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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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A Canadian Perspective

Canadians are generally less familiar with MST3K, which shouldn’t be surprising, since the show never played on TV there. But via the intertubes and the DVDs, a fan base is building north of the border.

Case in point: I submit for your approval one Adam Clarke who recently penned an article in “The Scope,” an arts and entertainment magazine in St. John’s. On the Joel/Mike issue Adam clearly lands solidly in the Joel camp (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but, in a show of a typically Canadian sense of fair play, he includes many fun Mike moments in the extensive lists of videos that accompany his piece. Enjoy!

20 Replies to “A Canadian Perspective”

  1. snowdog says:

    Oh, he’s just still mad about Tom’s Canada Song from the Sci Fi years. :)


  2. big61al says:

    This just shows that real quaulity tv can and does endure. MST3K is THE best TV show ever and I will not waver on this point. HI-KEEBA!


  3. I’m Canadian. THE FINAL SACRIFICE is one of the best episodes.


  4. ck says:

    An interesting take on MST3000, but i think pearl, Brain Guy
    and Bobo hold their own against Dr. F. and TV’s Frank as
    villains. And less energy? With Ortega pulling in donations
    so Pearl can play the ponies on some well meaning liberal’s coin?

    Take this Adam Clarke!


  5. Professor Gunther says:

    I saw The Movie right before I moved back to Canada (in 1998), and fortunately my wife and I had good friends who were big fans of the show and had a (Canadian) friend living in the States who supplied them with tapes. (“Keep circulating the tapes”!) So basically I became familiar with the show in Canada. I’m back in the States now, but I lived for twenty years in Calgary, which isn’t all that far from where The Final Sacrifice was filmed (and of course Calgary’s SAIT played a role in its creation).

    I’ve always loved Tom’s Canada Song, although to be honest I’ve always been somewhat bemused by its slightly limited perspective on Canada (on the other hand, that’s what partly makes it so funny). That said, Minnesotans DO know Canada. I love Tom’s quip about Crow’s failed band trip to Winnipeg in Crash of the Moons, for example. :-)


  6. Canucklehead says:

    For this Canadian MST3K fan, the first exposure I had to MST3K was the old Rhino VHS tapes (Brain That Wouldn’t Die was first). After that, I traded old DW with a US fan in exchange for Sci-Fi eps. My brother lived in Colorado, so I got more Sci-Fi era eps from him. So my exposure to Sci-Fi was probably greater. However, once the DVDs came in, I quickly started getting caught up on the Comedy Channel years. So Mike was the primary host I’d known from the start. I tend not to get caught up in the whole Joel/Mike argument; instead I either find the ep funny or don’t. Having said that, though, I think Adam’s got it wrong: Sci-Fi didn’t have less energy, just different energy. I rank Girl in Gold Boots as one of my top ten all time MST3K eps, along with Space Mutiny.


  7. Keith Palmer says:

    I managed to learn about Mystery Science Theater “north of the border” via MSTings, although after I’d first seen them I did also see some publicity of the Movie in advance of the videotape releases. The first MSTings I saw were set in “season 5.5/6,” so in some ways that was my “default” configuration of the show, but I’ve grown to see differing good points about its different eras. I suppose I was reluctant to get around to watching “The Final Sacrifice,” but once I had I was able to enjoy it too.


  8. trickymutha says:

    Clarke has good points- and I’ve certainly engaged in late night comparison contrast debates between the casts and eras of the show. What he fails to point out, however, is some of the legacy episodes of the series were on Sci-Fi. What would MST be without- Merlin, Time Chasers, Boggy Creek, Puma Man? Sure, Frank picked some winners, but give the 8-10 crew some credit. Finally, yes M&TB are a bit mean at times to actors, but, so what? It’s just a show, so just relax.


  9. Canucklehead says:

    #7 – I forgot all about MiSTings, which could be highly entertaining. I was involved in one MiSTing of DW fanfic, and it was a hoot.

