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Weekend Discussion Thread: Your Viewing Rotation

Keep those thread topics coming, but here’s one from me:

In the episode guide discussions, I often see people talking about how this episode or that episode is or is not in your regular viewing rotation, and wasn’t in that rotation before but eventually got to be in the regular rotation, or whatever.

So: You’re in the mood for an episode. (We all know that feeling, don’t we?) How do you pick which episode to watch?

95 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Your Viewing Rotation”

  1. Captain Cab says:

    My favorite episodes/genres I go for first are always either space exploration or alien themed, ’80s flicks, or episodes that have serial shorts like Commando Cody or Phantom Creeps (which on their own are also really handy to watch when I don’t have time to watch an entire episode in one sitting).


  2. Captain Cab says:

    Forgot to add Japanese monster flicks and failed TV shows are also very high on my go-to rotation.


  3. Depressing Aunt says:

    I go by mood, and I’m often influenced by host segments. Suddenly I’ll find myself thinking, much like a Servo clone, “Remember that time they did that fun thing together that was so fun?”

    When I just can’t decide, I get something from the bottom of the box. Everything fits in this great big box-like thing I bought. Oh for a proper, grown-up cabinet or bookcase! Alas.


  4. Hank Goodness says:

    In order.
    The winter of 2009-10 I sat down and watched every single episode in order. My job is seasonal so I was sitting around for two months waiting for the snow to melt. Since then I’ve watched them in order again, but it took me three years to do it this time.
    But if I really need a quick fix, I go for Pod People, Mitchell, Eegah!, or any episode from the TV’s Frank era.
    Has there ever been a poll of MSTie’s favorite episodes? I would love to see an official Top Ten.


  5. sirmike says:

    Glad to see so many others choosing randomly. I only have about half of the shows but I have them labeled for the four different permutations of the cast, each somewhat complimenting a different mood with each separate riffing style.


  6. Blowie the Dolphin says:

    I’ll watch them on the anniversary of when they were first shown.


  7. Sitting Duck says:

    @#38: You e-mail your topic suggestions to Sampo at msampoATaolDOTcom


  8. ToolAssist says:

    Generally, I like watching a really old B&W movie, then a newer color movie. That’s usually how I pick. If I’m in the mood for any random ep, I’ll bring up Wikipedia’s list of MST3K episodes and scroll through it and just go “oh yeah, that’s a fun one/i haven’t watched that in a while.”


  9. I usually let fate decide when I want to just watch some MST. I aim my hands in the direction of the DVD collection, close my eyes, and the first DVD or set that I touch is selected, then repeat if it’s a set to choose the episode.

    But if we’re talking about my regular “rotation” (meaning the ones I intentionally go back to when I want to watch an episode), that’s a specific group. The most common ones in that group are Cosmic Princess (my favorite episode), The Violent Years (my favorite Ed Wood episode), Godzilla vs. Megalon (for my joy at owning the real DVD), The Sinister Urge (with my favorite short), The Phantom Planet (my favorite of the Sc-Fi era) and The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman (because…r-r-r-rowr!).


  10. Viking Woman says:

    Thank you, #57.


  11. Luther Heggs says:

    Lottery method. Ping-Pong balls with episode numbers.

    Once a ball is drawn, it goes right back into the group for the next drawing.

    Inevitably, I will sometimes watch the same episode back to back because I pulled the same ball again, but it’s rare.

    There was one week where I pulled the same number three times in a row.

    Over a period of seven days, I pulled ping-pong ball #818 three times.

    And I watched Devil Doll three times.

    If I had drawn it a fourth time in a row, I would have felt cursed.

    Three was unsettling enough.

    My method of choosing is also a conversation starter. One of the first things someone asks when initially seeing the viewing room is “What’s the barrel for?”

    It’s at that point, that I know I’ve got them. Oh, they don’t know it yet, but I do. Subconsciously, they can’t help but wonder why a person would go to so much trouble to watch a series over and over.

