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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

Social Media


MST3K is Relaunched!

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is now live on Netflix!

Here’s the trailer.

Or how about a Q&A with the new Crow and Tom Servo?

363 Replies to “MST3K is Relaunched!”

  1. Lucky Jim says:

    I was a huge MST3K for such a long, long time and then I kinda drifted away from the show for quite awhile. “Reptillicus” was the first full episode I had watched in years.

    So it was with great relief that I’ve fallen back in love with the show again. It’s hard to describe, but the moment that really sealed it for me was during the opening title sequence. Jonah’s just been captured and now he’s being led through the ridiculous Moon 13 set, with Felicia Day singing and her goofy band of skeleton people jamming away. Something about that screamed classic MST3K to me but it also felt like an evolution. The show is the same, but it’s different as well. And I’m a different person now than I was when I first started watching the show.

    There are things I miss about older versions of the show (love him or hate him, Jim Mallon IS Gypsy) but I appreciate Joel’s willingness to push the show and mutate it just a little bit. I’ll never be that person I was 20 years ago and MST3K won’t be the same show either. But that’s OK.

       9 likes

  2. WeatherServo9 says:

    Sorry, I’m sure someone has said something about this before…

    But – how nice to see Paul Chaplin’s name in the writing credits! Yay!

    I’m now seven episodes in and am enjoying the experience immensely.

    I was also working on digitizing the latest DVD set tonight (which I haven’t had time to get around to until now) and watched some snippets of Invasion USA. One of the first things I noticed was that there were a lot of riffs delivered very quickly in the theater. Reading through the many comments about season 11, it seems that the speed of riffing in the new season is the one consistent criticism that many people share. And sure, if you go all the way back to season 1 (or Gamera forbid a KTMA episode), there were a lot of pregnant pauses from the riffers in those films compared to, say, the rapid-fire Reptilicus riffing. But fast-forward a few seasons, and the ‘old schoolers’ were knocking out riffs left and right. Even in Manos, they talk and talk (like during any car scene).

    I will say that some of the old host segments sure do take on a, shall we say, quaintness when compared to the new ones. You can really hear the noise of the puppets a lot (something I never really noticed until now), and the 4:3 ratio is actually kind of frustrating to watch now. But I feel like the main difficulty with the riffs in season 11 (and they do slow down a bit as the episodes progress) is that the voices of the three young men are very close in timbre and style. So the speed is not really problem. Like many have said, though, it’s just something new to get used to. And seven episodes in, I’m really enjoying Baron Vaughn’s Tom Servo. I think he really captures the spirit of our old, beloved, egomaniacal Tom.

    Whatever you think of season 11, it is obviously a labor of love. It is obvious that everyone involved loves MST3K and put a lot of creativity and hard work into these new episodes. There is a sincerity from this new season that is palpable and makes the whole thing wonderful, even if these big color movies all kind of look the same.

    As Christopher Plummer might say if he were here, “Now some big things have crashed into each other and the galaxy is at peace. Well, at peace until the next villain comes along, I mean. Which I’m sure he will. But, until then, enjoy this wonderful (if short-lived) victory that cost lots of people their lives and continued this galactic empire which seems not very different from the people we were just fighting. It’s a happy ending, is what I’m saying.”

    Or words to that effect.

       12 likes

  3. Mikey says:

    BRONYFICENT: YOU SHUT UP MIKEY, YOU SHUT UP! YOU DON’T GIVE NO MATCHES TO MIKEY, YOU HEAR ME?!?! I DON’T CARE WHAT MIKEY SAY OR MIKEY DO!

    DirtyTerry: Nobody give matches to this guy.

    And they do continue with the plot twist. Not that it gets very far.

    P.S. – I am the firestarter. Twisted firestarter.

       0 likes

  4. PrezGAR says:

    Jonah, Hampton and Felicia will all be contestants tonight on Comedy central’s @midnight, which airs at 11:30 PM Eastern.

       1 likes

  5. Mr Sack says:

    Lavendare:
    MST3K crew riffs on “Stranger Things.”

    http://ew.com/tv/2017/04/14/stranger-things-mystery-science-theater-3000/

    During the lull between MST3K ending and Mike Nelson creating RiffTrax, I purchased a Playstation 2 on launch date, giving me access to the world of DVDs, and when commentary tracks became the standard, I thought “man, wouldn’t it be great if Best Brains created commentary tracks for DVDs, and it was a rule that every movie had to have a track featuring the MST3K groups riffing on the movie?” Obviously RiffTrax filled in that need quite nicely. Seeing this incredibly funny 2 minute piece of Jonah & The Bots (it feels so good to say that) riffing on Stranger Things, I feel now that Netflix should allow for an “MST3K Riff Commentary” option on all their original streaming content. Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, and especially the Marvel series could all do with the option to add some snark to the proceedings!