    But getting back to the topic at hand. While it is certainly true that M&TB targeted characters a lot of the time, how many times was Mike the target of jokes by Tom & Crow? Pretty darned often. So why did they target characters a lot? Because it was the nature of their humour.


  10. Spector says:

    I was lucky enough to be introduced to MST3K by my friend Claudio during the mid-1990s. His best friend had moved from Calgary to New York and was following the rule of “circulating the tapes”, by sending him tapes of the show during its final two seasons on Comedy Central, and after he’d watch them, he’d loan them to me. I moved from Calgary to Anchorage in 1997, just in time for the show’s final three seasons on Sci-fi, and taped all those episodes and sent ’em to Claudio back in Calgary. Since returning to Canada in 2001, I’ve tried to get my Canadian friends interested, but sadly, few have found the same interest and love of MST3K as I have. I still chalk that up to the fact the show was never syndicated to Canada during its run, which was a real shame, as I think it would’ve found a good audience here. Still, for Claudio and I, we feel very fortunate to have become fans of this wonderful gem of a show. For me, it’s almost like I’m part of an exclusive club, and am damn proud to call myself a “MSTie”, even if I’m a rare Canadian one.


  11. Canucklehead says:

    The worst part of being a Canadian MiSTie, I find, was seeing the lame Canadian attempts to try and do what MST3K did. There was Ed the Sock, and at least two other shows that I have vague memories of (one was from Halifax). The fact that I can’t recall them should tell you the level of hilarity that ensued when I attempted to watch them…


  12. Spector says:

    Canucklehead, I agree, those efforts totally sucked.


  13. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Basically a good article but I think Clarke was totally wrong with his evaluation of the Mike Nelson years.
    While the show did change, it did not degenerate as Clarke strongly asserts.
    Some people liked the Joel era and others the Mike one, but most of us liked the show and found enjoyment in all its incarnations.


  14. Canucklehead says:

    Spector, I distinctly remember that some of them even tried doing some of the same movies MST3K did, with poor results. One title that I just discovered (thanks to Wikipedia) was “Steve (Red Green) Smith’s Playhouse”. Here’s the description from Wikipedia:

    Sticking with Space, there was also Space Bar. Aired when Space showed B-Movies, Space Bar was the equivalent of host segments, where a bartender, alien, and robot would discuss the movie. No, not similar to MST3K at all…


  15. Thanks for this post, fine folks of MST3kinfo. I used to check this site religiously back when there were tapes to circulate.

    Re: Richard
    I definitely enjoy Joel’s approach to the show more than I do Mike’s, but I maintain that Mike’s Comedy Central eps (& MST3k:TM) are quite good. I’m not much for the Sci-Fi era (though there are a handful I like), but I guess there are those who love Time Chasers and those who don’t. We’ll always have Eegah and Outlaw (of Gor). Man is a feeling creature, so I know you understand my point of view on this even if you don’t agree with me.

    As for awful Canadian rip-offs of Mike/Joel & The Bots, who here remembers El Mundo Del Lundo? If so, I’m sorry for the wound I just re-opened.

    This has been a Canadian perspective.


  16. Canucklehead says:

    TV’s Adam Clarke, El Mundo Del Lundo was the title of one of the shows I was trying to forget. Thank you for reminding me, so I can now forget with a clean conscience.

    And thank you, for letting us laugh about love, again…


  17. Spector says:

    Arrrgggh, Adam! Why did you have to remind me of that awful, horrible, blatant rip-off?

    They tampered in God’s domain…


  18. ck says:

    I am appalled that TV’s Adam Clarke brought up El Mundo Del Lundo, thereby
    inflicting angst on Spector.

    Adam Clarke learned, almost too late, that man is a feeling creature.


  19. Genericboardname says:

    I remember first seeing MST3K when the Movie aired on TV some years ago, and I never forgot it. Years later, my friend and I watched the Incredible Melting Man on YouTube. I started looking up episodes myself, and then started buying the DVD’s, and here I am today, proud Canadian MSTie.


  20. dignan100 says:

    Mike beats the pants off of joel. Joel invented it but mike perfected it.


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