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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (TV Series 1988-1999)J: Starring Joel
Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu, Jim Mallon,
Bridget Jones, Paul Chaplin, Mary Jo Pehl, Frank Conniff, Patrick
Brantsen, J. Elvis Weinstein, Jann Johnson, Beth McKeever, Peter
Rudrud, Alexandra Carr, Bradley J. Keely, Faye Burkholder, Robert
Czech, Eli Kenneth Mallon, Daniel Breyer....Director Trace Beaulieu,
Joel Hodgson, Jim Mallon, Kevin Murphy, Michael J. Nelson...Script Joel
Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Jim Mallon, Frank Conniff, Paul Chaplin, Kevin
"Mystery Theater 3000" was a highly successful horror film showcase on cable television. When it premiered in 1988, it was unlike any other horror film showcase in that it was FUNNY! Everything, including the films, were marked with comic remarks from the principal characters who hosted the show. The series ended in 1999, about a decade later. The premise: Michael J. Nelson (who was the head writer) and at times the other host Joel Hodgson (yet another writer on the show), are subject to punishment from Pearl Forrester, a gruff female forest ranger (possibly a lesbian), an unintelligent Planet of the Apes ape Bobo and the brainy Observerer. Forrester hopes to rule the universe and has locked Mike Nelson/Joel and his robot friends Tom Servo, Gypsy and Crow, in their own spaceship where they are forced to watch the worst in B movie horror films. Believe it or not, but some of the films were more than entertaining. Despite cult classic and cheesy, awful films such as "I Was A Teenage Werewolf", "Space Mutiny" and "Viking Women" and others, some of the films were quite good in their badness!! Mike/Joel and the robots constantly speak over the film to make jokes. This was never on standard TV and therefore only cable TV owners in the 1990's were able to enjoy it. This show targeted a young demographic, mostly college-age students. It was a well-written show, due to the fact that most of the writers frequently appeared on the show. A fine show overall.
A mild Mannered Every-man is shot into space by a mad scientist and is
forced to watch the worst Movies of all time. Luckily, he's a handyman,
and he builds himself some robot friends to help him endure the
unfathomably bad bits that Hollywood had to offer. So, basically it's
sort of the plot from Silent Running (1972), but with movies instead of
murders. This show was Mystery Science Theater 3000 and truly it was
brilliant. It ran for 7 years on Comedy Central and 3 Years on The
Sci-Fi Network (spanning 10 years and producing a feature film)! The
movie changes every week, so the strength of the show has a good deal
to do with what movie they are watching. The Show typically comes in 3
Flavors: A) The movie is bad, but ambitiously bad. These are Typically
the funniest/most entertaining episodes, as the jokes come easier at
the films expense. (Example: Time Chasers, The Brain That Woudln't Die)
B) The Movie Features uninteresting/cliché characters, as well as poorly lit/shot scenes. The acting is sub-par. The sheer awfulness of these films is cut by the hilarious jokes and quips. The movies are watchable, but not by much. These episodes can still be quite entertaining, if the jokes really hit. (Examples: Samson Vs. The Vampire Women, The Deadly Mantis)
C) These are the most putrid piles of BUTT-ROT ever known to man. Often these 'films' were written/directed/produced by some random moron who got some friends and family to 'star'. These films should be shot into the sun. These episodes are very hit or miss for most. These movies are truly unwatchable and weird. The average viewer can't endure it, even if the jokes are funny. These are for the hardest of the hardcore fans (Examples: MANOS: The Hands Of Fate, Sky Divers, The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?)
DEFENSE: It might look like a puppet show to those who haven't seen it before. I could understand how some people might even think it looks ridiculous, and to it's critics I say this: get passed the cheesy sets and low budget and use your imagination a little. If you buy into the show's premise, the payout is huge and hilarious. Truly, One of the best television shows of all time.
