krpalmer: (mst3k)
Even before I was remembering today can be marked as "Pi Day," I was thinking ahead to Joel Hodgson's announcement the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be appearing on Netflix on April 14. As that date gets closer, though, I'm still struggling with what kept me from taking in any of his previous "Cinematic Titanic" project and what keeps me from trying any "Rifftrax," namely the suspicion that to comment on even a "cheesy movie" these days is perpetually to springboard into taking shots at specific "outside" targets, jabs some would proclaim "cathartic" but which just seem to grate on me after all these years. I went so far as to admit this in a "Satellite News" thread about "watching the new series," if without stating just what targets would most grate on me; nobody seemed to notice and take me to task for that, though. However, later on in the thread some were worried the backgrounds of the new people involved with the series meant not that they'd be dwelling on the party line for that ambiguous term of "geek culture," but that they'd be making "political" comments... The specific case invoked, at least, doesn't seem to bother me. It even got me thinking that to have felt sorry for some movies to the point of thinking they weren't bad after all could have some differences from humourless ideological commitment too.

(Then, thinking I'd take one more look at the "countdown" on Satellite News, I happened to notice a selection of "classic episodes" will show up in advance of the new premiere on Netflix. It's sort of intriguing to contemplate "a direct comparison" being welcomed.)
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Over the course of its two dozen official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collections, Shout! Factory has kept finding different ways to add jokes to the back cover copy; this time, there's a "Wikipedian" flavour to it. As for the actual selection of episodes, I was looking forward to them, even if I knew that to watch through it in the usual oldest-to-newest order would mean ending with an episode long stuck with something of a "difficult" reputation...

The sole "Joel episode" in the collection, "The Human Duplicators," did get me remembering over the course of its "cashing in on the dawning James Bond boom meets the miserable tag end of the previous decade's science fiction boom" action some personal thoughts of the close of the fourth season feeling like the show had reached a new level. Although the only extra on the disc was the "Mystery Science Theater Hour" segments, managing to omit the segment where "the host" (played by Mike Nelson) recaps the first hour's worth of the movie, I suppose you could try and see that as not distracting from thoughts of how the mood the show was striking at that point carried forward to the end of the brief seventh season and the second episode in the set, "Escape 2000." The six seventh-season episodes can all feel particular standouts to me (even when they can get hard to watch), but this one's cut-rate urban dystopian action seems to turn out quite well. The DVD's extras include an introduction by Mary Jo Pehl and a little documentary about the movie that points out it was a sequel to a previous "Bronx dystopia" (the bombed-out tenement exteriors might even have been location shooting in the then very run down South Bronx, a contrast of sorts to the cracks about how "Italian" the movie is), complementing an original trailer that includes a good deal more gruesomeness than could get on television.

From there it was on to the eighth season. This can be where I start thinking the show could become "meaner" not just to its movies but to pop culture in general (which ties in to my unfortunate distance from the "post-MST3K projects" and my continued uneasiness about having paid for the upcoming revival), but "The Horror of Party Beach" does seem ridiculous enough to still feel good-humoured; there's the same triumvirate of extras (the little documentary explaining just how much of an "outsider" project its northeastern seaboard beach horror was, but the trailer looking kind of dark and drab). As I closed out the collection with "Invasion of the Neptune Men," I tried to remember thoughts it was the final extended battle that seemed to really get to the humour. Mary Jo Pehl's introduction didn't dwell too much on this, but the little documentary, featuring the return of the knowledgable person who'd contributed to the extras for the previous Japanese movies Shout! Factory had released, did explain the final battle had been padded out with not just stock but repeated footage to make it long enough for American television. (He also said a bit about "Prince of Space," the sunnier-if-still-skewed sibling of the eighth season which had been released back on a "Rhino" DVD.) The original trailer at least looked sharper, and just perhaps a bit more impressive, than what wound up in Mystery Science Theater.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
According to the official Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode guide's brief section on the show's formative instalments aired on a UHF station in Minnesota ("Oh, and trust us--you don't want to see the KTMA episodes."), "Invaders from the Deep" and "Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars" were a double feature on American Thanksgiving in 1988. When those two long-lost episodes were made available to the revival Kickstarter backers, though, I took my usual week in getting to the second show. I knew it was another "Supermarionation" epic, but could only guess how it might come across in turn.
'Who says puppets don't have a sense of humour?' )
'I would never say that.' )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
When I filled in the last space on my list of "episode thoughts" about Mystery Science Theater 3000, there were some "end of an era" thoughts, and yet there still could have been a certain negative space left open on that list. I'd commented on every episode shown on cable, the movie, and Joel Hodgson's proof-of-concept pilot, which he'd shown at a convention where someone had made a fully adequate recording that had wound up an online video encoding. I could have followed the pilot by seeking out those episodes people had managed to videotape off an Minnesota UHF station in 1988 and 1989, but along with all the comments overheard how the improvisational "KTMA episodes" had a lot of "unriffed space" in them and the personal impression the first cable episodes themselves can feel sort of tedious, I had what might seem the convenient excuse there were no fan copies of the first three episodes. Starting close to one beginning seemed fine to some, but somehow I was a little too conscious of the gap.
'I think it's a good time to point out these puppets do their own stunts.' )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Many people may be searching for "good news" right now. I suppose this only means that to a certain number of them, but I was at least surprised in a pleased sort of way to see the titles announced for one more official collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs. The case will be crowded with lettering for the set number in Roman numerals, and as for the episodes itself they all happen to be from the "Mike years," but most of them have a fair bit of resonance for me. "Invasion USA" is an entertaining slice of cheaply produced Cold War agit-prop (which I suppose I compare to the "Joel episode" "Rocket Attack USA"), and "Colossus and the Headhunters" sort of keeps up the pattern by being Mike's counterpart to the Hercules movies of the Joel years. "High School Big Shot" is a depressing yet perhaps compelling skewed take on "juvenile delinquency exploitation," and "Track of the Moon Beast" does at least jump out of the sixth season to the tenth with a bleak sort of 1970s monster movie.

