show ever seen by the
eyes of man, and created by man too.
This show greatly critiques the acts and creations of our imperfect society by making various remarks throughout the 'host segments' and 'movie segments' and makes good hilarity in the process.
If you have never seen it, you have to! I'd greatly recommend it for geeks and the fashionable alike, though the geeks seem to understand it a lot more.
The best comedy series ever. The range of humor, from lowbrow to extremely
sophisticated, is amazing. Despite numerous cast changes over its ten-year
run, it maintained a high quality and its final season was no less funny
than the others. The writing was top notch, the performances hilarious,
their treatments of the abysmal films they mocked proved that you CAN make
silk purses from sows' ears. Certainly, a station with greater resources
than Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel could have delivered the audience
the show deserved, but, sadly, this was not the case, and its second
cancellation was final. No TV program has enchanted me the way MST3K did,
and I still mourn its cancellation more than a year after the fact. Catch
it while reruns are still being aired! I don't expect them to continue
much, if at all, into 2001. If you manage to see it, I guarantee you'll be
heading to Rhino Videos to order tapes of the old episodes, and contacting
fans to obtain copies of newer ones.
I am in my forties, yet Servo and Crow, the two main robot puppets, became as real to me as any human character on TV. Along with the rest of the cast, they became friends with whom I looked forward to spending a couple of hours every Saturday morning. Invite some real friends over to watch it--it's much better as a group experience. Once again, catch it in reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel while you still can!
"Mystery Science Theater 3000" does what we'd all love to do when
watching a bad movie, but hesitate due to courtesy or our own lack of
wit: Offer our own biting commentary on the wretchedness before us. For
12 seasons, this sleeper cult TV hit used this idea (one that can never
grow old because there will always be bad movies) to hilarious
advantage. The plot was as follows: mad scientists Dr. Clayton
Forrester and Dr. Larry Earhart (who was replaced one year later by
doofy henchmen TV's Frank, who proved much more popular) run Gizmonics
Institute. They have such an irrational dislike to quirky, sleepy-eyed
custodian Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson, the show's creator), that they
blast him into space on the "Satellite of Love". As if that weren't bad
enough, they force poor Joel to sit through bad movie day after day to
study their effects on our hero's brain. Well, space gets pretty
lonely, so Joel builds himself four robot companions (according to the
show's theme, they're built from parts that could have helped him
"control when the movies begin and end"). The main robots are suave
smart-ass and occasional crooner Tom Servo (who is made from a gumball
machine) and abrasive pop culture fiend Crow, a bizarre, gold,
bird-like thing. There's also Gypsy, who controls the main functions of
the ship and has a girlish crush on B-actor Richard Basehart, and
Cambot, who tapes the show. Every week our hapless captives were sent
an awful movie (just a reminder, these are REAL movies, and they have
to be seen to be believed), each more horrendous than the last. Bad
acting, cheesy scenery, plots that range from silly to reprehensible,
lame special effects, laughable fashion, stilted dialogue, these movies
have it all. Yet Joel and his plucky pals have a secret weapon: their
never-ending supply of wisecracks at the rubbish they're forced to
watch. Everything that comes out these guys' mouths is a comedic gem.
Servo: What do you think the lesson of the movie was? Crow: Don't watch it.
