krpalmer: (mst3k)
Knowing that Satellite News puts another episode summary up every Thursday (they've run through the Mystery Science Theater 3000 canon several times by now), I decided to take a look at the site before that. There was a surprise there I should have expected. Starting back around the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show, reports have been cropping up of Joel Hodgson working on something new, and just in the past week news of rearrangements among the rights-holders provoked a bit of discussion. When I saw that Joel had begun a project on Kickstarter to raise money for new Mystery Science Theater episodes, though, it still very much got my attention.

When I looked at the responses of others to this news, though, a certain number of them taking jaundiced views just happened to invoke standard disparagement of the Star Wars prequels. That grated on me. It also reminded me of how I never got around to taking in any of either of the "official post-MST3K projects," Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic, after hearing they were also using those movies as targets for contemptuous references. Rifftrax seems to have moved away from "savage commentary tracks on big Hollywood movies" and turned up a doozy or two of grade-Z filmmaking in the process, but even there I'm still not willing to be brave.

I suppose it's possible that by the time the new episodes start taping, we'll be in an "era of good feelings," people having convinced themselves the assembly line of new product is good stuff just because George Lucas isn't allowed to contribute, but even that potential positivity might just amount to a springboard for the ground-in negativity. It's a terrible thing to be reluctant to take in something just because of suspicions it might say something bad about something else in nothing more than passing, and I'd at least like to hold good thoughts about Joel Hodgson. Still, given all the other things I haven't quite got into for that specific reason, I fear I might also get over sticking with the Mystery Science Theater episodes taped before 1999.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Each new collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs from Shout! Factory makes up a new "general description" on the back of the box for the merriment within. With this latest collection, I was struck by its invitation to "Choose Your Own MST3K Adventure," although in thinking a bit about it I can wonder if someone about my age would be most likely to remember those books, which might even put them in about the same place as me for having the cultural references particularly in the early episodes fly over their heads.

In any case, just as the second paragraph's own invitation suggested, I "chose" each episode in turn, interested in seeing if I could hit on any new perspectives to go with my previous experiences. The extras in these collections do seem to help there. This time around there wasn't any "Mystery Science Theater"-focused content other than the "Mystery Science Theater Hour" segments for "Daddy-O" and "Earth vs. the Spider," but there was something about the making of each original movie.

"Daddy-O" was an early example of the show moving a bit beyond its apparent purview of "mystery science," but also anticipated several more episodes where the main character just happened to perform several songs along the way, and it does happen to include a supporting actor who appeared in other movies in the "MST3K canon." "Earth vs. the Spider" was more "conventional" that way, of course. It's possible I took particular interest in "Teen-age Crime Wave" among of the episodes in this set, if also aware it might not be everyone else's favourite. Its special features were interesting, if a bit wide-ranging. A little documentary about the movie's producer Sam Katzman told the tale of a man who moved up in the movie world, from the really low-end studios to the mid-range ones to one of the most notable ones (if at a time when it was starting to get a bit run down itself); while it mentioned "Teen-age Crime Wave" in a moment's passing, it had already surprised me by mentioning Katzman had also produced "The Corpse Vanishes," another episode in the MST3K canon (and a movie subsisting almost entirely on Bela Lugosi's name). There was a bit more detail about the movie itself in an interview with its top-billed actor Tommy Cook, who'd started as a child actor on radio (if one playing roles that would be more than a little politically incorrect these days). The disc menu for "Agent for H.A.R.M." got off the Satellite of Love bridge to point out the episode's "host segment" storyline of Mike being put on trial for having blown up several planets over part of the eighth season, which got me thinking a bit of how anyone else watching the episodes as they're released on DVD won't have seen them "in order" and remembering how this was the first of the "Sci-Fi Channel" episodes I saw; I at least wasn't dwelling too much on previous impressions of the "riffing" tilting meaner towards the end. There was also an interview with the "movie"/unsuccessful TV series pilot's star Peter Mark Richman, who mentioned how he'd added the white streak in his character's hair (a streak I'd got to wondering just might have prompted a joke or two about skunks; whether that was "too easy" for the "Best Brains" might just point out the difference between them and me).
krpalmer: (mst3k)
No matter how offbeat or obscure something to be interested in may be, I'm sure there are people interested in it who would like to see other people interested in it too. (This journal itself could be a variety of attempts at that, of course.) Because of the unusual way I became interested in Mystery Science Theater 3000, experiencing varied takes on its spirit and characters through text-based "MSTings" before I even knew what they looked like, I perhaps take a bit of interest in discussions about "how to introduce new people to it." One recent discussion on Satellite News, though, was focused on "millennials," people who might have been too young to have seen the series the first time around. Beyond the obvious issue that the "this reminds me of that" references that might have seemed even more prominent in the "Joel years" might lose their charm with time, there did seem to be a certain "kids these days" undercurrent every so often. I'm now wondering if anyone happened to think of how, back when the show itself was new, there were a certain number of people annoyed it wasn't encouraging the proper appreciation of the old movies they were willing to take a "non-ironic" interest in.

