Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New on Video: Giant Spiders and Simian Lawyers in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXIII

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 4:00 PM



sc_40_mst3k-xxxiii.jpg


Ever since the fateful night in 1991 on which I discovered Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show in which a guy and his two robot puppets heckle bad movies, it's been my favorite television series, bar none. I taped every episode until it was canceled for good in 1999, watched them multiple times, and the show largely defined my sense of humor; it's no coincidence that this past March I ended a ten-year run of show at The Dark Room Theater called "Bad Movie Night," essentially a live version of MST3K. (Unlike MST3K, "Bad Movie Night" was unloved at the time and forgotten now, but hey, we tried our best.)

In 2009, I decided it was time to do away with the vast majority of the VHS tapes I'd accumulated in the 1980s and 1990s, including (but not limited to) my huge Mystery Science Theater 3000 collection. All the episodes were available on BitTorrent, often in better quality than my SLP-speed tapes, and most importantly, Shout! Factory had recently acquired the rights to release the show on DVD. That was 2009, and Shout! Factory has been keeping up with their end of the bargain: they're releasing Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXIII on DVD on July 28.
sc_40_mst3k-xxxiii-daddy-o.jpg

That it's the 33rd volume only refers to the order in which Shout! Factory is releasing them; otherwise, there's no real chronology, as the four episodes Daddy-O, Earth vs. the Spider, Teen-Age Crime Wave, and Agent for H.A.R.M. come from the show's third, fifth, and eighth seasons, and have no thematic connections. That's fine, because the series always resisted serialization, though every seasons has its own tone and flavor, not the least of which because host and creator Joel Hodgson (riffing on Daddy-O and Earth vs. the Spider) left halfway through the fifth season and was replaced by the show's head writer Michael J. Nelson (here hosting Teen-Age Crime Wave and Agent for H.A.R.M.). Also, the voice of Crow T. Robot Trace Beaulieu left after the end of the seventh season, and was replaced by Bill Corbett; also during that time, the show left Comedy Central and reappeared on the Sci-Fi Channel. So, there are a lot of changes between Daddy-O and Agent for H.A.R.M.

Though I discovered the show during its third season in 1991 when Joel still hosted and they were on Comedy Central, my favorite era is the latter half of Season 8 in 1997 on Sci-Fi. It's more polished-in-a-good-way, and the sketches between the movie segments got more complicated and serialized; while Agent for H.A.R.M. is not my favorite episode from that season in terms of riffing, it does have the subplot of Mike Nelson being put on trial for his newfound tendency to accidentally destroy planets. It's also Kevin Murphy's finest hour as Professor Bobo, which…would take too long to explain, actually.



But the beauty of Mystery Science Theater 3000 remains that you can jump in at any time, and it'll feel like it's always been part of your life. Join us.
  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

 

Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"