       4 likes

  6. Thad says:

    Mr Sack: Jonah & The Bots (it feels so good to say that)

    Say, did we ever work out how to abbreviate that? J&TB is ambiguous. So are JR&TB and JH&TB, given that we had a JH playing a JR and now we have a JR playing a JH.

       1 likes

  7. random says:

    Thad: Say, did we ever work out how to abbreviate that?J&TB is ambiguous.So are JR&TB and JH&TB, given that we had a JH playing a JR and now we have a JR playing a JH.

    JH&TB and JL&TB maybe?

       1 likes

  8. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    J2&TB

    alternatively, use the number of their host-ship, kinda like the doctors

    1&TB
    2&TB
    3&TB

    and so on

       1 likes

  9. EricJ says:

    I just filled my diaper!

       3 likes

  10. Ian L. says:

    I did like the first episode, “Reptilicus”, with some reservations. The riffing could stand to slow down a bit, I didn’t really dig Gypsy being in the theater or Servo flying around, and I’m not feeling the new Mads just yet. And while Crow’s new voice is a pretty good imitation, I’m not crazy about Servo’s just yet- I feel like it needs to grow on me. But I laughed at some riffs, and that’s all that matters. Plus it was a fantastic movie choice for the season debut.

    I’m not going to binge watch the whole season right away; I’m planning to watch one or two episodes a week. No reason to rush through it. Anyone else doing the same?

       2 likes

  11. Real EricJ says:

    EricJ:
    I just filled my diaper!

    I just graduated high school! :)

       1 likes

  12. Bronyficent says:

    Ian L.:
    I did like the first episode, “Reptilicus”, with some reservations.The riffing could stand to slow down a bit, I didn’t really dig Gypsy being in the theater or Servo flying around, and I’m not feeling the new Mads just yet.And while Crow’s new voice is a pretty good imitation, I’m not crazy about Servo’s just yet- I feel like it needs to grow on me.But I laughed at some riffs, and that’s all that matters.Plus it was a fantastic movie choice for the season debut.

    I’m not going to binge watch the whole season right away; I’m planning to watch one or two episodes a week.No reason to rush through it.Anyone else doing the same?

    Actually, I finished with the season a while ago. Now I’m having it play on loop on another device, with the sound muted. We need to keep views high for Season 12!

       1 likes

  13. Mr Sack says:

    Thad: Say, did we ever work out how to abbreviate that?J&TB is ambiguous.So are JR&TB and JH&TB, given that we had a JH playing a JR and now we have a JR playing a JH.

    You’re blowing my mind, man!

    I would say JR would be Joel Robinson and JH is Jonah Heston, since we refer to the characters with the phrases “J&TB” and “M&TB” (I mean, we’re not referring to the actors when we say “The Bots”).

       2 likes

  14. Ro-man, aka one of several possible Steves says:

    Ian L.:

    I’m not going to binge watch the whole season right away; I’m planning to watch one or two episodes a week.No reason to rush through it.Anyone else doing the same?

    Here, here!

    I’ve made it through 1104, Avalanche, in the, what, week and a half since the advance screening of Reptillicus? That’s about as close to binging as I hope to ever get. ;-) I plan on 1 ep or so a week going forward… resisting my kids urging to rush through them!

    No, my friends, this vintage is to be savored.

       2 likes

  15. EricJ says:

    Ro-man, aka one of several possible Steves: Here, here!
    I’ve made it through 1104, Avalanche, in the, what, week and a half since the advance screening of Reptillicus?That’s about as close to binging as I hope to ever get.;-)I plan on 1 ep or so a week going forward… resisting my kids urging to rush through them!

    No, my friends, this vintage is to be savored.

    Binging is Evil, yes (and not even good Evil), but I’ve had some project to work on where I like some sound-friendly video playing on the tablet nearby, so that’s already gotten me through Avalanche. That’s the closest I’VE ever gotten to Netflix binging, apart from getting through both seasons of Beat Bugs in three weeks.

    Fortunately, they give us a break with Beast of Hollow Mountain to slog through, and develop a more lenient pace for watching.

       0 likes

  16. EricJ says:

    Real EricJ: I just graduated high school!:)

    I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Gizmonics!

       4 likes

  17. Ro-man, aka one of several possible Steves says:

    EricJ: Binging is Evil… but I’ve had some project to work on where I like some sound-friendly video playing on the tablet nearby, so that’s already gotten me through Avalanche

    Hmmm…. sounds like conditional morality to me, EricJ. ;-)

    Well, its not my preference for a whole lot of reasons, but I’m not about to call binging (on TV shows, anyway) Evil. Even if I considered it so, I’ve learned that bandying such incendiary terms about never really helps advance my position.