You know, I bet each of us has seen a movie that just practically
shouts out "AWFUL!" For me, that movie was My Big Fat Greek Wedding,
but that's a story for another day. The point I'm trying to make is
that somewhere out there, there may be a guy who has to sit through all
of history's greatest wastes of celluloid.
In Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K for short), that's just what happens: a human male (Joel Hodgson/Robinson in the earlier seasons, Mike Nelson in the later episodes) is subjected to horrible films. But one aspect that remains constant is that the human is accompanied by his robotic pals Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo (along with supporting droids Gypsy, Cambot and Magic Voice). Since Joel/Mike has no say in the weekly movie choices, he, Crow and Servo just heckle and mock the movies all the way through to keep themselves from going nuts. Depending on the season, our heroes are pursued by the insidious Dr. Forrester, his mother Pearl, TV's Frank and other crazy characters.
During the movie (and an occasional bonus educational short or something), Joel/Mike, Servo, and Crow are all represented by silhouettes at the bottom of the screen. This, in my opinion, is much more realistic than having voice-overs, although the snide remarks sometimes make it hard to follow the movie (if you actually care enough).
Nevertheless, these guys crack a great mixture of obvious and subtle jokes. They don't alienate either the casual viewer or the hardcore trivia wizards. And since many of their flicks hail from the USA in the 1950s/60s, there's time enough to beat up the squeaky-clean, woman-hating, perfect-hair conformity stereotypes present in cinema of that era. Moreover, the producers were careful to pick up only movies that were too horrible to become famous (although Manos: The Hands of Fate owes the majority of its fame to MST3K), yet there are a few episodes with movies featuring well-established sci-fi icons like Godzilla and Gamera.
MST3K has disappeared from television broadcast, but the show is being released on DVD by Rhino Entertainment in boxed sets of four episodes each. It will unfortunately take a very long while for every possible episode to show up, but until then, MST3K has found a loving home in the home video trading scene--possibly inspired by the "keep circulating the tapes" message in the credits of several episodes. (Don't tell the industry bigwigs, though.) Best of all, they're non-sequential, so pop a show in and enjoy one of the thoroughly funniest programs in the universe...
I ADORE this show!!! The premise itself is quite familiar to me -- I
passed the time during those 8th-grade health class films about
grooming and hygiene, amusing my classmates with a running commentary
of wise-cracks as the movie reels whirred.
There is something funny for everyone who watches this show. Growing up during the 70s, I'd fall on the floor anytime the characters would mention some obscure cop show like Mannix or Baretta. But there are just as many funny references to more recent pop culture, so you never feel left out of the joke!
Although the bulk of the show pokes fun at B-grade sci-fi feature films, some of the shows most hilarious moments are when they assault short-subject films. Some of the most memorable are the 1950s plea for girls to consider studying Home Economics in college, a 1960s-ish Chevrolet sales training film, and "Mr. B-Sharp," an unintentionally funny promotional film from Conn, a leading manufacturer of brass musical instruments.
Reserve your seat on the Satellite of Love today!
MST3K is the best show ever created!!! The funniest crap I have seen on
TV!!! And anywhere else!!!! Genius!!! The best ever, cool, funny as hell!!!
The best ever, please come back, this show rules, come on you cannot put
this down because it kicks butt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've just recently gotten into this show, even tho we don't get it here in
New Zealand. Talk about a laugh! I've found some of the early episodes not
that funny. But Mike Nelson is awesome and fresh, and I must say (at the
risk of getting flamed) that I preferred hearing Kevin voicing Crow rather
than Trace. Also Kevin's voice seemed to fit Crow's personality better, I
The latest episodes I thought were better. I've never seen any episodes with Joel as the host so I can't really comment on those. But the ones I have seen (Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was one of them) were very very funny and very clever. Now to find an NZ TV network that wants to show it...it would be an excellent addition to any Saturday night schedule here.
