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Living every pop-culture enthusiast's dream of talking back at the
industry's bottom-of-the-barrel refuse, at least those samples they could
get their fingers on, the marooned janitor Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson)
his bots Tom Servo (first Josh Weinstein, then Kevin Murphy) and Crow T.
Robot (Trace Beaulieu, later Bill Corbett) have, at least in the minds of
their countless fans, been elevated to an almost Christ-like status of
brilliantly witty, film-savvy martyrs. Forced to watch atrociously bad
after atrociously bad movie, which they survive only through the use of
their own biting and above all highly educated and sophisticated wit, they
are identification figures for all of us suffering wannabe critics. From
lowbrow to the esoteric, no opportunity for a cutting remark is missed by
these lovable rascals, who practically invented this new way of reviewing
film. It's the dissatisfied moviegoer's commentary track, an option that
should, in my opinion, be included on the DVD releases of pretty much all
major blockbusters released today. After all, wouldn't we Mysties just
for an MST3K treatment of the Bay/Bruckheimer movies or Lucas' prequel
trilogy? I'd like to think so.
Now for the development of the series: The KTMA years were still pretty sketchy and mostly unscripted, but did nevertheless successfully create the foundation of the show, firmly establishing its format. Though many of its episodes were forgettable, there were some true standout moments. One of these was their treatment of Sandy Frank's `Fugitive Alien' series, which would be repeated and perfected in MST3K's third season. The official first season was still not quite up to the quality we're so used to now, but it provided the show with some of its most memorable host segments and catch phrases, namely Servo's romantic infatuation with the ship's water cooler and `Hi-Keeba!'
Season two to six represents the shows golden years, wonderfully covering many of the `Gamera' and `Godzilla' films, other Sandy Frank abominations like `Time of the Apes', many ambitious Bert I. Gordon and Roger Corman misfires, the Italian `Hercules' series and, of course, Hal Warren's classic `Manos: The Hands of Fate', still the most infamous of all MST3K movies (the wonderful Torgo became a memorable recurring character throughout the show).
In the middle of the fifth season Joel Hodgson left the show and was replaced by the equally great Mike Nelson, who served as head writer all through the series. With the change of the host also came a change of the shows tone. Joel was an exceedingly amiable, pleasant fellow - a great balance to the scathingly sardonic Crow and pompous, overeducated Servo. Mike was still likable, but generally favored a much darker brand of humor. Thus, by the end of the 8th season, the show had become far less jovial in their treatment of the films, some comments being downright spiteful (for instance, the Canada song in `The Final Sacrifice').
As for the villainous mad scientists, Dr. Forrester (again, Trace Beaulieu) and his assistant TV's Frank (Frank Coniff) were later replaced by Dr. Forrester's mother (the positively Dawn Frenchian Mary Jo Pehl) and her assistants, Professor Bobo (again, Kevin Murphy) and Observer (again, Bill Corbett). Needless to say, it was not really a worthy replacement, and the quality of the host segments decreased considerably. Nevertheless, MST3K still produced some incredibly funny episodes, on par with (if not superior to) the best of their early work. `Puma Man', `Space Mutiny', `Overdrawn at the Memory Bank' and `Prince of Space' are unarguable classic episodes I would not want to live without.
All in all, an absolutely amazing show of quite consistent quality.
Simple concept, brilliantly executed. Three little shadows aiming poisonous barbs at unintentionally hilarious films, most of them 1950s-era sci-fi and horror turkeys. "I Accuse My Parents," "The Giant Gila Monster," "The Girl In Lovers' Lane," "Teenage Strangler," the list of my personal favorites could go on and on. The shows with Joel Hodgson were especially well-done, and one hopes that we will hear again from this very funny fellow. For unclear reasons, only the recent shows from the sci-fi channel run (the shows from the comedy channel run were far superior) are being re-run. One wishes that one of the myriad of cable and/or satellite channels would re-run the classic shows we know and love. Also, a nice set of DVD releases (unlike the cheap, single show DVDs which have been produced) would be welcomed.
I feel that I am at a loss of words to describe how much I truly adore this show. It is pure genius and pure delight. I remember my first ever encounter with MST3K: It was five years ago and the featured movie of the episode was Hobgoblins. I had heard about the show but had never really had an interest in seeing it. I came across it channel surfing and decided to watch it for awhile. At that moment, I was forever hooked. Since then, I have seen every Sci-Fi era episode and roughly half of the show's Comedy Central days. I have been exposed to some of the worst movies in history, and I have loved every minute of it. When I found out that the show was ending its run of original episodes in 1999, I was devastated. Fortunately, Sci-Fi has kept re-runs of MST3K going every Saturday. My only complaint is that its not on enough. Rhino has made the wise decision to release select episodes of MST3K from the Comedy Central era on video and DVD, making the show readily available to a new generation of fans. Hopefully, someday every episode of the show's prestigious run will be released for human consumption, or at least it will go into wide syndication like many beloved TV classics. Until then, tune into the Sci-Fi channel every Saturday morning and witness a true work of genius in progress.
This stuff cracks me up every time I watch it. I've been watching for about
5 years now and I still choke on Oreos when I'm watching.