    Think about it, won’t we? Thank you. :-D

       10 likes

  18. Gobi says:

    Mr Sack: You’re blowing my mind, man!

    I would say JR would be Joel Robinson and JH is Jonah Heston, since we refer to the characters with the phrases “J&TB” and “M&TB” (I mean, we’re not referring to the actors when we say “The Bots”).

    Why not TB&J for the new guys?

       1 likes

  19. BBA says:

    MikeK: The cold opening needs to go. I like the idea that Jonah has to re-eneact that opening, but having him talking to the ‘Bots and then get pulled out of the SOL is tedious. Just play the theme and be done with it. As for the opening itself, I really enjoy it.

    I like it as a replacement for the pre-commercial sketches in the old series, but the tube thing is getting tiresome. A simple “roll it, Cambot” would suffice to cue the theme song if there’s a season 12. You listening, Shout/Alternaversal/SoL LLC? (And what exactly should we call them now that they’re no longer the Brains?)

       4 likes

  20. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    My wife and I are also savoring these — even if they DO get a second season (and no promise of that) it won’t be for another year because that’s just the way Netflix rolls. So we’ll stretch these out one per week, just like the good old days.

    I still think it’s good but not great, but even bad MST3K is better than most good other things.

       1 likes

  21. Thad says:

    Mike “ex-genius” Kelley:
    My wife and I are also savoring these — even if they DO get a second season (and no promise of that) it won’t be for another year because that’s just the way Netflix rolls.

    A quick glance at Wikipedia indicates there have been some exceptions; Fuller House only had a nine-month gap between seasons, and several of their animated series have had quick turnarounds (6 and 7 months for Peabody and Sherman, 7 months for Voltron, etc.) On the one hand, we haven’t even gotten confirmation of another season for MST3K yet; on the other, once production starts it can turn around pretty quickly.

    I wouldn’t bet against your guess that it’ll be another year. But it’s still possible it could be quicker. (It’s also possible it could be longer.)

       1 likes

  22. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    And the Marvel shows are going 2-3 years between seasons (but obviously MUCH more expensive and *perhaps* more elaborate production considerations, although choosing and getting the rights to these movies isn’t an easy process).

    But, whatever, we’ll enjoy them as we can and if we never get any more that’s fine, too (one thing I am doing is rewatching each as I do catch a few things I missed the first time around). This weekend we do the third.

       0 likes

  23. Mitchell 'Rowsdower' Beardsley says:

    I’m currently at the exact halfway point through the season. I have been a hardcore MSTie since 1992, and Joel, if you’re reading this – THANK YOU, you did it you magnificent bastard. The show is new, updated, but still feels the same overall. I didn’t think I would like Jonah as the host, but boy was I wrong, he’s perfect and makes it seem effortless.

    and the Monster rap – wow, that was straight up impressive.

    and I love the callback songs played at the ‘breaks’ – Wild Rebels! That just makes me happy inside.

    and the best part about it all is I can already see myself rewatching the episodes.

    so to all the cast and crew – GREAT JOB, it is so great to have a new MST3K, and even with starting cold and trying to get a rhythm going, etc, I already consider this season better than at least 3 of the old seasons – no small feat.

       8 likes

  24. Jason says:

    You can tell these episodes weren’t made in Minnesota:

    1) At one point in the beginning of “Reptilicus,” Servo clearly says “soda.” Any Minnesotan would have said “pop.”

    2) At another point in the theater (also in “Reptilicus”), a reference is made to the children’s game called “Duck, Duck, Goose.” In Minnesota, AND NOWHERE ELSE (this is actually true; academic studies have been conducted on this phenomenon), the game is called “Duck, Duck, Grey Duck.”

    My two cents.

       2 likes

  25. Walrus says:

    Love the new show. Especially smitten with Kinga Forester. Like I say “A Felicia Day Keeps The Blues Away”.

       5 likes

  26. Suzanne says:

    But I feel like the main difficulty with the riffs in season 11 (and they do slow down a bit as the episodes progress) is that the voices of the three young men are very close in timbre and style. So the speed is not really problem.

    I have watched five episodes so far, and I am still struggling to tell the voices apart in the theater. I don’t dislike the new show, but how am I supposed to connect with the bots if I can’t tell them apart?

       1 likes

  27. Anthony says:

    Hi there! This is my first post on the forum (long-time reader, essentially since my college years in the early 2000s when I started becoming a fan), and I wanted to say that, having gone through the new season more than once, I like it quite a bit. I certainly understand some of the reservations others have offered, and agree with them to certain extents (that’s another post, I guess), but for the most part I’m not just “glad they’re back”, I’m excited to see how the new iteration grows and changes if/when they get another season.

