krpalmer: (mst3k)
The second set of episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival were presented with numerous winks towards “watching them one after another,” but with one thing and another (including Christmas vacation), I didn’t get around to getting through all of them until now. I do want to say these six episodes built on the foundation of the fourteen before, but perhaps can’t say much in the way of articulated argument for that beyond that the original Mystery Science Theater had kept changing through its run, I keep finding the complications of the new setting amusing, and the latest episodes didn’t seem to build quite as many “riffs” around references to online services as I remember their predecessors doing.
Two-thirds to go )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Five of the six movies in the latest series of Mystery Science Theater 3000 were revealed a little while before they went up on Netflix by a British ratings classification site. Some of the titles got my attention because I'd heard at least a bit about their reputations before. As I've already said, I'd seen "MAC and Me" described as an "E.T. ripoff with even more product placement" years ago. For the second episode of "The Gauntlet," though, having heard about the title not quite as many years ago had me wondering just a bit about how things would turn out, and without happening to notice a perhaps overwrought reaction from someone else.
There's cheesy, and there's other stuff )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
As the short second set of episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival approached, I might even have got to the point of a little anticipation. However, with "The Gauntlet" becoming available on American Thanksgiving, the "Turkey Day" long linked with the show, I accepted I wouldn't be able to start into it as soon as some people. As for the first weekend following, a pre-Christmas get-together with my family took up most of it. By the time it was over, though, a sudden chill had fallen over me.
An explanation at length )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
A few months after I'd listened to their podcast series taking a humourously skewed look at Ready Player One, Mike Nelson and Conor Lastowka started talking about Ernest Cline's second novel. I had kept looking back at their podcast's home page every so often, but didn't leap at the chance to listen to their take on Armada. Even if that novel seemed much less in constant deamnd at my local library and therefore easier to sign out to "see what they were talking about," my old uneasiness about what sort of putdowns the "Rifftrax" Conor might help write and Mike might help voice might have left me thinking I ought not to push my luck.

I still didn't leave the home page altogether alone, though, and one day I saw another post go up on it. This time, an electric shock of realisation flew through me. With the works of Ernest Cline used up for the moment, Mike and Conor were turning to an earlier work of "notable bad fiction." Not only was it one I already knew about, I just happened to have first learned about "The Eye of Argon" by Jim Theis via an altogether unofficial take on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Adam Cadre's MSTing.
First things first, though )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I'd supposed for a while that this week would mark the release of the first issue of the "Star Trek meets the Transformers" comic I took note of a little while ago. It was easy enough to plot out my journey to the nearest comic shop, just as an indulgence. On getting an email from the digital-comics site Comixology (which I've bought some electronic manga from when the volumes get discounted further below "seemingly slightly less expensive than buying them in a bookstore would be"), though, I didn't seem to see the issue promoted. A bit of searching turned up that the comic was to show up later this month; I wondered for a while just how I'd become mistaken before managing to sort out via the "history" function of the "Transformers Wiki" it had been pushed back for whatever reason.

The email, anyway, did promote a second comic book I'd also heard about before. I don't know if I'd been quite as amused to hear there was going to be a comic book version of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival; the show itself attracts my attention where I hadn't been paying attention to other Star Trek or Transformers comics. Still, it was available this week, so I headed over to the comic shop. There were plenty of both cover variants there, and I decided on the standard one. (I don't want to say too many bad things about Steve Vance, the cover artist of the Shout! Factory DVDs, but his Crow never seemed as expressive as the puppet itself could be for me.)
What I'd anticipated, and what more I got )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
The news Netflix would allow more episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival to be made had seemed sufficient in itself, but an announcement from Joel Hodgson that taping of those new episodes was about to begin seemed a small but pleasant waypoint at first glance. At second glance, noticing his comment within the announcement that the new block of shows would have six episodes in it did get me wondering. I suppose I'm one part of "at least some Mystery Science Theater fans" who remember the seventh season of the original series had only six episodes, closing down the initial run of the show on Comedy Central.

