krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
Leaving on vacation meant taking a break from my slow and steady progress through the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival. This was a decision rather than an imposition, given there's a "download to watch, at least with some things, and at least for a while" feature in the Netflix mobile application now. The only device running that application I planned to take with me was my iPod touch, though, and squeezing the high-definition episodes into a screen that small didn't really appeal to me. (I was fine with finishing off "Voltron '84" that way, however, perhaps even getting a bit more of that casual old sense of there being something a little suspicious to what the show tried to say about what it showed...)

Returning from vacation, I got back to the revival. Picking up with the new episodes again, though, did remind me I'd wondered just how I'd take one of them in particular from the moment I'd seen their capsule descriptions, and that just perhaps I'd been trying to put off a potential instant where a possible personal standout might turn into something actively unpleasant...

Getting through the first episode of the revival had been a relief, hard proof the new crew of writers weren't "only interested in repeating the familiar yea-nay judgments of 'geek culture'"; didn't seem to be really doing that at all in fact. Instead of letting go of that first anxiety, though, I might only have transferred it. With a few Star Wars references seeming to turn up in every episode and almost all of them "nostalgic," it was still all too easy to imagine the movie billed as a "Star Wars ripoff" would open the floodgates and include the specific, post-nostalgic putdowns that had seemed less than funny to me right from the start, in MSTings written after the show had closed its first canon in 1999...

I could tell myself I was being ridiculous, worse than any "basher"; they'd at least gone on to find fault with everything in the movies they hadn't been kids for. It didn't seem to help. Still, as I started watching "Starcrash" at last, I was at least able to recognize and remember a similar "will the next moment be the fatal one?" anxiety from my first viewing of The Phantom Menace. Then, as the end credits rolled to the new orchestral rendition of the "Mighty Science Theater" end theme, I realized I'd made it; if anything, the "riffs" had seemed focused on the movie itself to the point where I could imagine some people reacting with "playing it safe" mutterings. There had been one "host segment" where Crow had written a script for a "space movie" that could be interpreted as presenting some familiar strawmen attacks, but the way Tom and Jonah had read along with enthusiasm didn't feel like a blatant signal for the audience to share in their contempt; that, perhaps, reminded me of a MSTing where "Crow's screenplays" had been brought up to show contempt for the new movies, and remembering that only helped in an odd way to reassure me now. For all the moments I could imagine specific neutral-to-positive references being made, though, the actual references I did recognize did include several to The Force Awakens; for all that I still haven't got around to watching that movie on Netflix, though, they didn't bother me, in general not seeming to be "building the movie up to put others down."

As for "Starcrash" itself, it did seem to provide a lot of this episode's humour all by itself; that's fine with me when it comes to modern "riffing," though. I might yet be stuck with uneasy, inescapable anticipations right through to the close of this revival's first season (to say nothing of what might happen after that), but I can at least tell myself right now there's something more than a little ridiculous to come back to now that I'm not so worried what each moment to come in it might hold.

September 2017

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