    One thing I’d been thinking about was how MST3K actually matches up with another outside-the-mainstream phenomenon: jam band Phish, who I also like a good deal. Now, before all of you start retching and boot me out on my keyster, consider the following:

    1. Both of them have devoted longtime fanbases both on and offline;
    2. Both of them have huge and daunting mythologies for anybody trying them out for the first time;
    3. Both of them depend on a certain level of esoteric knowledge – with MST3K it’s both cultural and literal, whereas with Phish it’s more musical (i.e. the fact that they’re just as steeped in King Crimson and Zappa as in classic rock);
    4. Both of them originated during the 1980s outside NYC or LA (MST3K in Minnesota, of course, and Phish playing clubs in Vermont);
    5. Both of them tend to have their 80s output ignored (and not totally without cause in both cases – both KTMA and 1980s Phish shows can be a lot of fun, but are essentially primitive versions of their primes);
    6. Both of them spur all manners of online debate that can border on the unhealthy;
    7. Both of them depended on tape trading and circulating to help build their audiences, with the most popular episodes/shows obviously being the ones that got the most run in tape trader circles;
    8. Both of them are fundamentally good-natured and good-humored at their core (for the most part);
    9. Both of them remain relevant and creative after all these years; and
    10. Both of them have three very distinct eras to compare and debate over. Phish, for those that may not know, began in 1983 and continued as a touring band up until they took a hiatus in October 2000 (known colloquially as “1.0”), returned in December 2002 and played shows until they broke up in August 2004 due to a myriad number of factors (“2.0”), and returned in March 2009 and have been a creative unit ever since (“3.0”). Of course, that matches up very well with the CC/Sci-Fi/Netflix eras, and some of the criticisms about the Netflix seasons make me smile a bit when I think about how much certain longtime Phish fans, i.e. “jaded vets”, yell about how the band sucks now and can’t come close to the old days and all that. Old fans never die, I guess.

    Anyway, I thought that was interesting. Glad to Meechum, everyone.

       4 likes

  28. Undernova says:

    MST3K has been my background noise for 20 years, and I knew of the show 7 years before then. I watch and listen to A LOT of CrowServo, as my kids have called it as they grew up around it. I’ve also been lurking here for God knows how long.

    I’d suspect I’m not alone amongst those who’ve watched as long and devotedly as I have when I say: this is just okay. To quote Tom, “As far as breaking stuff goes, it was good – but not great.” There was a hard lean toward a very particular midwestern intellectual sensibility in the Brains’ writer’s rooms of old, and I’m finding little of that in the new material. It’s still smart, and it’s still funny, but it’s less fun, perhaps less challenging. There is a humility that is missing; a loss of charm and character and personality. There’s a bravado of delivery that’s lacking. It’s an update that preserves many great elements of a great original idea, yet had to lose much to be reborn. I don’t hate our new voices and characters – I’m just not drawn to their talents or convinced of their originality in the way that I am with BBI. Yes, including Jim.

    That’s not to say I’m not dazzled by the Monster Rap, because I am. I’m happy to have this new material to add to my background noise – and it will definitely get played, over and over. I’m happy for everyone who’s overjoyed to have this. I’m happy for Joel and everyone involved – including a certain yellow-jumpsuited man who I used to play shows with on Oahu back in 2000. I just miss that certain something that I know that won’t be coming back.

       6 likes

  29. littleaimishboy says:

    Hey, anybody notice that the guy standing between Gypsy and the New Guy looks a lot like Raul Julia of OVERDRAWN AT THE MEMORY BANK fame?

       1 likes

  30. charlie3113 says:

    Undernova, I think you nailed exactly how I am feeling about the new season.

    That “midwestern intellectual sensitivity,” as you call it, is what I regard as Joel’s almost effortless ability to joke along with the films. He rarely seemed opposed to the films. I think that at times Mike seemed opposed to the films, and I find that off-putting because it creates a certain space between the riffers and the film that doesn’t need to be foregrounded in any way. It’s understood that the film is typically pretty bad, and that oppositional space only relentlessly draws attention to what’s obvious in the show’s format.

    Jonah and the new gang aren’t opposed to the films as much as loudly and hyperactively reacting to them. This is in part the pacing issue, which is compounded by the fact that their similar-sounding voices make it seem as if the same person is hurling riffs. But there’s also a certain level of yelling at the film that is an entirely new approach. I can’t think of ever before thinking that the riffers are shrieking. I find it abrasive. Simple as that.