Like all long running shows, "MST3K" went through many changes. Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank moved from Gizmonics to Deep 13, a lair located at the core of the Earth. Joel Hodgson left the show in 1993 and was replaced by one of the show's writers, Michael J. Nelson. Like the fictional Joel Robinson, "Mike Nelson" was an affable, All-American temp working in Deep 13 who was much disliked by the mad scientists (Dr. Forrester called him a "mild-mannered boob"). When Joel miraculously escapes after seeing the Joe Don Baker crapfest "Mitchell", Mike was immediately blasted into the Satellite of Love in Joel's place, and stayed for the rest of the show's run. Mike was an excellent replacement, having a slightly different comedic style than Joel, but still getting plenty of laughs. While Joel was more laid back and wry, Mike tended to be more blunt with his remarks during movies ("Did ANYONE know how to run in the '50s?" he quips during a horror film). Five years and one movie later, Dr. Forrester's mother Pearl was the main villain, along with her henchmen: Bobo, a simian professor, and the Observer, or "Brain Guy", a cloaked genius who transported movies with the power of his mind. No show has ever had one formula that stayed fresh for so long, and it's still a cult favorite that's a hit on DVD. Mike Nelson even keeps it up with Riff Trax, a web site where you can download his skewers of bad mainstream films like "Road House" and "The Phantom Menace". Yet the fine art of making fun of cheesy movies will belong to those silhouetted three chaps who tear sub par movies a new one. Yup, I stand by my statement: Best. Cult show. EVER!!
To this day, I still believe Joel Hodgson to be the funniest, most inventive man in television, and "Mystery Science Theater 3000" proves that I speak the truth. While I think most of us agree that the show really lost something when he left the series, when Frank left, when Dr. F left, and when it moved to the Sci-Fi Channel, I also think that most of us agree that it remained side-splittingly hilarious to the end. Even the very first KTMA shows were funny, although they are quite different from what a lot of us are used to. I hope that a lot of fans have had the luck to see these, because not only are they funny, they are also interesting as the beginning of MST3K. They aren't as bad as they are described in the episode guide. I wish they had been nationally broadcast when they were new, though. Still, I couldn't believe it when I found out this was leaving, I just sat there with my mouth open. Even so this is the best Satire ever made, as is the 1996 movie. Note, if you've read my review on "M*A*S*H" you'll notice that I said that was the best sitcom ever made. And it's true, it's a sitcom, a 30 minute show with a studio audience. This is a satire program, running 2 hours, less without the commercials. So in conclusion, this show along with "M*A*S*H" are the best TV shows ever, EVER made, and no show will ever pass them up, period.
It's sad that this series was cut so short - even though it lasted 11 seasons, they still had a mountain of stinky movies that they could have done. The ones they did do, however, really deserved it in most cases. One of the testaments of how good the series was is that even though it's not had any new episodes since 1999, the repeats on the sci-fi channel are still attracting fans. The premise is that an evil mad scientist has captured a guy, shot him into space and forces him to watch really bad movies, one a week. He's a test subject for finding the worst movie ever made and then the scientist will broadcast it into everyone's mind, causing their minds to collapse and then he would take over the world. Helping our hero out are two cobbled together robots he made. Maybe someday someone will make a 'next generation' type sequel to this series. I hope I can live to see it.
since i live in scotland it's next to impossible to see the show here except
by buying the episodes from amazon.com (they're £10 a piece so its cheaper
than buying them here :D) the episodes i have seen so far have never been
short of absolutely hilarious from the 2nd season "Godzilla vs Megalon" that
was so utterly bad it made the 1998 movie look good (i have a proper copy of
it too) to the 9th season "Puma Man" which while not completely bad was
certainly bad enough to get the MSTie treatment. Other classic episodes
would also be "Mitchell" where original host (and series creator) Joel
Hodgson leaves (escaping in a box of hamdingers which i never fully
understand the relevance of) followed by Mike Nelson's (head writer) first
episode "The Brain that Wouldn't Die". Then there is the short, little 10-20
minutue long documentaries about such topics as music (Mr B. Natural surely
a classic) family (A Date with your Family) and water-sports (Aquatic
Wizards) every single line that is uttered in this show is solid gold and
i'm surprised no one has tried to re-new the show for another season or even
tried to make another movie. The movie which basically was another episode
(albeit shorter) took on "This Island Earth" a 1950's Universal
would-be-classic-if-it-wasn't-so-cheesy. Next up for mention would be the
Host Segments in which Joel/Mike and the 'bots (Crow, Tom Servo, Cambot, the
Nanites and Magic Voice?) perform a sketch, usually but not always, based on
the movie they're watching. All this and there is a plot too, which is Dr.