There were some more nuanced comments, though, about how the series was an elaboration of the local "horror hosts" who would introduce old movies on TV, and about how nowadays people aren't stuck just waiting for whatever happens to come on should they be interested in watching TV instead of doing anything else (and there, too, other people might be insistent there are other things to do...) I might have been a bit too young for even that; my family got its first VCR three decades ago, and after that we weren't stuck waiting for particular movies to come on TV. However, I did get to wondering about how, while MSTings might have affected just what I thought of "fanfiction," "fan works" started off a way to vicariously experience things I couldn't tape and couldn't afford. That age too may have passed; I may miss MSTings, but maybe in moving more lightly from work to work there are compensations too.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
This is the weekend for many pop culture-related announcements to be made at the most grandiose convention of them all; while hearing the original manga for "The Rose of Versailles" has been licensed did get my attention, there was also some surprise along the way when I checked Satellite News just to see what the "weekend discussion" was about and saw the episodes for the next official set of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs announced. There'd been some buildup to the previous announcement, but this was more unexpected. This time around, every episode is a black-and-white movie from the 1950s, which seems from the discussion to have something to do with a new block of movie rights being worked out. Things will be split between the third season and the "Joel years" and the eighth season and the "Mike years," though. Going by episode number, the first episode in the set is "Viking Women and the Sea Serpent," which is interesting enough to me what with its short "The Home Economics Story" and "host segments" obsessing on waffles. "War of the Colossal Beast" perhaps reminds me of how "The Amazing Colossal Man" was included in the very first set of episodes officially released back on videotape only to almost immediately be pulled in a kerfuffle over rights. On the other hand, the sequel movie does include the iconic short "Mr B. Natural." As we get into the "Sci-Fi Channel" era, it just so happens that both "The Undead" and "The She-Creature" are attempts to cash in on the "past life regression" phenomenon of the 1950s. These just might be episodes I'll be able to "remind myself of" when I get back to them.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I often take a look at Satellite News a day or so before the latest episode to be re-discussed goes up on the top of the site, but this week there was a surprise. Shout! Factory, its current collections of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs working its way up into the thirties, has plans to reassemble the episodes from the very first DVD collection released by Rhino Home Video nearly thirteen years ago. Things lead off with "Catalina Caper," an experiment of sorts in "riffing" on "intentional comedy," then head into more familiar territory with "The Creeping Terror" (a particular favourite of mine that falls into the unintentional subgenre of "incompetent 1960s movies"), "Bloodlust!" (a knockoff of "The Most Dangerous Game" featuring suspiciously old "teenagers"), and "The Skydivers" (which does open the infamous "Coleman Francis trilogy," if with more levity and perhaps even competence than its followups).

I did manage to get a copy of the original collection before it went out of print, as with the rest of Rhino's collections (even managing to preorder the only briefly available set that included "Godzilla vs. Megalon"), but the news of a few additional features and the commercial-break leadins does get my attention. I did go so far as to buy Shout! Factory's version of "Manos: The Hands of Fate" with its new special features and carefully edited-together presentation of the short "Hired!" However, I do have the impression video glitches are starting to accumulate in the master tapes, and this set's packaging won't be quite as fancy as a regular set, so I am still also contemplating the simple truth that just because you don't "need" something you shouldn't refuse to consider how other people can take greater interest in it.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
When I got the latest official collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs in the mail, there wasn't much time left before my vacation, so I decided I could leave the episodes to wait. It then turned out I still had to take a week's break right in the middle of the set, but I've now managed to see all of them.