    Season 11’s episodes get better as they go along, but they rarely rise to the level of Joel-era mastery of that ineffable aesthetic in which the space between the film and riffers almost seems to vanish and we become one with the badness.

       3 likes

  31. Mike "ex-genius" Kelley says:

    Yep, you hit the nail on the head. “Yelling” at the movie. They are the difference between a loud mouthed comic and, say a Seinfeld. Wry observations were the order of the day, and even Mike’s turn as host had them. I get the feeling that Jonah and company are afraid to let a joke land unless they hurl it at the screen.

    As I said, it’s okay — not great and definitely watchable, but nowhere near the way even Mike fit in eventually to the role. That’s a real problem because the production schedule meant that all of these were done very quickly as opposed to the old way where they were *just* ahead of the broadcast as the season progressed. Perhaps a second season would find them calming down.

       4 likes

  32. Tim Turner says:

    I’m really enjoying the new series. My only complaints are: 1. I can’t stand Baron Vaughn as Servo. Both Josh and Kevin had deep voices. Baron’s is too high. When they get in the theater, they all sound too similar. I can’t tell who’s saying what. 2. The pace of the riffs is way too fast and crammed together. Hopefully, with a second season they can slow down and get the pace back to where it needs to be. Other than that, I think the relaunch is a success. It deserves another season.

       2 likes

  33. Undernova says:

    Great points about joking along with vs. in opposition to the film, and the yelling. Those are definitely functions of output of the old writers and the old production method, not to mention the individual styles of the actors behind our beloved characters. I guess I should amend my basic perspective about the show. I like movie riffing, in that I really liked MST3K and all of the later projects – but what I really like is the assemblage of people who worked on those projects. Long story short: I miss the influence of Trace, Frank, Kevin, Bridget, Mike, and Jef Maynard. But the show must go on.

    So, it sounds like we’re all happy to see the return of something we like, rescued from obscurity and given several coats of clearly more expensive paint and a few new bells and whistles. But if you ever feel like coming here to grouse a little that the old way might have been better – I’m probably joining you, even if only in spirit. Don’t hate us, Joel et. al – we’ve still got your back. We just celebrate that time you and a few people turned inexpensive pig iron you found laying around the house into high-grade steel that was ready for market.

       5 likes

  34. charlie3113 says:

    Totally agree, Undernova. I, too, am happy that the show is back. Season 11 is tampering in God’s domain, which is a wonderful thing. I am eager for seasons 12 and on (fingers crossed)!

       1 likes

  35. schippers says:

    Last night, while watching Carnival Magic, I realized that I REALLY love the new Crow. New Tom Servo is good, don’t get me wrong, got nothing against him; however, new Crow just really clicks with me. It’s hard to say exactly why, but he just works so well. I can’t remember which episode it is, but the one in which Jonah threatens (mock threatens, really) violence against Crow in the movie theater, eventually pushing Crow to “Hi-keeba” Jonah… man, that was great.

    Part of the appeal (and this is not limited to new Crow, of course) is the fact that the bots have articulated arms now (well, mostly articulated, anyway). It’s surprising how much that adds to their characters.

    Final random point: lots of people have commented that it’s hard for them to differentiate among the voices of the performers during the movie segments. I also had this issue at first (I’m not going to call it a problem, as I’m not sure how much it matters anyway), but by episode 7 or 8 I was completely capable of telling who was making which comment.

       3 likes

  36. Lisa H. says:

    Now that y’all say it it did kind of seem like keyed-up yelling. (I sure love the Yelling Channel!) Relax, guys, breathe a little.

       1 likes

  37. new cornjob says:

    Tim Turner: I can’t stand Baron Vaughn as Servo. Both Josh and Kevin had deep voices. Baron’s is too high. When they get in the theater, they all sound too similar. I can’t tell who’s saying what.

    – ok, that did -not- make sense… you’re blaming the -one- “too high” guy for not differentiating himself from the -other two- “deep-voiced” guys?????? now, saying that, i have -no- time for some new stupid “flame war,” so i will not be responding to any replies about that. but i sure am tired of the “i can’t tell their voices apart” thing! back early ninties, i already did that/done that with the original crew! rest of you, just deal with it! you’ll get used to it!

       0 likes

  38. skierpete says:

    NON-SPOILER REVIEW AFTER 4 episodes:

    I have been trying to watch slowly – and so last night watched the fourth episode of the series. I am not sure I can keep it down to less than 1 a week. (I consider that I am at the end of week two since we had access to Reptilicus on 4/9.) I have a party at my house on Saturday to watch Starcrash, and then I think I will try and take a week off.