There was also a limited-time preorder bonus announced when buying from the Shout! Factory site. I haven't ordered many of those (save for the cardboard slipcase to go around the DVDs in a "canned set"), but the promise of a certain number of "host segments" from the initial "KTMA episodes" did get my attention and leave me wondering. It would be something to see whatever introduction was offered to those watching the very first episode (unless the opening credits were more or less that), but if it's just excerpted from the well-worn fan copies of the later episodes that have been passed along for years that might not be quite as compelling. The very first episodes not having been recorded that way may be my excuse for not plugging through the apparently very improvised beginning of the series.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I was a bit slow to open the latest official collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs once I'd received it in the mail. Going on vacation last month had something to with that, but I was aware even so of the feeling the episodes in the set ranged for me from "not personal standouts" to "actually uncomfortable to watch." What with the nagging worry I'll be stuck with personal disagreements with the "riffing" in the upcoming revival, it might have been an especially awkward time to have some reluctance towards the original series.

Once I did have the set open, though, I started finding things to interest me about the episodes and the movies (or thereabouts) featured in them. Getting past the infamous blandness (and a certain emphasis in the "riffing" to 1970s TV) of "Stranded in Space," I also found myself thinking past the cheapness of "this other world just happens to exactly look like the Earth" to contemplate how it's easier to exposit about a conformist dystopia than to actually work out how an ordinary person might have to get by in it. The disc also included a short feature on "Film Ventures International" as the last of the episodes featuring its cheap video credits got on official DVDs, and explained that by the point it was making up those for-TV packages it was pretty much all the way down the declining slope. It had risen from "foreign imports" to making movies cashing in on trends, but one feature's promotion had been just a bit too much like the way its inspiration was being sold and that had caused problems that had built until the company's founder had cleaned out the office safe and vanished.
A limited incredible ride )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I took a look at the latest "weekend discussion" topic on Satellite News near the start of the weekend, then decided on an offhand impulse to take another look at the site today. News the titles for the next official DVD set have been announced was an electric shock, but even more than that there was more news further down the page I hadn't seen. It turns out the new Mystery Science Theater series is going to be streamed on Netflix, which is somehow more impressive to me than "an American cable channel," even if that hypothetical channel would have happened to be one I'd heard of before. I suppose this still doesn't answer the question of whether the new series will yield to the same impulse that drove a wedge into my enjoyment of the final years of "the MSTing community" and keeps me away from Rifftrax and the Cinematic Titanic archive, namely whether familiar fan targets will be brought up just to be put down in passing... but on the other hand, the "mads" of the "Sci-Fi Channel years" are going to make a guest appearance on the new series.