The episodes in this particular collection came from just the fourth to the sixth seasons of the show, and while I'll certainly watch any episode from either the seasons below or above them there may be something to that particular time of the show (if a time that can be further divided into "Joel's last years" and "Mike's first years") that appeals to me in a special way. However, it's also possible the four movies in this collection were all atypical in varied ways from what makes for "a really memorable episode." "Space Travelers" (the DVD cover managed to emphasise the word "Marooned") was, of course, a big-budget picture that just happened to have fallen into the "cheap TV filler" category that made it accessible to the series; the DVD includes an interview with someone making a point of this, and as with Frank Conniff's introduction he wonders aloud whether the series had somehow crossed a boundary in taking it on. However, he also happened to mention how the novel the movie was made from, written half a decade earlier, had just involved a Mercury capsule stranded in orbit, which reminded me of how I'd once found that novel in a thrift store and yet it had wound up one of those books I flip a bit through here and there, enough to get a sense of how it ends (with the much more capable than reality craft nervous imagination had given the Soviets racing a Gemini capsule that just happened to have been a few days' rush short of ready to the rescue), but never get all the way through until I relinquish my chance of doing that by getting rid of it. "Hercules" led off the "muscles and mythology" movies but just happened to be the fourth such film on the series, and that in itself just might affect how it's viewed. However, it did happen to include a little documentary about how Joseph E. Levine used it and other imported fare to move up to bigger things. Frank Conniff mentions in his introduction to "Radar Secret Service" the famous tale of how the movie had attracted the attention of the "Best Brains," been denied to them for a while (he mentions "months" instead of "seasons," but this doesn't necessarily mean anything), and then left them rather more underwhelmed when they did have their chance to take it on, but he does seem enthusiastic about how it turned out and I seemed quite able to enjoy its low-grade proto-technothriller adventures once more myself. In any case, the episode includes the infamous short "Last Clear Chance" and the DVD includes footage from a recent trip Frank and Trace Beaulieu made to a convention in England. Some of the show was aired there, which was more than I managed to see of it on TV, but I was inclined to reflect anew on my own atypical backdoor introduction to it. "San Francisco International" does seem to be an episode I've found more in over the years, inspiring amused thoughts of the last frayed tag-ends of "Jet Age" glamour sliding into that large easy target known as "the seventies." However, it turned out Frank Conniff didn't provide an introduction for this episode, but the DVD did include an interview with the webmaster of "Satellite News," which went into a bit more detail about how people discovered the show (the "shadowramma" is mentioned as particularly eye-catching) and the first days of online fandom.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
When the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD set started shipping I was among those people checking Satellite News every so often for the titles to be included in the set to follow, but they weren't quick to show up. Then, instead, we got an "announcement of no announcement," which prompted a few comments that as the number of episodes left to be released on DVD shrinks it gets harder for Shout! Factory to negotiate the rights to the movies in them.

After receiving the latest set in the mail but not quite having the time to get around to starting to watch it, I might have let my own thoughts on the subject slip from my mind. When I thought to check Satellite News today, It was just with the thought of seeing what the "weekend discussion" topic was. Instead, though, part of the way down the page I saw an announcement at last of the titles to come, with quite a bit of excited discussion about them already; a few more movies grouped by rights-holder ought to be available in the future. For the set just ahead, we're going to get "Daddy-O", the point where the third season's "American episodes" shifted from fairly recent "Film Ventures International" re-packagings to old black and white movies, although this particular movie was an "attempting to create a singing star" outing instead of the more traditional "mystery science" to follow. An example of that, though, just happens to be included too with "Earth vs. the Spider". Heading from the "Joel episodes" to the "Mike episodes," we'll get "Teenage Crime Wave", a "juvenile delinquency exploitation" film which may be a bit more of an acquired taste for some as an episode but one which I do seem to have acquired, and "Agent For H.A.R.M.", which rounds out the "James Bond ripoffs" in cheap close-to-the-studio style. With all those examples of notable subgenres in the Mystery Science Theater canon, it should be an interesting set.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Just one year after the "MST3K 25th Anniversary Edition" was packaged in a metal can, Shout! Factory put "MST3K XXXI: The Turkey Day Collection" in another can. Whether they'll find a way to offer "more value for more money" next year is an open question; maybe they'll include a miniature Satellite of Love or one of the various designs of "Cambot." Along with the can, we get a special introduction for each episode from Joel Hodgson, complete with appearances by Crow and Tom Servo (performed by Joel's fellow "Cinematic Titans" Trace Beaulieu and J. Elvis Weinstein, for that extra dose of nostalgia) against a setting with a dose of "product placement" in the form of two iMacs, identical to the setting of the online marathon held this (American) Thanksgiving. There's also a little documentary about "Turkey Day" in the context of Mystery Science Theater and all of the introductions done by the "Best Brains" themselves (leaving out the year Adam West provided them and the year they were taped at a fan party). I hadn't seen the "bumpers" where Dr. Forrester is forcing TV's Frank to eat a "themed" turkey for each episode, although I perhaps did get the impression I could agree with comments I've seen that they weren't as elaborate as the storyline from the year before.

