When the series moved to Sci-Fi Channel in 1997, the World Wide Web was just beginning to really take off, and the network, seeing its mandate as encompassing everything that was futuristic and technologically advanced, was far ahead of a lot of other networks in terms of what they were doing with their Web site. Best Brains staffers, very tech-savvy folks themselves, were very much in synch with this attitude and the soon found themselves working closely with staffers at scifi.com. The MST3K section of their site grew over time, and one popular and much-anticipated feature was the monthly message to fans.
They began as messages from the characters on the show: Tom Servo, Crow and Bobo, among others, offering short greetings and helping to establish, or remind viewers of, their personalities. After a year or so, the performers and writers came out from behind their characters and began posting (increasingly off-topic) screeds dubbed "Say What?" The most prolific contributor was writer Paul Chaplin, who was quickly developing the narrative voice we would come to know even better on the Ironminds and timmybighands site. But the steel-trap prose of Mike Nelson, which would we come to know better in two essay collections and a rollicking novel (so far) and the easy, flowing exuberant writing style of Kevin Murphy, which we later saw in "A Year at the Movies," were also on display.
As with most of the material that migrated to this site from Scifi.com, the layouts of each page have changed a bit, but the text (with a few very minor corrections--didn't those scifi.com guys have a spell checker?) is exactly as it was on the old site, and the same art or photos are featured on each page. Enjoy!
"Say What" columns, 1998-1999