    I’m a very successful disciple and bring in new converts regularly, thanks to the barrel.

    I enjoy graphing the results and noting frequency over time. I also enjoy making a psychic guess over what ball will be drawn next.

    One last statistic, there is one ball that has never been drawn since I started this method, so I’m always looking forward to pulling that one, because it really will feel like winning the lottery.

    Perhaps I need to get a life.


  12. Luther Heggs says:

    Oh, and MST3K the movie is in the barrel, but instead of a number on the ball, it’s just a purple star. I call it the :star: Star Ball :star: .

    I consider it lucky.


  13. MikeK says:

    I often watch them in order, but when I don’t feel like doing that, I select something at random or I go to my standby episodes, which is what I’m doing now.

    My random episode from last week was The Starfighters. I appreciate this episode more and more every time I watch it. I’ve also gotten used to the movie itself.

    My standby episodes are:

    I Accuse My Parents
    Cave Dwellers (watching it now)
    Red Zone Cuba
    The Skydivers
    The Sidehackers
    Pod People
    Jack Frost
    Future War

    So basically it’s a lot of the early stuff from Rhino Home Video and Sci-Fi era episodes that immediately became my favorites when they first aired.


  14. trickymutha says:

    Viewing patterns this weekend?
    Fire Maidens from Outer space
    Terror from the year 5000
    Teenagers from Outer Space



  15. ck says:

    While, as indicated above, usually watcvhing in order, there are some that for reasons including plot, execution of same, “interesting” characters, atmosphere, etc. are special viewing choices. In addition to the two holiday Santa Claus movies (esp. SCCtM) they include Space Mutiny, The Crawling Eye for a nice film noir atmosphere, Time Chasers—really an interesting plot and pretty good execution of same on a limited budget and experience of the plucky filmmakers, and a piece of shhh…surely, very…quality, quality, film-making, Overdrawn at the
    Memory Bank, which had interesting premises—although marred by its verulent anteater bigotry, and Spider island (do you have to ask why)?


  16. The Mighty Untrained FOOZLE says:

    I watch them mostly in bed, so it can take me several nights to get through one. When I’m not following the weekly ep guide (or I’ve gotten ahead of it–which doesn’t happen too often), I usually go by criteria: first, host. Then, Mads or Pearl. Then, genre (e.g., teens in trouble or sword and sandals). Finally, I give up and pop in either Space Mutiny or Hobgoblins and chuckle myself to sleep.


  17. MikeK says:

    I should also add Oversrawn at the Memory Bank to my list, a movie I became so fond of that I actually bought an unMSTed version on VHS. Time Chaser is a good standby episode as well.


  18. a-lion-jumped-out-and-shot-her says:

    My normal routine is to just eyeball the titles on my shelf until one catches my eye which fits the mood I’m in.
    However, for the first time ever, I’m watching all the episodes that I have in chronological order. I’m in season 6 now, and I’m watching approx. 1 per week.


  19. a-lion-jumped-out-and-shot-her says:

    A little off topic… but for those interested in Mamie Van Doren, TCM is playing 7 of her movies, including Untamed Youth, on June 20th according to their website.


  20. Servo Fan 1 says:

    Whatever episode I’m in the mood to see. Although, this is sometimes risky, because I don’t want to ruin all of the jokes before I own the episode.


  21. Weepy Donuts says:

    I work second shift, so I usually need about an hour to decompress before heading to bed. Lately I’ve been watching SCTV. (Its okay to say that here, we’re all friends.)

    I’m almost ready to jump back into MST3K and have pretty much decided that Comedy Central-era Mike is where I want to start. Nothing makes me happier than Crow T. Robot in the later Comedy Central seasons. I’ll probably start watching the episodes in order until the newest set from Shout! Factory arrives.