Joel, though, did offer an update afterwards proclaiming "this is not a winding down; by making fewer episodes at a time, we'll have these blocks of new content showing up more often." I was able to contemplate how the blocks of Voltron Legendary Defender episodes on Netflix have become shorter with time (even with another new set of them approaching), and for that matter I've been watching a streaming series of documentaries about toy lines (which is often entertaining, even if it leaves me wondering about "being consumed by appropriative nostalgia, smirking and taking it too seriously all at once") that started with four episodes and then added another four. In any case, the additional announcement that Joel would be "riffing" in a new life show also got my attention even if I supposed I wouldn't be able to see this effort at "getting cash on the barrelhead from an assured audience."
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Invited by the back of the package itself to see the latest official DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes as the end of an era, with only three episodes on its familiar four discs and many unofficial explanations the rights holders for the unreleased episodes were absolutely intractable, I decided I'd try and watch through it before the end of the year. It did feel as if it had been a while since I'd last seen "Girls Town"; I was a little conscious at first how its "riffing" seemed to hearken back to seasons of the show before it had actually been made through making a big deal of members of the movie's cast I wasn't even that familiar with from other episodes, but I was soon able to enjoy the rest of the humour. The disc included an interview with Chuck Love, who'd worked with Joel Hodgson to write the original theme song.

From there, it was on to "The Amazing Transparent Man." The short before the movie might well be one of the big draws of the episode for me, but I was able to get into the movie in turn even with the "riffs" about its cramped scope. Its little documentary, in explaining how the movie had been made as a tax shelter for Texan money only to be collected uncompleted by the film lab and finished that way, managed to link it to "The Giant Gila Monster," "The Killer Shrews," and "Attack of the The Eye Creatures." From there, I jumped from completing the sixth season on officially released DVDs to finishing off the tenth season with "Diabolik." It might even have been that with the series having been revived, I was in a little more relaxed mood about this now-previous "final episode." The movie had me reflecting a bit on "live-action comic adaptations" and thinking of a different superthief from across a different ocean, also just perhaps something of a response to the James Bond phenomenon of the 1960s but who'd more or less stayed "drawn"; at least a few other people might also have thought of Lupin the Third. A little documentary about the end of the series reminded me I'd at least been aware the show had been coming to an end as that had happened through reading MSTings, one of which was of "Responses from Other Networks"; the documentary revealed there'd been an actual invitation from AMC which had been turned down. As before, though, I do have to admit there's some personal neatness for me in the series having ended before having the chance to make the anti-Star Wars responses I'd found less than funny when MSTings had started piling on in the latter half of 1999... The documentary, anyway, had included some behind-the-scenes footage taped at the time and previously released without much editing; that was also included as a bonus feature.

I decided I'd at least do some spot-checking of "Satellite Dishes," the apparent consolation prize of "host segments" from the unreleased episodes for all that I should have unofficial releases of all of them. The only problem there is getting through an even dozen episodes, what with thoughts of watching actual other movies in what time I can spare in a week to watch a Mystery Science Theater episode. All the segments together made for a pretty considerable length of video, although I noticed that "Godzilla vs. Megalon," briefly available on official DVD through an apparent misunderstanding, didn't have its segments included; I had wondered a bit before about those segments having used footage from the movie... The compilation, in any case, was rather longer than a regular episode anyway. It managed to close things out through a documentary about the person who'd made most of the little documentaries of the considerable number of DVD sets, mentioning some behind-the-scenes documentation of the revival, which at least keeps me looking forward.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
After watching my way through all the episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival, I settled down to hear if more of them would be made. Some of the people commenting on Satellite News seemed to show an undercurrent of pessimism towards that possibility, though. As the summer went by and the people making the series put on a travelling live show but didn't have any news of more episodes on Netflix or anywhere else, I at least got to wondering myself. The American Thanksgiving and the traditional "Turkey Day" marathon of the show at last felt like a final chance. Then, it just so turned out that an email showed up from the Kickstarter mailing list announcing there would be more episodes right where they'd been before.

In contemplating all possibilities, though, I have to admit that no more episodes would at least mean I wouldn't be worrying what the more personally controversial people on the series might get up to. I'd even wondered a bit about resolving the small cliffhanger at the end of the new series should it have been left unfulfilled through a new MSTing; the only problem there was how little fanfiction I read these days and how long it took me to write MSTings. It was even tempting to resort to an entirely personal solution and add new "host segments" to what few revisions I'd thought of in the years since finishing my first MSTing...