    As a side-note, I have taken it upon myself about 15 months ago to start re-watching the original series from the start of season 1 to the end, watching 1-2 episodes a week, and then attempting to rank and rate all the episodes on a scale of 1 to 10. Right now, I am nearing the end of episode 4, so I am through most of the Joel episodes. Season 1 the episodes averaged 4.3, Season 2 was 6.2, season 3 at 6.9, and Season 4 appears it will average about an 8.

    Overall – I like the new season very much. Four episodes in, I would probably rate all 4 episodes in the 7 or 8 on a scale of one to 10. I for one have thoroughly enjoyed the riffing. I think it is much better than most of rifftrax stuff, and really solid overall.

    I am not bothered by either of the two main complaints. While I agree the voices are a tad harder to tell apart, I find that it doesn’t detract/distract from the riffing for me, and mostly I can tell who it is anyways. I definitely GET that the voices are a lot more similar, but what I’m saying is it doesn’t bother me.

    The other complaint, that the riffing is sometimes too fast, I personally don’t agree with at all. I actually really LIKE when they go on those fast riffs binges. Since not every riff lands for every person, I find myself laughing more in those sections than I typically laugh in an average episode. I have no issue with them keeping up with the pace in future seasons.

    Now – onto the live stuff. I am mostly positive on this. Overall, I like all the actors and their characters. I LOVE Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day, but I was worried their celebrity personalities would overshadow the characters, but I’m really enjoying what they are doing. Overall, I like Jonah as a host as well, only that he doesn’t seem to be at all concerned that he’s trapped in space watching bad movies. Joel and Mike always seemed like they really didn’t want to be there – but Jonah seems perfectly OK with it. Hampton and Baron are fine as the bots, and I have no problems there at all.

    My only complaint so far? While I like the style and the actors, I think overall the host segments haven’t been very funny. There’s been a few laughs in there, and the every country has a monster song was fun, but overall I am not getting as many laughs out of the sketches as I might hope. Charming they are, but funny they aren’t – or at least not funny enough.

    So, as I said, through 4 episodes I would probably rate the season as an 7 or 8 out of 10, or giving it a letter grade a solid B+.

    One thing that I haven’t seen yet and am sort of expecting is a clunker episode. Everyone praises this show, but remember out of 197 episodes there were some stinkers in there, even the best seasons had a couple of episodes that just didn’t work. So far, we haven’t had one of those.

       3 likes

  39. MikeK says:

    Suzanne: I have watched five episodes so far, and I am still struggling to tell the voices apart in the theater. I don’t dislike the new show, but how am I supposed to connect with the bots if I can’t tell them apart?

    The guy controlling Crow definitely needs to work on his puppetry skills. Too often I can’t? see Crow’s beak moving when he’s talking.

       1 likes

  40. littleaimishboy says:

    Joel’s almost effortless ability to joke along with the films. He rarely seemed opposed to the films.

    Wow. That’s just so completely removed from reality I don’t know how to respond …

       8 likes

  41. Anthony says:

    I do wonder how much of the “yelling at the screen” complaints come from being *so* familiar with the past episodes of the show and your preferred hosting style (the differences between Joel’s conception of the show and Mike’s are entirely obvious – as is Jonah’s, to a certain extent, more leaning towards Joel’s side for entirely self-evident reasons) and what our own *perceptions* of what the best riffing style actually is. It isn’t even that I disagree, necessarily – I do sense more “reacting” and frenetic riffing compared to the old seasons – as much as, frankly, I don’t really see that as a problem because I think the riffs are funny and that’s what I care about the most at the end of the day. If you do, then that’s totally cool! Not everything has to be for everyone, and certainly not a brand new and (in many ways) very different conception of a show you loved for many years.

    Which is sort of the rub – the “very different” part, and the “many years” part. I think it was someone on here that said that one reason people might be hung up on the riff speed is that we have our favorite episodes basically memorized from years of watching them, whereas this is something that’s totally new and is still being broken in (so to speak) in our minds. That’s not to say that someone that thinks they’re going too fast is wrong or dumb to think that (as noted above, I agree to a certain extent), so much as it might be a bit of an aural illusion in terms of familiar and unfamiliar. I mean, shoot, we’ve been watching the Joel and Mike episodes for, in some cases, TWENTY YEARS (certainly I’ve been watching for at least 15), whereas we’ve been watching the Jonah episodes for all of one week, and there’s a comfort zone we have with the old episodes that we don’t necessarily have with the new, and in some cases may never have. It’s a hard roadblock to get past, and again, if you can’t get past it, there’s nothing wrong with that. I personally got past it relatively quickly (much like the voices – by episode 2 I had them reasonably down pat, catching the timbre helps a lot and Yount’s Crow is basically a less harsh Corbett Crow), which is why I enjoy the season as much as I do.