  22. Professor Gunther says:

    #61: you’re joking, right? I mean, you don’t REALLY use ping-pong balls. If you are joking, that’s hilarious. If you aren’t joking, that’s very impressive–and hilarious! :)


  23. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    Actually *I* use ping-pong balls to determine how to write these replies (I have words on all the balls and draw them out — I used to have just letters but it’s amazing how random the sentences would be then).

    It’s similar to the method I choose to reply when my wife asks me a question (I use the Magic 8 Ball — once it came up “Ask Again Later” three times in a row and she filed for divorce, but I talked her out of it).


  24. Luther Heggs says:

    at #71: No joke. I am using an analog ping-pong ball random episode generator!

    I scored a ridiculous amount of vintage table tennis balls at an estate sale for an unbelievably low price.

    How I found the right barrel is a long and somewhat boring story. Up until then, I was using a cardboard box that just wasn’t doing justice to MST3K. :cyclops:


  25. Savvy says:

    I guess it’s just easiest to “Keep Circulating The Tapes!” I seem to find it that the more I watch any episode, the more I understand it and the more I love it. So, you could say that I generally watch what I’m in the mood for and love every minute of it.


  26. eegah says:

    My random episode selector:

    Just click the link and it takes you to a random episode page from Daddy-O’s Drive-in Dirt!


  27. Bill Redfern says:

    I’m currently watching them in broadcast order, having just finished “Master Ninja 1” last night.

    Actually, this is my first time watching them. *GASP!!!* At least, the Comedy Central era. I taped a few of the SFC episodes and eventually bought VHS copies of “the Movie”, “Mitchel” and “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”, so my collection has been next to nothing.

    Plus, I didn’t have a circle of friends who were into the series, so I never had the experiencing of “circulating the tapes” as the early Comedy Central end credits used to urge.

    But sometime last year I stumbled across a YouTube account that had the first Comedy Channel (before it became Comedy Central) season. What a find! So I started with “The Crawling Eye” and opted to watch them in order. Later, I discovered the Club-MST3K site. It doesn’t actually host the videos, but it does provide links to YouTube and other video repositories. Plus, it’s dynamic. If a particular segment “vanishes”, a new link will be provided should another person upload it somewhere.

    Thus, I’m finally experiencing the “famous” bits that have amused other fans for years.

    It is my plan to continue watching them in order. Thankfully, Club-MST3K makes that easy as the episodes are listed in order and grouped into seasons.




  28. Sitting Duck says:

    @#61: What’s the episode you haven’t drawn yet?


  29. Mitchell "Rowsdower" Beardsley says:

    I’ve watched the entire series (minus Season 1) in order twice. I’ve written ‘double features’ with a common theme i.e. Giant Spider Invasion and Earth vs The Spider on pieces of paper and pulled them randomly. I’ve closed my eyes and just picked a tape (I’m old) and put that in the VCR without looking at it. I’ve recorded random episodes on tapes and not labelled them so later I forget what’s on what and just threw one in.

    Now I just randomly pick a good one. I really wish I had a completely random way to pick and now eegah #76 comes up with a random pick generator and


    Thank you Eegah!!


  30. sol-survivor says:

    Most of my viewing is on weekends since I work nights, although sometimes at work I’ll listen to an episode or two off of YouTube while I’m working. When I had the boxed sets and singles on my shelves I would sometimes close my eyes, pick one at random, and watch one of the discs. Now I have copies of the discs in sleeves in file boxes (to save space) with the boxes and originals put away, so that method doesn’t work anymore. Now it’s mostly something reminding me of a scene or a riff and picking that one, or someone will mention an episode on one of the sites I hang out at and I think “Hey, I haven’t seen that one for a long time.” One of these days I’ll have to watch “Blood Waters of Dr Z” since that’s the only episode I haven’t seen (other than most of the KTMAs; I have them but have only watched a few). The first time it was on I fell asleep about five minutes into it and I never got back to it. Usually when I get a new set I’ll watch all of them within a couple weeks but for some reason I didn’t get to that one. Some of my favorites don’t come out of the player for three or four (or more) viewings.