As for the upcoming collection, it sounds like another interesting one. Things will open with "The Human Duplicators," late in the fourth season and a sort of merger between 1960s science fiction and James Bond ripoffs, then release the last episode of the short seventh season to go on an official DVD with "Escape 2000," bringing us to a sort of Italian and rather 1980s-dystopian "Bronx." From there it's on to the eighth season and "Horror of Party Beach," another fusion of genre with atomic-spawned monsters invading a black-and-white mid-state Atlantic seaboard beach, and the set will close out with "Invasion of the Neptune Men," traditionally one of the more "difficult" movies of the series what with the slog of its final battle but nevertheless filling in the ranks of the "dubbed and daffy Japanese movies."
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Back when I commented on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode "The Rebel Set," I mentioned how I'd heard of a recent follow-up to that episode's short, "Johnny at the Fair," without being able to see it. With that said, I more or less put it out of my mind. Just a few days ago, though, when taking a look at the "Satellite News" site I saw a short notice the video "Charlie at the Fair" had been found on YouTube, and took it in at last.

It turned out the little boy who played "Johnny" grew up to become a Canadian artist of some note; Charles Pachter suggested this hadn't just been a coincidence for him through two weeks of filming at "The Ex" imprinting a sense of "Canada being amazing" on him. (So far as that perhaps having been a little unusual for people his exact age, all the flags flying in the period short are Union Jacks; things hadn't even worked up to the "Red Ensign" yet.) As with some of the extra features on the official Mystery Science Theater DVDs, the short just happening to wind up being included in the MST3K canon isn't mentioned; however, the show never aired on cable up here so I was willing to let that go. One person commenting on the short in the video did bring up the "Chemical Wonderland" MST3K had some fun with. The bits of the short excerpted in the video, though, caught my attention for having different music (the music in the "MST3K version" seemed to be stock material; it can be heard in some of the other shorts the show featured...) and a different narrator (Lorne Greene, still a few years away from moving south to become a television patriarch). Hearing the short had originally been a National Film Board of Canada production had me wondering if it might be available for streaming on their own site; when it didn't turn up there I turned to YouTube, and it turned out it was there alongside the MST3K version, which did have rather more views.

While I've admitted to not quite having the courage to tackle many movies from the MST3K canon "raw," I was willing to make an exception; I soon had the impression that whoever had made up the short that had wound up an "ephemeral film" had been supplied with footage from the National Film Board and had cut it together in a slightly different way, even managing to include a few moments from the cutting room floor. The anonymous narration might been a little less serious and involved than Lorne Greene's, but perhaps that just added to the potential for Mystery Science Theater.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
The back of the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collection is already anticipating the new series. Until then, and however it turns out (I'm still concerned "using cheesy movies as an excuse to put down familiar targets" will be all too easy for the new creators to fall into), I can keep revisiting episodes I've seen before. I can be conscious that these days I use the time in between the collections for other things, but the whole deal with not necessarily going back to the same "favourites" all the time has something to it too. I'm also conscious, though, that as much I'd like to keep finding new things in existing works, the possibility of "wearing them out" also exists.

I started off with "Teenage Caveman" and its accompanying shorts, one rather more infamous than the other. The movie itself was hokily entertaining (even if I did have a sense of just how many possible digressions drag out its rather brief running time), and there was a little documentary about it too. "Being From Another Planet" dragged me up to the 1980s (and the tag-end of the "ancient astronaut" craze, even if this was at least different from the conspiracy narratives that swallowed all the imaginative potential of "flying saucers" and congealed into something fixed as the decade wore on). There have been times I fear this episode drags by for me, but this time I was at least taking particular notice of an early-1980s home computer playing a role in the movie. Along with a brief interview with the film's composer, there's a considerable extra feature in the original "Time Walker" movie (in widescreen, no less) Film Ventures International slapped its cheap credits sequences and new name on, but there I do have to face a certain reluctance to take on most of the MST3K films "raw," such that these biggest of all possible extras sort of deflate down to nothing.

In wondering about "Being From Another Planet" dragging for me, I can get to wondering about how others might be ready to downplay "12 to the Moon," at least once its short is past, where I had sort of played it up getting to the end of commenting on all of MST3K's episodes. I did seem to have a pretty good time with it still, though, and the little documentary about the movie made a point or two about some of the good work its crew had done before (even as it didn't mention the moments Mystery Science Theater was quicker to point out...) "Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell," in any case, seems a general favourite, and there was plenty to enjoy in its medieval-yet-1980s antics. The extra for this episode was an interview with Thom Christopher, who played the villain as distinctively as anything else in the movie. He seemed pretty content with suggesting everyone had known just how "cheesy" things were turning out but were enjoying themselves anyway.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Getting the news the latest official DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes was beginning to ship reminded me this is usually the time Shout! Factory announces what episodes are going to be included in the collection to follow. I headed off to Satellite News, and the announcement was indeed there.

