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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Thread Of Fate
#1

It's time. I searched, and the last thread I saw was from 2004. So, here's a new one.

I rediscovered my love for this show earlier this year, when I heard about the Gamera box set. I remembered loving it on TV in the 90s, but I could barely remember a single episode, besides the movie ("This Island Earth") and the airing of the final Scifi ep in '99.

It's pretty much the greatest TV show of all time. No use denying it. Words fail me beyond that.

So, let's remember our favorite moments and episodes. I'll be posting impressions of my favorites as I make my way through the series, through various means.

For the rest of you out there, the Netflix disc service has a lot of the best episodes available. Many of those are the out of print Rhino versions. I hear there are also streaming versions available, and some on Hulu, and some in full on Youtube.

Rowsdower.

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#2
AI almost got an internship as a PA for this show back when Joel was still host. I got to tour the production facility, see all the sets and the robots, and meet most everyone. Joel seemed baked as hell and uninterested in meeting anyone. Mike Nelson, who was just a writer at the time, was kinda douchey. The coolest guy by far was Kevin Murphy, who mainly does Tom Servo. I complimented him on his singing voice, and led us into a good ten minute conversation on general show topics. He couldn't have been a nicer guy. I never met Trace.

I learned this while i toured and interviewed:
- not every film that they 'auditioned' for the show made the cut. If they watched it and just didn't feel that they could make a show out of it, they didn't use it.
- when they first atarted out, they filmed each episode without a set script and would just ad lib their lines. When i interviewed, they were at the point where...if memory serves...they watched each film 3-4 times in order to nail down a script that was consistent. There were very few (if any) ad libs when they actually filmed each episode.

Favorites: MAROONED with Gregory Peck and Gene Hackman.
CAVE DWELLERS. HERCULES and HERCULES UNCHAINED.

I never cared for Mike and kinda lost interest when he took over. He was so damned stiff compared to Joel.
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#3

Wow, that's pretty amazing. Thanks for the story.

I guess that's my prompt for the Joel/Mike opinion. Now that I've watched about 40 or so episodes this year, I think I've decided. I'd rather hang out with Joel, given the chance. I like his host segments more. However, Mike may end up having more good episodes overall. He had more time on the show, and he took over once it was polished and running smoothly. His talents and writing work can't be denied. Though I may think his face is stupid, when he gets into the silhouette, Mike nails it.

Anyways, in case there are any newbies, here's the intro:

(That's the Joel season 2-5 version, my favorite)


In the not-too-distant future --
Next Sunday A.D. --
There was a guy named Joel,
Not too different from you or me.
He worked at Gizmonic Institute,
Just another face in a red jumpsuit.
He did a good job cleaning up the place,
But his bosses didn't like him
So they shot him into space.

We'll send him cheesy movies,
The worst we can find (la-la-la).
He'll have to sit and watch them all,
And we'll monitor his mind (la-la-la).
Now keep in mind Joel can't control
Where the movies begin or end (la-la-la)
Because he used those special parts
To make his robot friends.

Robot Roll Call:
Cambot!
Gypsy!
Tom Servo!
Croooow!

If you're wondering how he eats and breathes
and other science facts (la la la),
Then repeat to yourself, "It's just a show,
I should really just relax
For Mystery Science Theater 3000!"

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#4

Pretty much my favorite show ever, and while I love Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic (both of which I've seen live), neither of them ever quite reach the dizzying heights of MST3K when it was on.  For anyone interested, AV Club had some pretty great articles on where to start with the show:

Gateways to Geekery:  Mystery Science Theater 3000

10 essential MST3K episodes

ETA: My personal favorite episodes are Pod People and Overdrawn at the Memory Bank.

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#5

Damn, I still need to see a lot of those on the Onion list. They are in my queue, though.

Out of what I've seen so far, Godzilla Vs. Megalon is by far the best. I've forced my friends and dad to watch it. "Chinese fire drill!" never fails to make me cry with laughs.

I'll hold off on a more conclusive personal fav list until I get my shiz togezza.

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#6

One of my all time favorite shows. Bar none.

If you haven't yet, you really should pick this sucker up:

Such a perfect pairing it's not even funny...but it is funny. Deep hurting levels of funny.

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#7

Hands down my favorite TV show. I unfortunately discovered it when they were wrapping up the series on Sci-Fi Channel, so I don't have the fond memories that most people have of MST3K on Comedy Central. Thankfully, with the help of DVD, YouTube and Hulu, I've been able to catch up on what I've missed.