  31. GizmonicTemp says:

    I forgot to mention that at my site I have a viewing calendar with certain movies on certain actors’ birthdays, or holidays or festivals. That’s always a good starter for me.

    Luther Heggs #61 – That, my friend, is AWESOME! You should rig up a Tom Servo-esque ping pong ball dispenser, just like in #619 Red Zone Cuba.

    Mitchell “Rowsdower” Beardsley #79 – Ooooo! I like the random Double-Feature idea!


  32. Hank McCoy says:

    Being the geeky family that we are, we have made a spreadsheet of all the episodes we have – with separate entries for Shorts 1, Shorts 2, Mr B’s Shorts, and the shorts with Killer Shrews.

    They are organized by episode order and we roll a 6 sided die and a 20 sided die to give us one of the 120 possibilities, and then we watch that.


  33. charles h. says:

    depends on the mood for me as well but it goes for the host more for me if i am in the mood for a joel episode or a mike episode, then it just flows from there.:)


  34. Beau Smith says:

    I just went through the whole series in order, I started late 2009 and finished in january this year. I had to take some time off after that, and about the end of April I wondered if I was ready. I have those cycles where I don’t know if I’m just used to watching episodes or if i genuinely want to see one. I test myself with “Assignment: Venezuela,” and I busted up, so I’m just going by gut feeling for now.

    Watching them all in order has given me a new appreciation for quite a few more episodes than I had before, but I don’t quite remember what tickled me about them, so whichever episode I think of that gives me that feeling, I pop in. Last week, Touch Of Satan. Week Before, War Of The Colossal Beast.

    I’m excited to see what my brain will decide for tonight.


  35. Bob(NotThatBob) says:

    I don’t have a rotation when I watch – I always face front.


  36. Luther Heggs says:

    @ Sitting Duck 78: after a little over two years of using this method, I have yet to draw 320, The Unearthly.

    @ GizmonicTemp 81: Thank you for your support. As far as your dispenser design suggestion – as a bearded Mr. Spock would say, “Captain GizmonicTemp, I shall consider it.”

    (I’m such a geek and dreamer at the core. After all these years, I still get chills over that famous exchange.)

    And my sincere thanks to anyone/everyone here who supports my mental illness eccentric behavior regarding the ping-pong generator. I knew you would understand.


  37. Luther Heggs says:

    (because of this discussion, I can’t help but view my generic avatar as a man with a Ping-Pong ball head. The more I look, the weirder it becomes.)


  38. Luther Heggs says:

    at eegah 76: Your method is so much easier, Mr. DC! And much appreciated. It is a great luxury to have the choice between analog and digital oracles.

    Would it be possible for you to add “M01” to your java script episode matrix so your generator can potentially pull up Daddy O’s Drive-in Dirt indexed MST2K The Movie as well?


  39. jjk says:

    #61. Is your ping-pong ball system rigged like the NBA draft lottery so you get the episodes you really want to watch?


  40. KidOCD says:

    I’ve put together an Applescript on my Mac laptop. It will randomly come up with an ep for viewing. That way, everyone gets a fair shot, and I don’t burn a hole through Manos. For example, Zombie Nightmare was last Saturday’s episode and which I hadn’t seen in probably years.

    Yeah, I probably should see someone about my OCD, but who’s got the time what with having to alphabetize the spice rack and all that?


  41. pondoscp says:

    Why are you rotating the biscuit holder?