In any case, I was conscious of this collection not leading off with another episode from the first season with all of them released on official DVDs at some point (unless Shout! Factory gets around at last to re-releasing some of the older Rhino episodes in its collections instead of just as "special orders"), but it's possible that "Jungle Goddess," led off with the first chapter of the somewhat hard-to-follow Bela Lugosi series "The Phantom Creeps," wasn't that much more involving this time around as an early second season episode than a random first season episode might be, even with Joel and the 'bots' indignation at the condescending racial attitudes of the movie. Things picked up with "The Painted Hills" and the somewhat dark take it winds up adding to a "boy and his dog" movie, though. As I got into the "Mike half" of this set, however, I did get to wondering if the "riffing" on "Robot Rumpus" was somehow quite "ready" to take on a clay-animation Gumby short just as I've seen occasional comments wondering if some of the "Joel episodes" were quite "ready" to joke about a few of the more gruelling movies from those years, and that feeling might have carried into "The Screaming Skull," which included a good many "riffs" about things being slow and dull until the final psychological climax. The DVD did include an interview with the son of Gumby's creator and a little documentary about the movie itself, which pointed out that the shambling gardner Mickey, one of the more notable features early on, was being played by the movie's director. "Squirm" finished things on a high note with its low-to-the-ground invasion, anyway; the DVD also included an interview with its star Don Scardino, who played the visitor from the north Mick, and who seems to have enjoyed himself during the production. The interview managed to include high-quality glimpses of the gruesome scenes cut from the Mystery Science Theater episode (where the bonus features for "The Screaming Skull" used footage taken from that episode); that Shout! Factory is now selling the unadulterated movie on Blu-Ray might have something to do with that.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I ordered the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD set straight from Shout! Factory because I knew it would be packaged in a metal can, and ordering from the company would make it certain I'd also get the regular cardboard slipcase to go alongside all the other collections in them. It was a foolish consistency, perhaps, but it did also mean I was shipped the whole thing a few weeks early. However, I haven't yet managed to find the time to actually watch any of its episodes, but even so I was aware how this would be the time for announcing the titles of a new set, especially with American Thanksgiving being closely associated with Mystery Science Theater under the name "Turkey Day." When I checked Satellite News, the announcement was there for the thirty-second set (a significant number in binary, anyway).

With all the episodes of the first season now on official DVDs, I had been thinking most of all of a few episodes left to release from the second season. However, the upcoming collection will lead off with "Space Travellers," which despite its cheap "Film Ventures International" opening credits is actually a cut-down version of the movie Marooned, perhaps infamous as a movie "not quite right for the series" but a hint the handful of other Columbia Pictures movies featured on the series might be available for future collections. In any case, it's been a while since I've seen that episode. It's also been a while since I've seen "Hercules," which picked up the "muscles 'n' mythology" tradition again after three movies with three different lead actors in them in the previous season (although this particular episode manages to break that pattern). Heading from the "Joel episodes" to the "Mike episodes," but still staying in the same season, we're also going to get "Radar Secret Service" with the infamous short "Last Clear Chance." "San Francisco International" will close the collection out, another episode I perhaps hadn't quite been expecting for release but one that may have grown on me a bit. Even with a whole collection still to open, I'm looking forward to the one to follow it.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Having finished another official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collection, I can once again take a look at the juxtaposition between episodes I've seen before and the new bonus features included. "The Black Scorpion" was the last episode of the first season to be released on an official DVD, but watching it did prompt the uncertain feeling of wondering just when I would return to any of its episodes without the prompt of them being included in a new collection. Watching all of them in "production order" does seem to be both the "necessary" "new way to try it" and threateningly slow. However, there was a mini-documentary on the making of the actual movie included, as much as its "this was a reasonably budgeted production and contributed to the evolution of 1950s science fiction movies" tone might have left me wondering about an impression while watching the episode itself of the movie skating on the upper slopes of the necessary "cheesiness" that makes for a memorable episode. Still, I did get to wondering if I'd really considered before how the movie had a little Mexican boy constantly stowing away with the heroes into ever-escalating danger; looking back at my "episode thoughts," I did see I'd at least mentioned it.
Outlaw projections by night )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Another official DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes is about to come out, and that just happens to be right around when Shout! Factory always seems to announce the titles for the next collection. Going to Satellite News to see what the latest "weekend discussion" topic was, I just happened to see the official announcement, and it just so happened that in absorbing the titles I was just as caught by the sight of every episode including a short.