Forrester is trying to take over the world by forcing our friends to watch
these god-awful movies. There is so much stuff to mention and so little
time. Truely it is a classic series however.
The Show : 10/10 The Movie : 9/10
You know, I'm getting kind of tired of people reviewing movies here on IMDB,
based solely on what they saw on TV. Especially movies people saw on Mystery
Science Theater 3000. Now, I'm not saying that MST3K is bad, I think it's
great! It's just that when someone watches the show, and reviews the movie
shown, they have no imagination of their own. I've read reviews for movies
shown on MST3K that directly quote the show. The people have no new material
to joke about and are confined to what Joel or Mike or Tom or Crow find
funny because they cover everything in the movie.
By now, you probably think that I hate the show, but you're wrong. I love it! I watch it every week. I think they bring justice to movies that need justice brought to. They make great jokes and really bring about a thrashing to some movies. But it's when people watch the show and they take a quote from the show, and claim it as their own, that is when I have a problem. Not necessarily with the show, rather with the people who have no independent thought. And they have no independent thought because you really can't joke about a comedy show. It's very hard to find something previously ignored by a show who's job is to find funny things out of every part of something it a movie. I mean, the guys on the show watch one movie at least half a dozen times a week in order to prepare for the actual taping. There are some movies they did that I would go insane watching that many times. Invasion of the Neptune Men was a personal hell for me, as was Hobgoblins (yeah, I really felt agony after watching that movie)
At this point, I have been dodging around my main reason for writing this. I guess after all of this, I am really trying to say, ask, even beg people to get some independent viewing of a movie in order to honestly form an opinion about that movie. You need to find what YOU think is funny, what YOU think is stupid, what YOU think is goofy about said movie, without the help of anybody else. And if that means going out and renting the movie and watching it again, then so be it. You're opinion about the movie has to be yours and yours alone. You need an unspoiled viewing of a movie in order to get your true feelings about that movie.
Many people are wise to the attraction of BAD movies - however poor they are you can sit and gasp 'WHAT WHERE THEY THINKING' or pull holes in the plot/acting/effects/continuity/script. Especially Sci-Fi. And, like myself, you probably rip the mickey out of said films whilst they are watching them. This show takes it one step further - and makes a GOOD job of doing just that for you! And the humour is ALWAYS spot on - so much so that during a recent showing of 'Overdrawn at the Memory Bank (1985)' I laughed so much I almost did SERIOUS damage to myself (and my underwear)!! I just wish this was shown more in the UK. Sci-Fi channel - come on!!! Put it on earlier so us non-vampires can see it! Top class comedy.
basic synopsis: Joel Hodgeson, along with his robots Tom Servo, Crow,
and Gypsy, is held captive thousands of miles above the earth, in the
satellite of love (S.o.L.), where he is forced to endure gruelingly bad
movies. Joel, rather than succumb to the terrifying badness of the
films, makes slapstick puns, which Tom Servo and Crow easily join in
on. Joel also creates weekly inventions for Frank, the man who shot him
into space. Inventions include the comic grinder, which mixes boring
comics with other boring comics to create FUN!!! comics, i.e. "Ziggy
got Garfield neutered?!? NOW THAT'S FUNNY!"
Even after 10 seasons, the humor never ran down or let up. In fact, the only notable difference was the change in humor styling, from Joel to Mike. What happened, basically, was Joel either decided to quit, or was fired from, the cast of MST3K. His replacement was Mike Nelson, who did an equally good job commentating on movies. Anyways, where Joel brought a sarcastic, harsh tone to his humor, Mike gave more of an analytical, joke-by-comparison type of humor. It is very hard to explain, but you should understand once you actually view a couple of episodes.