Things will start off with "Stranded in Space," an unsuccessful TV series pilot from the 1970s that perhaps is remembered most of all for being forgettable, but which did perhaps have a skewed idea or two for me to chew on. "City Limits" brings James Earl Jones and Kim Cattrall together in a very 1980s kind of post-apocalypse. "The Incredible Melting Man" is an episode people have been speculating about being included in a set for a while what with Shout! Factory having released the gross-out body horror movie before, and as much as I have to admit to laughing nervously at the general gooiness and sort of shrugging off the "Best Brains" using the "host segments" to strike back at the studio executives meddling with "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie" it can be funny. "Riding With Death" will close things out with a mellow 1970s Ben Murphy appearing in two episodes of a short-lived TV series stuck together with the limited aid of a recurring guest star, one collection after his 1980s appearance in the MST3K canon. Some people commenting on Satellite News seem that much more enthusiastic about this collection than I might appear to be, but even this far into the sets there are still memorable episodes showing up.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I'm still putting some time into watching movies I've had sitting on my hard disk recorder for quite a while, sitting in a peculiar limbo of "I can't just record them to DVD until I edit them, but I can't edit them without watching them first." After watching a few respectable but lengthy old movies, however, I moved on to something a bit more dodgy. When I heard of "mockbusters," movies with names almost like those of big-budget features as if to fool at least a few people into buying something far more cheaply made, I remembered the cheesy movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and how the more recent "ripoffs" in that show's canon were some of my favourites. Beyond buying and watching my way through a DVD of the "raw" "Space Mutiny," I haven't devoted too much time to experiencing those sort of movies without a crew of professionals laying the comedic groundwork, but when I saw the science fiction channel was programming a string of "mockbusters" late one night during one holiday marathon (not just last Christmas, mind you) I decided I could take a chance on some of them.
When I got around to one at last... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Having committed myself to the point of paying into the Kickstarter to "bring back MST3K," I am getting updates from Joel Hodgson about how the project is going. The latest email from Kickstarter was lengthy enough that I wondered about saying something about it, only to then wonder if it was somehow "confidential." However, the next day I saw that Satellite News had linked to the update, so I suppose I can go ahead.

It is interesting to know pre-production under way, but I don't know if the personal question that kept me holding off on contributing until the deadline was almost up was addressed, namely whether, with the "common ground" of 1960s and 1970s television the references of the "Joel episodes" that much further in the past, the new group of writers will build all their references around "fannish culture" and repeat wearily familiar opinions instead of actually saying something unusual and funny. However, wondering about that this time did get me thinking back to when I was reading MSTings. The "anime MSTings" that made up a good part of my own experience had plenty of anime references, of course, but a fair number of the people writing them seemed just as interested in professional wrestling; that was rather less interesting for me. If I could deal with that at the time, though, I might yet be able to cope.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I was mentally rehearsing an idea for the first post of a new month when I stumbled on something altogether different. Last year, Shout! Factory re-released the first collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, which I did break down and buy over again even if I haven't made the time to watch it. It seems other people bought it as well, as they've just announced the second collection will be re-released. This collection includes "Cave Dwellers" and "Pod People," a double dose of 1980s cheesiness and two of the very first episodes I saw back when I was just starting to put visuals to the text-only world of MSTings. (However, I have been stuck wondering if something about their "host segments," somehow "pitched to those already familiar with things," and their general "Joel episodes" feel puts a little bit of distance between them and me.) "Angels Revenge" rounds things out in a way that surprised me by seeming to appeal a bit more than it had before the last time I watched it, and the collection is filled out by a series of shorts. Now that many more episodes have been released on DVD, I can wonder if it's as "necessary" as it might have once been, but it was what was there to begin with.