"Jungle Goddess" fills out the official coverage of the second season a bit more, and along with introducing George Reeves and "french-fried potatoes" to the show it also includes Bela Lugosi in the first chapter of "The Phantom Creeps." "The Painted Hills" features Lassie in something of a Western setting and leads off with "Body Care and Grooming." The psychological horror (or the Mystery Science Theater canon's version thereof) of "The Screaming Skull" also includes a Gumby short, and I'd heard before that "Robot Rumpus" would make it difficult for that episode to be licensed for DVD. "Squirm" and its masses of earthworms leads off the penultimate episode of the series with "A Case of Spring Fever" and "Coily, the spring sprite," someone who at least managed to get mentioned in late-period MSTings. The collection including two of the three shorts featured in the "Sci-Fi Channel years" of the show does get my attention.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
With another official DVD set of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes finished, once more I'm reflecting on the collected experience and how the additional features Shout! Factory adds to the episodes affects it. Joel Hodgson provided introductions to "Untamed Youth" and "Hercules and the Captive Women" (although I always watch those "introductions" after I've watched the episode on DVD), enthusing about how the "juvenile delinquency" and "sword and sorcery" movies were a nice change of pace from "mystery science." He also talks a bit about a new autobiographical one-man show he's performing. "Untamed Youth" also provides an interview with that movie's star Mamie Van Doren. Watching it, I somehow had the impression she'd been reasonably well-regarded by Mystery Science Theater fans themselves (although Beverly Garland might be affecting those impressions), and her efforts to project an independent spirit might have played into that.

When introducing "Hercules and the Captive Women," Joel explained at last that Gypsy's appearance in the theatre was more a matter of trying to distract from the beginning of the movie being a collection of scenes from previous Hercules movies and a lot of narration. The bonus feature for that DVD was an interview with Steve Vance, who's drawn the covers for all of Shout! Factory's DVDs, always working Tom Servo and Crow into the action of the movies themselves; while in the past I've wondered if his Crow doesn't have all the strange subtleties of expression of the actual puppet, it's at least something to be told he watches the movies without benefit of "riffing" to be able to form his own impressions for how things should look. There was also a "cover gallery" in order of how the episodes were released on DVD.

The Universal movies Shout! Factory has been able to release in recent sets seem to have lots of archival material available; once more, we get a little documentary about the (low-budget) making of "The Thing That Couldn't Die," turned out right when Universal was at an ebb but doing well on the bottom half of a double bill. "The Pumaman" (which is, after all, the title in the movie itself) included a brief discussion of "the nanites" of the "Sci-Fi Channel" years and an interview with Walter Alton, Pumaman himself. It turns out he'd been a lawyer before he became an actor and he went back to being a lawyer afterwards, but he does seem reasonably resigned to how the movie turned out (for one thing, the script had been translated from Italian) even as he's sort of polite about not enjoying the stabs at him in the "riffing." That just contrasted to my own continued enjoyment of the episode as featuring a movie that "got to the action" pretty soon on, although I noticed the interview included scenes cut from the episode that might even have established odd moments picked up on. The DVD goes to far as to fit the original movie in, but there I suppose I don't have as much nerve as Steve Vance.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I was looking at the Satellite News site, wondering a bit more than before just what they were going to do each week now that the episode discussion has almost reached the last instalment of the series again, when I saw a link to "the definitive oral history" of the show that was itself more interested in a mention right at the end that Joel Hodgson was hoping to soon start "a new online incarnation of the show." That very much got my attention as much as all the other commenters on the piece, but I then had to confront once again how with the most recent "riffing" projects of the show's scattered creators I've only glanced at a fraction of the online samples. I'm afraid the reason why is quite simple. Mike Nelson and company's "Rifftrax" hit "no sale" territory for me almost at once when they recorded a savage audio track meant to be synched with a DVD of The Phantom Menace and then went on to make the familiar tiresome distinction between the other new Star Wars movies and the old movies; I stayed interested in Joel Hodgson and company's "Cinematic Titanic" for a little longer until I heard they threw some comments on that movie into their new "riffing" on the comedy relief of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians." It was bad enough cringing through the post-series MSTings always expecting fans to jump into the general piling on; I've got no interest in awaiting "official" jabs this much later. Of course, wondering if Satellite News would now get around to beginning discussion on the "Rifftrax" was connected to the expectation that in that case it would be a very long time before I went back to the site again.