Still, the beginning of the new series was a much more solid foundation for me than some that had come to mind beforehand. As much as it personally outclassed the first cable season itself, if this new series can also build on what it's already accomplished that just might be enough for me.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
A few weeks ago, one of the frequent "what the 'Best Brains' are up to" updates on Satellite News mentioned that Mike Nelson and one of his Rifftrax writers, Conor Lastowka, were recording a podcast. Looking back, I can recognize the odds against my looking further into that. I've admitted several times to my leeriness about Rifftrax, formed when some of their first synch-them-yourself audio commentaries seemed intent on putting down familiar targets, and imagining that mean-spirited mood continuing cast a shadow first on their takes on big-budget pictures I might have had less divergent reactions to and then on their more "MST3K-like" B-to-Z movies even with the convenience of pre-synched voiceovers. The only Rifftrax-related content I'd really taken a chance on was an introduction to one of the last Complete Peanuts volumes, which Conor had been a cowriter for. There was also the complication of how infrequently I listen to podcasts; I can imagine even from my own experience that it may be easier to talk to someone about something than to set down your thoughts in writing, but I have to admit that for me listening seems more time-consuming than reading, and may distract me from doing other things in the meantime. However, there really was something that could get through all of that, and that was seeing the podcast "372 Pages We'll Never Get Back" promised a comedically critical take on the novel Ready Player One...
Assorted perspectives )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
My copy of the thirty-eighth official DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 waited a long time to be opened. It had arrived just before the revival of the series got under way, and I suppose I was thinking a bit of potential unfortunate reactions and returning to known experiences as one way to get over them. Fortunately, the revival worked out pretty well for me in the end, and as I finished its last episode I could think ahead to opening the collection at last, and of the plans I'd made while waiting for that.

All the episodes in the collection were "Mike shows," and that did get me thinking of working backwards in episode-number order from the single "Sci-Fi Channel" instalment to the three sixth-season shows, not quite just "for a change." On starting with "Track of the Moon Beast," though, I did find myself thinking there was a sort of "comforting familiarity" to things. Before I could really distract myself considering how it compared to the revival episodes (with no intention of trying to put them down somehow), I was pretty well engaged with the episode's humour as it took on a 1970s monster movie (with an ultimate undercurrent of bleakness I can associate with a lot of the movies from that decade that wound up on the series), and I went on from it to a bonus interview with the actress who'd played the female lead, who did go to slight lengths to say she'd been leery about the whole thing to start with but did seem to have had a positive reaction to the MST3K version.

From there, it was back to the "Comedy Central era" and "High School Big Shot," just about as bleak in its own juvenile-delinquency-meets-degenerate-film-noir sort of way (even including the short subject "Out of This World," which takes a unique theological viewpoint on the delivery of bread) but which seems just about as funny in the series. Its bonus feature was the original movie, which have been included on a few discs before but which are perhaps a bit too much for me to take in. "Colossus and the Headhunters," the "Mike era" echo of the muscles-and-mythology Hercules movies from the "Joel years" (just as the revival included a Hercules movie of its own), was a cheerful change from what I'd just seen, and while a bonus feature where Joel talked about Mike wasn't directly connected to the movie it had some interesting moments, such as Mike's determination as a standup comic and Joel having contemplated the "Best Brain" Bridget Jones replacing him as a "genderswapped Joel" only to be told everyone else had come to their own conclusion. The DVD menu for "Invasion USA" just happened to reference the "host segments" of "Colossus and the Headhunters," which just might be seen as my backwards viewing order paying off in the end. I've seen other people unimpressed with the episode and its Cold War-agitprop movie put together with a great deal of stock footage, but I do have to admit a number of the sixth season episodes can impress me in a "bricks made without straw" sort of way. There's also the memorable short "A Date With Your Family," of course. The extras included a little documentary about the movie's producer Albert Zugsmith, who'd started in Hollywood with this production. (The documentary did mention how just before that he'd represented Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their attempt to get the rights to Superman back, if not Shuster's later suspicion, reported in Gerard Jones Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangster, and the Birth of the Comic Book that Zugsmith had made his nest egg to finance the picture by betraying his clients...) Following a career path that some of the other documentaries in the Shout! Factory sets have included, Zugsmith went on to make some fairly respectable movies, only to then then step off that path by going back to exploitation (including "Girls Town," which should be included in the next and possibly concluding collection).
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I did take my time watching through the fourteen episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival, which wound up putting me well behind even the measured-out organized discussions I'd seen about them. I suppose I went on to resolve that, as in certain other cases, I'd rather have my first reactions and reflections be my own (although there could also have been the half-acknowledged awareness that a single negative comment disagreeing with my own thoughts, even if not in response to me, can weigh heavier on me than any amount of positive agreement...) Deciding not to get too distracted from taking in the full experience by trying to scribble down memorable "riffs" to go in "episode thoughts" posts also meant keeping most of my first reactions that much more to myself.
General and specific thoughts )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
As the Roman numerals that take up most of the slipcase fronts of Shout! Factory's official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collections have grown ever more elaborate, I've seen the speculation about what episodes might yet be released begin to dwell on a group of "problem episodes," whose rights are controlled by what seems absolutely intractable groups or people. A collection of the "Cinematic Titanic" movies (which I'm afraid I still can't shake suspicion to get around to watching) being released did get me thinking things would be wrapping up with the original series. Then, though, I was surprised to see the announcement of a thirty-ninth collection, but the notice went ahead to say that one of the four discs will be the "host segments" of a dozen episodes from the problem group.