The complicated outer packaging of the original and early collection is in pretty good shape on my shelf, but I do know there's a broken disc holder and a disc hub with a crack in it inside that. Again, I'm wondering if I should indulge myself by getting this second re-release, even as I once again remind myself there are other people who don't have the original.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I happened to see the text that would be on the back of the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collection on the Shout! Factory site store before I had my copy. It took just instants to realise the blurb was intended to key into an upcoming movie release with plenty of Star Wars references. I do have to admit this juxtaposition can get uncomfortable for me, but further into the blurb there happened to be references to "generally grievous movies" and "an attack of the clowns," and that did seem to be just the sort of reference that perks things up and puts them together for me.

Just as I was getting started into my copy of the collection, though, I did find myself thinking about how all of the movies in it were black-and-white films from American International Pictures. The two "Mike episodes" were from the latter half of the black-and-white endurance course at the beginning of the eighth season, and I wondered about my previous impressions of them. Then, I decided to be bold and mix things up, beginning at the "end" of the set at least as far as the titles are always listed on the boxes in "episode number order." "The She-Creature" did seem funnier than I might have been thinking it would, however; I was more than ready to enjoy the needling of Dr. Carlo Lombardi. Jumping to the start of the set next, I watched "Viking Women and the Sea Serpent," perhaps wondering a little about more recent and conceivably more historically accurate depictions of Vikings. This disc did include a short introduction from Frank Conniff, commenting only on the episodes in the set he'd been around for, and a long documentary about American International Pictures, concentrating the "bonus content" together this time around. The documentary did manage to say a bit about every movie in this collection, as well as mentioning other memorable pictures in the MST3K canon, and pushed beyond that in the story of AIP.

After that it was back to "The Undead" with its collection of strange characters crammed into what I knew from the documentary to be a studio converted from a supermarket, and then off to "War of the Colossal Beast." I might have been saving this for last most of all because of the short "Mr. B Natural," but did find myself wondering all of a sudden if some of the reactions of our heroes to "the spirit of music" have begun to take on dread overtones of "political incorrectness," which of course may only provoke unpleasant counter-reactions. Of course, I don't seem as ready as some to enjoy a character being needled just for "being annoying"; that's the sort of thing that can be safely brushed off by lots of other people.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
In the final hours of the Kickstarter to raise money for a new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, I was still going back and forth whether I wanted to contribute. Big announcements of who'd be playing the characters, writing them, and even guest-starring might only have sharpened suspicions that with the "sixties and seventies television" I seem to associate "Joel's references" with that much further in the past, everything would revolve around "fandom"-type references, and that, for me alone, that would just seem like a succession of cheap shots and other forms of group-think. However, I'd happened by luck on a pointer to an interview where Joel Hodgson seemed to have said the right things over again, and after distracting myself for quite a while that evening by editing some old audio and video tracks together, and even thinking a bit about what might amount to "cowering in fear," I put in money for the "download-only" option. It wouldn't be something sitting on my shelf, and having noticed comments about the downloads not including copy-protection might even have left me wondering if maybe, just maybe, muting out certain "riffs" could be a last resort (even if that might seem clumsier than slicing bits of text out of a particular MSTing I thought had much more good than aggravating in it). With that said, of course, I still want to "trust in Joel." A lot of other people did, to the extent that not only did the Kickstarter raise enough money for the twelve episodes he had held out as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there's going to be a "holiday special" and an extra bonus episode after that.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
With the Kickstarter for new Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes still ongoing (and I still haven't committed to making a contribution myself, even if my personal uncertainty about whether I'll feel fed up with cheap shots at familiar targets is starting to feel a little less severe than some of the angst a few other people are displaying), I'm checking Satellite News on a pretty regular basis. On one check, though, there was a bit of news that wasn't about the Kickstarter. With the latest official DVD collection of existing episodes starting to ship, Shout! Factory has come through once more and provided the episodes to be included in the collection to follow it.

Things will start off with "Teenage Caveman" (along with the shorts "Aquatic Wizards" and the infamous "Catching Trouble"), which seems to have caught the attention of other people for being a movie by Roger Corman, the rights of which have seemed hard to acquire. We'll then plunge from the 1950s and suspiciously old "teenagers" to the 1980s (and college students, among other things) with "Being From Another Planet." After that, things will whipsaw back to the end of the 1950s and "12 to the Moon" (not to mention the memorable short "Design For Dreaming"), an episode I've been hoping for ever since movies by Columbia Pictures started appearing in these collections. To close things off, it'll be back to the 1980s in turn with "Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell," that much more notable to me as far as cheesy movies from that decade in the Mystery Science Theater canon go. The new episodes may yet start filling out and making up future collections, but this one should be something to me to look forward to.
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.

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