    I don’t think Season 11 is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly have more time for it than some of the other folks on here, and (as noted in #327) I’m definitely excited to have more episodes in my life as an actual creative endeavor and not just because the show is back or whatever. Your mileage, as they said back in the day, may vary.

       6 likes

  42. EricJ says:

    littleaimishboy: Wow.That’s just so completely removed from reality I don’t know how to respond …

    Yeah, even I’ll admit that: Joel might not have had as personally-invested a grudge at the movies as MK&B did, but that doesn’t mean he liked them–
    The whole humor was about how J&tB were reacting to the movie for the “first time”; when the movie started pushing the envelope of strangeness, we couldn’t see their expressions from the silhouettes, but if he made a silly, offhanded deadpan comeback, it was just Keeping His Sanity With The Help Of His Robot Friends…The smart, hip and silly showing that the Mads’ “weapons” had no effect on them, just like the Prince of Space.

    That doesn’t mean we still didn’t get the Catching Trouble or Mr. B Natural moments of “Uh, we’d just like to apologize to everyone in the world for this scene?…”

       3 likes

  43. Jason says:

    Cry Wilderness makes The Final Sacrifice look like Citizen Kane.

       7 likes

  44. BBA says:

    Jason:
    Cry Wilderness makes The Final Sacrifice look like Citizen Kane.

    Final Sacrifice had a reasonably coherent (if outlandish) story. What the hell was Cry Wilderness even about?

       2 likes

  45. charlie3113 says:

    Figure 1:

    1. Signifier | 2. Signified <—— THE FILM
    ————————————
    3. Sign |
    I. SIGNIFIER | II. SIGNIFIED <—— THE RIFFS
    ————————————
    III. [MOVIE] SIGN
    ————————————

    So, MSTK3K is a second-order semiological system (Barthes, 1972). You see, what's happening on the SOL is the construction of a second-order semiological system (I, II, III in the diagram above) upon the system of Signifier-Signified-Sign that is present as the movie (1., 2., 3.). The film's "Sign," which is the "associative total of the first two terms" (i.e., "Signifier" and "Signified") is taken as the first term of the second-order semiological system constructed by Joel/Mike/Jonah and The Bots (1972, p. 113). This is the elaboration of a "myth" that works best when the first-order semiological system (the film) is taken as "natural," unquestioned, unopposed (for the most part), yet fully present, as the system requires. "Myth hides nothing: its function is to distort, not to make disappear" (p. 120).

    Take, for example, a prime example of a Joel-era episode: "Teenagers from Outer Space." The point is not that Joel and The Bots "enjoy" or "hate" this film. That, by itself, would be insufficient for building a system of signs. The point is that they build riffs upon the film (3. Sign/I. SIGNIFIER), which requires going along with it, in the sense that it is allowed to be fully present as a first-order, structurally sound (if awful) system. The film works, and this allows the riffs to work, as well.

    Take the muttered singing of "New Zoo Revue" when Gramps is bumbling around the house. This only works as a riff because it does not obviously gesture toward the awfulness of the scene. The film is fully present, but merely as a Signifier for the second-order system in which we encounter the "myth" of Gramps muttering "New Zoo Revue." The "Reel Life" vs. "Real Life" sketch makes the same move, but in the opposite direction: It takes the film as a second-order "myth" and reveals the (first-order) "truth" that in "real life" Gramps would be a butane sniffing guy who rifles through your underwear drawer. Here, the film itself is revealed as a distortion of a first-order reality. Joel and The Bots make the butane sniffer fully present, and the rest is comedy gold.

    Now, yes, Joel and The Bots do sometimes break the "fourth wall" and overtly point to the awfulness of the film by apologizing to the audience, making comments such as "this is going to be a rough one, you guys," etc. These comments are effective only because they are the exceptions to the rule. They briefly fall back into the first-order semiological system of the film, leaving the myth-building aside for a moment to acknowledge just how bad that first-order system is. Note the Hercules film in which Gypsy is allowed into the theater to riff along with Joel and The Bots. She gamely tries to make jokes, but eventually points out "You know guys, this movie isn't very good." Joel and The Bots kind of distractedly agree, and Gypsy eventually says she has to go take care of something and leaves the theater. Gypsy is kind of in the same category as the angry caller (if I remember right) in Season 1 who complained about Joel and The Bots talking over the film. These are viewers (and riffers) who fail to work with (to distort) the first-order semiological system, to let it [Mr.] be "natural" in order to build/read the second-order semiological system: the "myth" of Gramps singing "New Zoo Revue," or of the Easy Spirit pumps that save the nurse's hash, or of the swimming pool's excessive chlorine content that turns the friend into a skeleton.