Overall, there were many decent episodes, such as those from the first season, which were really stepping stones for the MST3K crew to find their real footholds on the show. the jokes were less risqué', and the cast lacked it's flare. Nonetheless, the episodes were still worthy of watching. Titles include: The Crawling eye, the robot versus the Aztec mummy, and Mad Monster. Definitely not a bad group.
However, the third season was where the MST3K really got things cookin'. This was the first season where MST3k appeared on Comedy Central, and it shows. Personally, this, along with season's five and ten, was my favorite season. The episode's were all great, every last one of them, and they all had the necessary emotion put into them. Titles include: Cave Dwellers, Santa Claus conquers the Martians, and fugitive alien. Must see!
Finally, we have the fifth season. Half way through this season, something went wrong with Joel, and thus he was fired. So, starting with episode 514 (Mitchell) we were introduced to Mike Nelson. Do not take this statement the wrong way, this season was great! All of my favorite episodes were packed in here, and above all else, the season had the change that MSTies everywhere were looking for. Titles include: Eegah!, Mitchell, I accuse My Parents
The only other episode I would like to remark on is Manos: The hands of Fate, which is considered to be the worst movie ever made, and, in my opinion, truly is. It is also a great episode, providing lots of hilarious gags, etc. Definite must see.
Overall: MST3K is a 10/10 fa sho.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The man had the best idea ever. Take the crappiest movies ever made and
a show all about making fun of them. It's the idea everyone else wish
thought of first because we all do it. Joel found the formula, and the
perfect way to institute it. Not only that, but because he worked his way
from his initial KTMA studio days and then finally to Comedy Central. The
show later on was adopted by the Sci-Fi Channel after Joel left the show.
haven't seen every episode and the show was on when I was a kid, so there
still a lot I don't know about.
*POSSIBLE SPOILERS* I also love the premise of the show. You learn about the story in the theme song of the show. Joel Robinson works at Gizmonics Institute doing janitorial work, shipping, etc. His bosses, Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV's Frank, didn't like him so they took his red jumpsuit wearin' keister and shot him into space aboard the Satellite of Love. As part of their weekly experiments, they send him the cheesiest movies they can find and force him to watch. A man would go insane having to deal with that all by himself so makes a sacrifice. He can't control when the movie starts or stops because he uses the machinery to make robots. You've got Cambot, who's purpose is to film Joel as he makes his broadcast. Gypsy, the only girl robot aboard (aside from Magic Voice who is just a voice) who keeps the Satellie functioning. Tom Servo, the bubbly little gumball machine. And of course, the legendary Crow T. Robot made from gold parts, famously the bowling pin nose.
I've never been a fan of Mike since his onscreen presence didn't have the same strength as Joel. Mike did a lot of appearances (Torgo, Morrissey, Steve "Hercules" Reeves) prior to taking over as the human. He didn't have great host segments, partially due to the loss of the invention exchanges (which was Joel's fault). I just didn't like the fact that someone took the reigns for Joel and that minor changes were made to the set. Mike did the great writing for the show but his words came out better through Joel, in my opinion.
I think I first saw the show when I was 9 or 10 and just being floored by it. It was on at midnight on Comedy Central, and I would stay up late when I wasn't supposed to so I could watch it. I LOVED IT. I usually didn't make it for the full two hours but watching Joel and the 'bots was amazing to me. The first one I might have seen all of was "King Dinosaur". As time went on, I would tape all the episodes I could. I wanted to get a jumpsuit just like Joel's and I would run around making wisecracks I heard from the show. They released a few movies on tape through Rhino, namely "Catalina Caper", "Manos: the Hands of Fate" (CLASSIC), "The Gunslinger", "Side Hackers", and a few others as well as MST3K Shorts featuring different segments they performed. I'm waiting for them get more out. Other favorites of mine were "King Dinosaur", "Super Agent: Super Dragon", "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", "Hercules Unchained", "Beneath the Ocean Floor" and "Eegah".
It's truly priceless. Awesome series, I wish I could have helped work on it. Turn your lights down (where applicable) and have a Patrick Swayze Christmas.
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