What can I say about this brilliant show? For starters, IT ROCKS!!! I remember being 9 years old (I discovered this show in early 1993) again staying home EVERY Friday, and Saturday night just to watch this show when it used to be on Comedy Central (I also catch reruns on the Sci-Fi Channel). I also joined the fan club shortly after I started watching, and was a Member for about 3 years (1993-1996). Anyways, for those who have never watched this piece of brilliance, here's the show's premise: A guy (well 2 guys during the show's run), and his robot companions are in outer space, and have to endure watching horrible movies which has to do with a mad scientist's (Dr. Forrester) plan to take over the world with bad movies. What makes the show really good is how Joel (replaced with Mike Nelson later on), and his robot friends Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot, make fun of these horrible movies they have to watch. They make these movies fun to watch because of their ridiculing of them (which is brilliant!!!). Any show that has a premise like this is solid gold, and deserves a shot of greatness in TV history. ALL HAIL MST3K THE GREATEST SHOW IN TV HISTORY!!!! 10/10!!!!!!
Ever since one Mr. Thomas Edison invented the motion picture as we know it today, there have been bad movies. The creation of the 'talkie' only made things worse, opening the floodgates for hordes of awful writers and magnifying the faults of bad actors. The only defense against this constant onslaught of mass-produced idiocy? Ridicule. Yes, making fun of the movie; sarcasm as self-defense. But while people had been making fun of bad movies for ages, it was Mystery Science Theatre 3000 that elevated it to an art form. Thanks to Joel, Mike and company, a terrible movie can now be (in its own way) more fun than a good one. Incorrigible smart-alecks like myself are no longer constantly elbowed and told to shut up when we notice that a movie is awful. Well, not as much. The "No Talking" signs in movie houses have become totally meaningless (though the invention of the cell phone played a part in this as well). Being a pop-culture junkie is no longer the earmark of a loser: any and all useless knowledge of movies, TV and music can know be used as ammunition to combat the "Manos: The Hands of Fate"s of the world. Okay, there's absolutely no way to combat Manos, but any other movie is now safe for public consumption. It's true that the show itself may have become a bit stale in its last years; the host segments certainly seemed to lose their sting as the cast continued to change. The 'plot' behind the imprisonment of Mike, Crow and Tom Servo on the Satellite of Love became increasingly twisted and confusing, but that was never really the important thing. What mattered were the gags, the hard work and dedication that went into the week-long process of watching a bad movie over and over to unearth the proper way to mock it really showed on air. And it was this work ethic -- the unfailing desire to get it all just right, to make it as funny as it could possibly be -- that would inspire countless viewers for the show's eleven-year run, and untold decades afterwards. Hollywood has given us lots of garbage over the years, and now, thanks to these pioneers, we have a way to fight back. Viva La Revolucion!
I have only known about MST3K for a couple of years, but it rates as one of the funniest programs I have ever seen. If you have never heard of it before, MST3K is a hokey show where this guy, Mike, is stuck in space with a few robot friends and is tortured by a woman who wants to take over the world. The really weird part is that she tries to torture him by making him watch really, REALLY bad movies as a way to test if this form of torture will work on the rest of the world. Well, Mike and his friends repeatedly thwart her plans by making jokes about the movie while it's playing. What makes it so funny are the jokes that they tell. These jokes range from the extremely subtle to downright crude, and no matter how many times I watch an episode, I almost always discover a new joke that I didn't understand before. I remember one subtlety that I didn't notice until I was taking quantum mechanics in graduate school. Who would have thought you'd ever need to know who Richard Feynman was to get a joke?! This show is currently on the Sci-Fi channel on Saturdays, and I HIGHLY recommend that you watch it. Even my straight-faced father got a kick out of it. (Believe me, if you knew you him, you'd realize that it has to be funny to get a laugh out of him).
This has to be the greatest show ever and I have loved it for years. I personally protested against comedy central when they took it off the air so when the sci-fi channel put it on I was so happy. The show rocks but I miss Joel, Frank and Dr.Forrester.
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