    Conclusion
    MST3K works best when it largely remains in the realm of mythology or ideology, constructing a second-order semiological system that takes the film’s first-order semiological system as “natural.” This is why most of us would rather watch “Manos” with Joel and The Bots than without them.

    References
    Barthes, R. (1972) Mythologies (A. Lavers, Trans.). New York: The Noonday Press.

       3 likes

  46. Bronyficent says:

    charlie3113:
    Figure 1:

    1. Signifier| 2. Signified <—— THE FILM
    ————————————
    3. Sign|
    I. SIGNIFIER| II. SIGNIFIED<—— THE RIFFS
    ————————————
    III. [MOVIE] SIGN
    ————————————

    So, MSTK3K is a second-order semiological system (Barthes, 1972). You see, what’s happening on the SOL is the construction of a second-order semiological system (I, II, III in the diagram above) upon the system of Signifier-Signified-Sign that is present as the movie (1., 2., 3.). The film’s “Sign,” which is the “associative total of the first two terms” (i.e., “Signifier” and “Signified”) is taken as the first term of the second-order semiological system constructed by Joel/Mike/Jonah and The Bots (1972, p. 113). This is the elaboration of a “myth” that works best when the first-order semiological system (the film) is taken as “natural,” unquestioned, unopposed (for the most part), yet fully present, as the system requires. “Myth hides nothing: its function is to distort, not to make disappear” (p. 120).

    Take, for example, a prime example of a Joel-era episode: “Teenagers from Outer Space.” The point is not that Joel and The Bots “enjoy” or “hate” this film. That, by itself, would be insufficient for building a system of signs. The point is that they build riffs upon the film (3. Sign/I. SIGNIFIER), which requires going along with it, in the sense that it is allowed to be fully present as a first-order, structurally sound (if awful) system. The film works, and this allows the riffs to work, as well.

    Take the muttered singing of “New Zoo Revue” when Gramps is bumbling around the house. This only works as a riff because it does not obviously gesture toward the awfulness of the scene. The film is fully present, but merely as a Signifier for the second-order system in which we encounter the “myth” of Gramps muttering “New Zoo Revue.” The “Reel Life” vs. “Real Life” sketch makes the same move, but in the opposite direction: It takes the film as a second-order “myth” and reveals the (first-order) “truth” that in “real life” Gramps would be a butane sniffing guy who rifles through your underwear drawer. Here, the film itself is revealed as a distortion of a first-order reality. Joel and The Bots make the butane sniffer fully present, and the rest is comedy gold.

    Now, yes, Joel and The Bots do sometimes break the “fourth wall” and overtly point to the awfulness of the film by apologizing to the audience, making comments such as “this is going to be a rough one, you guys,” etc. These comments are effective only because they are the exceptions to the rule. They briefly fall back into the first-order semiological system of the film, leaving the myth-building aside for a moment to acknowledge just how bad that first-order system is. Note the Hercules film in which Gypsy is allowed into the theater to riff along with Joel and The Bots. She gamely tries to make jokes, but eventually points out “You know guys, this movie isn’t very good.” Joel and The Bots kind of distractedly agree, and Gypsy eventually says she has to go take care of something and leaves the theater. Gypsy is kind of in the same category as the angry caller (if I remember right) in Season 1 who complained about Joel and The Bots talking over the film. These are viewers (and riffers) who fail to work with (to distort) the first-order semiological system, to let it [Mr.] be “natural” in order to build/read the second-order semiological system: the “myth” of Gramps singing “New Zoo Revue,” or of the Easy Spirit pumps that save the nurse’s hash, or of the swimming pool’s excessive chlorine content that turns the friend into a skeleton.

    Conclusion
    MST3K works best when it largely remains in the realm of mythology or ideology, constructing a second-order semiological system that takes the film’s first-order semiological system as “natural.” This is why most of us would rather watch “Manos” with Joel and The Bots than without them.

    References
    Barthes, R. (1972) Mythologies (A. Lavers, Trans.). New York: The Noonday Press.

    …Just repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show, I should really just relax!”

       2 likes

  47. Walrus says:

    If you use the subtitles while watching, most times they will say who is talking.

       0 likes

  48. Wack'd says:

    I think comment 345 might be the best piece of criticism of the show I’ve ever read.

       2 likes

  49. Lisa H. says:

    Bronyficent: …Just repeat to yourself, “It’s just a show, I should really just relax!”

    <Crow voice>Well Iiiiii liked it!</Crow voice>

       2 likes

  50. EricJ says:

    Wack’d:
    I think comment 345 might be the best piece of criticism of the show I’ve ever read.

    Pfft clearly you’ve nev
    (er read this piece of brilliance!):

    http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/mystery-science-theater-3000-some-kind-of-awful.442877/

       1 likes

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