Lots of comments flipped out there that are vague or obtuse and you just laugh at the sarcastic wit that comes at you a mile a minute.
I still have a fondness for the "Joel" shows but Mike has a take no these movies that's just as funny. And the robots, in the SOL theater or deck are great too. I REALLY miss Dr. Forester!!
Not much else for me to say about this series except that it is my
favorite show. Anyone who has stayed up way past midnight watching and
heckling bad (REALLY bad) movies with friends will appreciate the humor of
Admittedly, MST3K isn't for everyone (alas, one man's idea of genius is another man's utter crap), but if you give it a try (and have a warped sense of humor) you just might like it.
I see I'm not alone in my belief that this was one of the most innovative and hilarious shows on television. I'm interested in buying the first season or few, if you have any information on where I can find this please e-mail me.
I love MST3K. True, once in a while you'll get a bad episode (hey, you try making fun of bad old movies) but for the most part they're hilarious. It's an acquired humor for sure but I think it's one of the best things on TV. If there's one bad thing about the show, it's the often uninspired host segments. No offense guys but keep to the movies!
There is nothing I can possibly say about this show that hasn't already been
said. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece of television shows. Amazing how
something made a bunch of general unknowns manages to be funnier than nearly
all those big name sitcoms on TV; thus, it's kinda like those little known
indie flicks that pop up out of nowhere & manage to be better than most of
today's more popular films (1 such indie flick is "Cube," which was just
Words simply cannot even begin to describe the incalculable brilliance of this beautiful show. The writing is just so unbelievably funny. In fact, the only shows that even come close to this are "The Drew Carey Show," "South Park," "The Simpsons," (of course) & "Celebrity DeathMatch."
If you want to know the plot of the whole series, then go to mst3kinfo.com & look up The Almost But Not Quite Complete History of MST3K. It's quite long, but it's definitely worth it. I haven't seen every episode, but all the ones I have seen are superb. I don't have a favorite yet, but I will some day.
However, it's incomprehensibly sad that this never got better exposure & hype; if that happened it could've been a cultural icon as big as "The Simpsons." Sadly, it will forever be known to the general public as "that show with the guy & the robots making fun of the bad movies." But to fans, it will live on forever as an enduring classic. In my opinion, this & "Celebrity DeathMatch" are the Greatest Television Shows of All Time. Until I post again, I live you with the the words that closed out this beautiful work of television art:
"Is that Stud coming?"
ROCK ON, "MST3K!"
MST3K was one of the BEST shows on cable on TV for that matter! In my opinion the funniest episodes were "Jackfrost", "Hurculese", "Werewolf", & "Hurculese vs The Moonmen". This show is so greatly missed by me & everyone I know. I will continue to record all the repeats I can find. Thank god "Sex & The City" hasn't been cancelled yet :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a movie person, reading person, and computer person. I don't watch TV
much, and most series recently are dull.
My point is that I don't like TV. But this is one of the three exceptions. It is originally about Joel Robinson, who is better at inventing than Dr. Clayton Forrester. Because of this, Joel is sent up into space to watch the worst movies ever made. But, as Joel says, "When you've got lemons, you make lemonade." He makes fun of these films with two robots he invented, Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, while the Sattelite of Love is operated by Gypsy, another robot, and we see the show through Cambot's view.
In season 5, the Mads (Forrester and TV's Frank) are plotting the death of Michael J. Nelson, and Gypsy thinks they are talking about Joel. So Mike tells her that there is an escape pod (hidden in a box marked Hamdingers) and can help Joel escape, but it only holds him. He escapes, and Mike is sent up to watch the films.
in season 7, Frank is taken into Second Banana Heaven by the angel Torgo. (Torgo was in "Manos: Hands of Fate" which is universally agreed the worst film EVER.) And in the final episode on Comedy Central, Deep 13 is the place Forrester has been hiding for a long time, but due to funding, he is forced to close it. As Mike and the Bots are about to enter Earth's atmosphere (which will kill them), they barely escape, and become pure energy and leave the solar system. Dr. Forrester watches himself grow old, and seeing a tape labeled "The Worst Film Ever Made," turns into a Star Child. (2001: A Space Oddysey is what they are spoofing.)
For Comedy Central, it's over, but in 1997, it was ressurected. The gang learns that Pearl Forrester has killed Dr. Forrester, and is now sending them movies. Pearl is Dr. Forrester's mother, and with Observer and Bobo, go to ancient Rome, ending in Bobo accidentally burning it down. They then go somewhere (I don't know), and in season nine, go to Castle Forrester.
(Spoilers Ahead) In the final episode, Pearl is playing with a joystick that controls the SOL, but breaks it, sending them to Earth. They survive, and Mike, Crow and Tom live in an apartment, watching bad movies. Gypsy starts ConGypsCo.
If you want a short summary: It's about making fun of bad movies, and it does that well. Some people like me are MSTies, or fans. We don't want to give up, and some won't. And if you want my opinion, watch it on the Sci-Fi channel. If it's gone, go to Blockbuster and get some episodes. No matter which, they are funny. If you want my opinion for video, get "Pod People," and if you're lucky to find it on Sci-Fi, wait fo Hobgoblins, Soultaker, and Danger Diabolik. JUST WATCH ONE-you'll never regret it.
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