From Teenagers from Outer Space to Horrors of Spider Island, the series had so many great episodes, but one that doesn't get enough attention is Time Chasers, a low-budget time travel flick that was filmed in Vermont. Mike and the bots have so much fun ripping on the movie's "hero" and the villain's office. Here are some of the highlights.

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#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Olson View Post

Pretty much my favorite show ever, and while I love Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic (both of which I've seen live), neither of them ever quite reach the dizzying heights of MST3K when it was on.  For anyone interested, AV Club had some pretty great articles on where to start with the show:

Gateways to Geekery:  Mystery Science Theater 3000

10 essential MST3K episodes

ETA: My personal favorite episodes are Pod People and Overdrawn at the Memory Bank.

Touch of Satan isn't in the top 10? Fucking criminal. At least Soul Taker made it on.

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#9

While I was initially a Joel partisan, and I still agree he's the one I'd rather hang out with (and only partly because of their respective politics), I've started to feel like the Mike era of the show was more tightly written. I freaking LOVE that season that tells a multi-part story spread across multiple episodes, the one that introduces Bobo and Brain Guy. But then, I actually like Pearl. In fact, blasphemy alert: I think Pehl has better comic timing and more amusingly dry delivery than Beaulieu's campiness as Dr. Forrester. (He's still great as Crow, though.) The various Mads were never my favourite bits of the show, though--they always seem like they're working too hard to be "zany", and they try to do physical comedy that they don't really have the production value for, when the funniest moments are usually verbal wit.

"Werewolf", "Space Mutiny", "The Final Sacrifice" and "Pumaman" are probably my favourites, and "The Girl With The Gold Boots" doesn't seem to get much love but I thought it was pretty damn hilarious as well. "Thus ended the 'Eat' phase of my life..."

I'm glad to see so many episodes are still kicking around YouTube, despite copyright notices. Yeah, I'm anti-piracy, but since you can't see a lot of these anywhere else...

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#10

I said the same thing in the AV club article comments, but I discovered the show completely on accident back early on in the Comedy Central days. My great-uncle (by marriage) is Cameron Mitchell, who has been in at least two episodes - Stranded in Space (an earlyish Joel episode) and the classic Space Mutiny.

Anyway, the Stranded in Space episode was on, and we were flipping channels and came across it and my mother recognized Cameron. So we started watching, and just fell in love with the show. I like Joel more mainly because I've seen a lot more of those episodes - by the time Mike took over I was in college and had erratic access to cable.

Anyway, Space Mutiny, which is one of the best episodes anyway, has a special charm when it has your great uncle and two cousins in it (two of his children - my mom's first cousins - have small roles in it).

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#11

I luckily discovered MST3K when they had a short run in national syndication as the MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER HOUR in the early 90s. The first episode I got to see was THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN and I was instantly hooked.

Cannot praise this show highly enough.

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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Grimm View Post

I said the same thing in the AV club article comments, but I discovered the show completely on accident back early on in the Comedy Central days. My great-uncle (by marriage) is Cameron Mitchell, who has been in at least two episodes - Stranded in Space (an earlyish Joel episode) and the classic Space Mutiny.

Anyway, the Stranded in Space episode was on, and we were flipping channels and came across it and my mother recognized Cameron. So we started watching, and just fell in love with the show. I like Joel more mainly because I've seen a lot more of those episodes - by the time Mike took over I was in college and had erratic access to cable.

Anyway, Space Mutiny, which is one of the best episodes anyway, has a special charm when it has your great uncle and two cousins in it (two of his children - my mom's first cousins - have small roles in it).

PLEASE tell me you've attempted to pick up girls with the line "Hey, did you know my great-uncle was in Space Mutiny?"

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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post

PLEASE tell me you've attempted to pick up girls with the line "Hey, did you know my great-uncle was in Space Mutiny?"

I'm ashamed to say that would probably work on me.  I love that episode.

There are still quite a few Joel episodes I haven't seen, since I didn't start watching until the Mike years.  I have fond memories from my middle school years of wandering, bleary-eyed, into the living room on Saturday mornings and watching the show with my Dad as he made breakfast.  It will always be one of my favorites.  Caught a Cinematic Titanic screening a couple weeks back for the Everything Is Festival and it was hilarious.

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#14

The entire run of the show is available on YouTube, I think. Even the KTMA episodes, which they've more or less disowned. There was a brief period (1993-94?) where it was required Saturday night viewing, Unfortunately, the parents ditched cable shortly thereafter, so viewership was spotty til the end of the show.