For all of that, though, (and knowing that one time I made a faintly dismissive reference to "Rifftrax" in a post someone from that project commented on it), I am curious as to whether this new project will get closer to the familiar characters and settings of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I'm at least wishing it the best in a detached sort of way. If "Rifftrax" and "Cinematic Titanic" were like certain "non-standard MSTings" in not needing to dwell on just why people were commenting on cheesy movies, this new project might get back to the old dynamic.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Thinking ahead to how the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collection should be coming out any day now, I happened to think that this is also about the time Shout! Factory announces the titles for the collection to follow. I headed off to Satellite News, and sure enough there was a list there.

Just as people have been speculating about for a while, the next collection is going to lead off with "The Black Scorpion," which means every episode from the formative first season has been available for sale on an official DVD. (By now, the two episodes released by Rhino may be hard to find...) It's of course possible this collection's packaging will have a big "XXX" on it, which makes it just a little appropriate "Outlaw" is also going to be included with its song "Tubular Boobular Joy." "The Projected Man," leading off the ninth season, is an episode I haven't revisited for a while, and things get rounded out with "It Lives By Night," from the late middle of the tenth season, where the interest of some people seems to start dropping off. However, it does stand in my memory as another one of the "bleak 1970s movies" featured on the series, so it'll add to a collection I am interested in getting to in turn.
krpalmer: (Default)
Before I had this journal, I had a home page, but even though the journal links to that page I haven't revamped it for quite a while. "Linkrot" is one thing; it's something else to look at things you said you were interested in and wonder if it's quite the same now. After a certain amount of unproductive thought about mere possibilities, I at last scraped together the motivation to start working on the text.

What I'd said about Mystery Science Theater 3000 could stay just about the same, even if it's been that much longer since the general MSTing community closed up. Aware I don't start my text adventure programs or Marathon all that much these days, I rolled them together and added an introductory section about "old computers" in general. I then turned my look at Robotech specifically into a "narrative" from Robotech to anime in general, although my daydream of going from a "Robotech eyecatch" to the "Super Dimension Fortress Macross eyecatch" to one from Macross Frontier with its illustration of the way things changed again seems on hold until the possibility of indeed getting those English-subtitled Blu-Rays of the Macross Frontier movies later this year and perhaps rewatching the TV series that preceded them. My section on Star Wars does stay at the bottom of the page where people might not be as likely to get to, but I did expand it; I also moved the link to my journal up to the top so that someone following a link might be a little more likely to see it.

To brush things up a little, I sorted out a few more basic tricks with CSS (although the style sheet section might be a little chaotic) and changed the look of some sections (although this might amount to the old-fashioned folly of "using every font in the menu just because you can"). I don't know how long it'll be before I work on my home page again, but maybe it might not be as long as the last time.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
It's already been five years since Shout! Factory took over releasing Mystery Science Theater 3000 on DVD with a "Twentieth Anniversary Edition" (the number of the collection which followed it making it the thirteenth), and now they've got around to a "25th Anniversary Edition" (the number of the collection to follow making it the twenty-eighth). It came in a metal can stamped with the Satellite of Love, although once I'd opened it there was no cardboard box around the DVD cases; I wondered if there'd been a mistake with mine before noticing other people complaining about discovering the same thing.
Extra features and an actual new impression )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
With the "twenty-fifth anniversary" DVD set beginning to ship out, I might have been a little more expectant than of late that the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes of the set to follow would soon be announced. Seeing their names first in the "Twitter feed sidebar" of Sean Gaffney's manga review site was still a surprise, though, and I went pelting to Satellite News for a follow-up.