  42. Wow, this question gets more complex the more I think about it…

    My overall rotation is a subset of my entire collection — episodes which are either instant favorites, or which managed to grow on me after three or four viewings. As far as how I pick one… well, there’s all sorts of things that influence my decision:

    1. Weather. If it’s a kind of gray, dreary, rainy day — like we’ve been having here in DC for the past couple of dyas — I’ll go for episodes whose movies which, though not actually taking place in the rain, still have a kind of gray, dreary feel to them: Tormented, Red Zone Cuba, High School Big Shot, Slime People. Here in DC, when it hasn’t been raining, we’re at that point of early summer where we get lots of beautiful, sunny clear days that are great for going for a motorcycle ride — but since I don’t own a motorcycle, those are the days when I like to settle back with a cold beer and an episode from the Season 2 Biker Exploitation Trilogy: Sidehackers, Hellcats, or Wild Rebels, or maybe an episode with a beach flick, like Catalina Caper or Horror Of Party Beach.

    2. Grateful Dead. Along with being a hardcore MSTie, I’m also a hardcore Deadhead (how sad is that?) with an extensive bootleg tape collection, including tapes of just about every show I’ve been to. On the anniversaries of historic Dead shows, or shows I’ve been to, I like to mark the anniversary by playing my tape of that show and following it up with — that’s right — The Dead Talk Back… because, well, y’know… the Dead.

    3. I am SO HIGH. Then, there’s those special blissful moments when I’ve just finished toasting up a little doobage, and I’m totally in the mood for the goofiest episode I can get my hands on, and for that there’s a subset of my rotation I call my “stoned favorites”: King Dinosaur, The Unearthly, Gamera Vs. Guiron, Bride Of The Monster, Monster A Go-Go, Manos, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Skydivers, Racket Girls, Samson Vs. The Vampire Women, Brute Man, Leech Woman, The Incredibly Strange Creatures, and Space Mutiny — all episodes guaranteed to have me cackling like a lunatic after copping a few tokes.

    4. Yuri and Neil. Along with being a MSTie and a Deadhead, I’m also a serious spaceflight history geek, one of those guys who celebrates “Yuri’s Night” and the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, and I like to mark those anniversaries with general space-themed episodes for Yuri’s Night (Rocketship XM, Crash Of The Moons, Phantom Planet, Space Mutiny) and specifically moon-themed episodes for July 21 (Project Moonbase, 12 To The Moon).

    5. Mixmaster! I like to use VLC Media Player to set up “mixes” of three or four episodes based on a theme or devoted to a single director or actor: Capers, Juvenile Delinquents, Aliens, Biker Flicks, Japanese, Space, Airplanes, Third-Rate Festival, Dystopian/Post-Apocalypse, Roger Corman, Bert I. Gordon, Ed Wood, Coleman Francis, Tor Johnson, John Agar, Wendell Corey, etc. etc. etc.


  43. …and, if I’m not inspired by the weather, or it’s not an anniversary of a historic Dead show, or it’s not Yuri’s Night or Neil’s Night, or I’m not baked, or I don’t feel like sitting through a long VLC “mix” — then it just boils down to random mood, like a lot of folks here.

    Lately, I’ve been in the mood for particular eras. This week, I’ve been on a serious Joel Jag. Who knows, though; next week I’ll be itching for some early Nelson Era CC episodes, or some SciFi Channel stuff, or maybe even want to pull out the one KTMA episode that really clicks for me: SST Death Flight, a movie that really should’ve been re-riffed in Season 3 or 4, but slipped through the cracks.


  44. Creepygirl says:

    I too own all the episodes but only watch the KTMAs and the Rhino and SHOUT!Factory releases. With only around 60 episodes left I’d rather wait for the official releases.

    That being said, I watch each official episode once every 3 or 4 years apart. That way not only do I not get burned out but when I re-watch it’s like new. That comes out to a few a month. As more are released it will be more a month.

    I a while back thought I may try viewing in box set order but VOLs 1-3 I had on Rhino VHS (watched a lot) and VOLs 4 & 5 where played to death until 2004 on Sci-Fi.

    So right now my rotation is random. With every new box set release I’ll watch over a couple months.


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