At the same time, the three episodes in the upcoming collection can still catch my attention. It's been a while since I've watched "Girls Town," which seems to stand outside the most generous boundaries of "mystery science" and perhaps doesn't quite feel just like "juvenile delinquency exploitation" either, but has an eclectic cast famous both within and without the MST3K canon. "The Amazing Transparent Man" is more "conventional" at least compared to the rest of the series, but it will mean we'll get the second "Union Pacific safety short," a personal standout for me. As well, if this is to be the end it's appropriate that the super-criminal action (adapted from an European comic) of "Diabolik" is included; it even got me remembering Shout! Factory's first collection had included the previous series-closing-out episode.

With all of that to look forward to, I'm reminded I've been waiting to open the thirty-eighth collection. It had shown up right around when the revival was beginning to stream, and I suppose I'd contemplated the possibility "if I disagree with these new episodes..." That the dark outcome hasn't come to pass yet (even with three revival episodes still to watch) is a little heartening by now.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
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...
The crucial ninety minutes )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
I am taking my time watching through the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000; hour-and-a-half blocks of time are valuable and very often fine-sliced commodities for me. As I got to the second episode, I suppose I was thinking a bit of a comment or two just seen of this somehow being a moment where the revived series had to prove itself all over again and climb past "the novelty of a first episode," and I did even wonder a bit how I was taking the first minutes of "Cry Wilderness." As with quite a few of the original episodes, though, the humour seemed to build in a cumulative fashion. The movie itself perhaps wasn't quite as "high concept" as "a giant monster movie set in Denmark," but it packed plenty of absurdity all the same.
Then, all of a sudden... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
The announcement Joel Hodgson was planning not just a new "movie-riffing" project but a revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000 itself raised a more uncomfortable mixture of emotions than I would have liked to have felt. I've tried saying it's a matter of being ambiguous about a sense that modern "pop culture commentary" has so much stuff to comment on nowadays that it doesn't reach back as far as it once did and that "righteous superiority" can shade into "somehow not energetic enough to go looking for better stuff," but I suppose it's all just trying to cover up for how, as the MSTing community was slowing to a standstill, it didn't help that just about every comment hostile first to The Phantom Menace and then to Attack of the Clones would grate on me and kill my enthusiasm to read on then and there...

At almost the last moment, though, I decided I could take so much of a chance as to pledge for the "digital-only package"; if I did wind up deleting my downloaded files, at least it wouldn't be quite the same as trying to get rid of a Blu-Ray set with accompanying collector's book. That pledge did happen to produce downloadable versions of the very first two episodes of the show's formative season, and that was something I could think of as to the good. Even so, I knew the premiere of the episodes made decades later was approaching...

I started the special one-day-only preview stream with caution, and yet an hour and a half later there was "optimism" shading into that caution. While I later saw comments from others about "riffs being thrown at us" (the first few minutes of the rather memorable movie, though, were slow enough there to somehow alter my impression of the whole thing), to me they did seem to reach beyond "here and now," and more than that to address the movie in an entertaining way rather than just springboard off to all too familiar opinions. As the fourteen episodes enough money was raised for go up on Netflix, I know it'll be a while until I can watch all of them (and I'm still cautious about one described as a "1970s Star Wars ripoff"), but I can now at least hope the good stuff I've already seen will keep outweighing whatever hypothetical comments might disagree with me.
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.

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