The trend of including a Universal movie from the eighth season continues with "The Thing That Couldn't Die," strictly speaking not quite as "science fiction" as the four movies that preceded it, and a newer trend of including a Warner Brothers movie from the first season now seems established with "Untamed Youth," where the show started really expanding what genres it would include. That just might mean the final episode of the first season not released on official DVD will be released too, although that leaves me wondering if Shout! Factory is about to exhaust a "go-to source" for episodes to fill out sets. "Hercules and the Captive Women" hurls yet more muscles and mythology at us, but the standout of the set seems to be "Pumaman," a dubious entry in the 1970s' own "superhero boom" which I've kept overhearing as an episode that would be difficult to get the rights to. Once more, people seem to be looking forward to what's to come, just as I am too of course.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
As I got around to the fancy new Blu-Ray of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie Shout! Factory has just released, I suppose I was reflecting a bit on my own little odyssey involving that little slice of the series. I started off getting my grandparents to tape it off their movie channel so I could put visuals and voices to what had been almost cryptic names attached to script-format MSTings (I gather they didn't quite get the experience, but I was glad they'd done it anyway), but after a while the videocassette went missing. Then, though, I was able to buy an "official" tape from a local video store's "collection sell-off rack" (the store is long gone, swallowed by modern trends, but I do still have the cassette), even if I might have been aware by that point I'd missed my chance to buy the original DVD for any sort of reasonable price. In any case, right after I'd finished watching every episode of the series I went back to where it had started for me. A while after that, another DVD was announced, but this time people most seemed annoyed at how it didn't have any extras included, and that right when Shout! Factory was just starting to release the show with lots of additional content in every set. At last, though, things seem better that way.
Bonus features )
krpalmer: (Default)
I don't make as many quasi-impulsive online purchases to qualify for free shipping on the things I really want to get as I used to, but not that long ago the old and more or less whimsical urge struck me and I ordered a DVD of a movie I'd heard a bit about. Message From Space, I thought, just might bring a few things I'm interested in into an amusing juxtaposition...
where fantasies are real & reality is FANTASTIC )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Since having managed to comment on every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, I've let the official DVD collections bring them back to me four at a time. Even if I was watching the episodes over again as I commented on them, though, I do seem able to find fresh things about them all over again to keep the experience interesting.

The science fiction movies of the 1960s the series featured do give me an impression that by that point the filmmakers still working in that genre weren't trying very hard any more, and "The Slime People" did give me a definite impression of existing just to fill running time. "Rocket Attack USA" has just a bit more of a "message" to it, but I did find amusement in its limited production values (after what seemed a "day for night" shot, familiar from certain other period movies of the series, moths started flying through the actual night scenes, reminding me of "Manos: The Hands of Fate" itself). After those two early "Joel episodes," it was on to the Mike years with "Village of the Giants." This time around, I might have been picking up on the episode's best efforts to make a vague sort of statement about the generation gap of the 1960s, even if most of the conflict was between the thoroughly square and authority-respecting "teenagers" and the more "freaked-out" (if still quite clean-cut) "teenagers." I do have an impression there was a conflict between giant youths and the older, smaller generation in H.G. Wells's The Food of the Gods, so maybe there was something to the on-screen credit joked about in the "riffing." "The Deadly Mantis" was also enjoyable; I do have the feeling the slight meanness of some of the riffing of "The Mole People," the episode just previous, wasn't to be found this time. I also noticed how its DVD menu, like all the others in the previous Shout! Factory collections, used audio clips from the episode to tell a brief and bizarre story, except that this time quotes from Mike joined those of Crow and Tom. I'd heard speculation Joel and Mike's likenesses couldn't be used for some reason for the menus, leaving a computer-animated Crow and Tom; however, Mike appearing as a jet pilot wearing an oxygen mask might have suggested that in this singular case his still image didn't have to be "faked" into motion.

This time around, I must admit I didn't watch all of the bonus materials. Trace Beaulieu takes his turn explaining what he did after Mystery Science Theater, but having heard second or third-hand he apparently touched on how he had been in the auditions to voice Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace, I was reluctant to see if he took the chance to get in digs and mop his brow over what a narrow escape he had. (However, I do know that both Anthony Daniels and Frank Oz weren't shoo-ins to voice the characters they had performed, so Ahmed Best is in good company there; this may, though, point out how David Prowse is the outlier.) With "The Deadly Mantis," though, I did mangage to watch Mary Jo Pehl's new introduction and a little documentary about the movie's producer William Alland, who had worked on most of Universal Pictures's science fiction movies from the 1950s; this managed to follow up on similar documentaries for "Revenge of the Creature" and "The Mole People."

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