I rediscovered it in London, of all times. Once I figured out that there were VHS dubs and dedicated streaming sites all over the Internet, it was all over. Like Chris Olson, I went to the Rifftrax Live show last month and am looking forward to Birdemic next month.  I've got Teenage Crimewave up and ready to go once I finish this post.

WHY DON'T THEY LOOK?

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#15

My favorite show ever.  It's a miracle that it ever aired, and that something so unique, continued for 10 years.

Only caught a few episodes during the initial run because I didn't have cable, and the MST3K Hour aired on a station that came in poorly.

Used to be a huge Joel booster, but time and bootlegs have made me appreciate Mike, and the entire series, even J. Elvis as Dr. Earhart.

Mst3kinfo.com, and dapcentral.org are your allies.

Mike and Pearl's conversation in Time Chasers is one of my favorite moments in the series.  That is indeed a wonderful episode all around.

Season 7 is very underrated too.

I met the Cinematic Titanic crew after a show, and in a huge fit of geekery, had them sign a painting of mine.  Trace and Josh were great, and very tall, Joel was nice too, Frank seemed shy, and Pearl was wonderful.

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#16
ATo be honest, this show is the entire reason I'm on an Internet movie forum at all. I've always enjoyed watching movies, but I didn't start actually thinking about them much until MST3K showed me just how much fun can be had in casting a critical eye on crap cinema, and in finding the little occasional bits that work nonetheless.

I never got to see the show during its initial run (grew up without cable,) so I never got into any of the Joel-Mike furor. I love 'em both, but I do think I like Joel better - while Mike has more personality in the theater, I love Joel's sleepy good-naturedness and the weird little homespun fatherly chats he had with the 'Bots from time to time. How you can be that tongue-in-cheek and still so convincingly sincere at the same time is a mystery to me. As far as the Mads, I do enjoy Dr. Forrester and Frank (never liked Erhardt,) but I honestly think I prefer Pearl and company. Mostly because creating the intersection of "mid-state Minnesota trailer-trash" and "mad scientist" was a stroke of God-damn genius and she pulls it off so well. (But Bobo and Brain Guy are great too.)

Favorite episodes? God, there's too many to choose from. Time of the Apes never fails to make me laugh until I choke; there is nothing not funny about gorilla stormtroopers and ape generals tooling around in a '70s sedan. I only wish I could find the original miniseries it was cut down from, just to see whether it was any good in that incarnation (it had to at least be more coherent.) The Day the Earth Froze has one of the best shorts and more Scandihuvian jokes per minute than any other episode I know. The Wild World of Batwoman is absolutely, imbecilically nucking futs from start to finish, and Mike and the 'Bots handle it with aplomb. Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell, in my opinion, surpasses even Cave Dwellers for godawful fantasy cheese, because at least Miles O'Keefe looked the part of a sword-and-sandal hero. Space Mutiny, as has been mentioned, is absolute gold. Puma Man is incredible, absolutely incredible - I don't think there have been any ballsier filmmakers in history than the Italians of the '70s, in terms of what they would put up on screen and expect to get away with. Kevin Murphy called Werewolf "a gift from God," and he wasn't joking - if space aliens tried to make a werewolf movie based on intercepted fragments of other werewolf movies cast exclusively with brain-probed abductees from former Soviet satellite nations, this is what would result. (Also featuring the only instance I've ever seen of a live-action Hanna-Barbera-style wraparound background, during the werewolf driving rampage!)

Still, if I had to pick an absolute favorite, it'd be Jack Frost. The riffing is aces, a lovely balance of snark and silliness without getting too , the host segments are great, and it's also one of the few episodes where the movie itself is honestly pretty good - I understand that Morozko in its original form is something of a legit classic, and it's not hard to see why. The riffing just fits so well into it that it feels less like mocking the movie and more like turning it into an episode of Fractured Fairy Tales.

And that sulky brat sister is hilarious. I love her.
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#17

I love MST3K, first episode I ever saw was "The Amazing Collosal Man". I dont think I even understood a quarter of the jokes, but my older brother was a fan and I remember my dad laughing at it. I didn't become a huge fan till maybe ten years ago though, when I finally understood most of the jokes.

I am an unabashed Mike fan though, I love Joel but Mike just fits me better, not to mention that almost all my favorite episodes are Mike ones, excepting "Warrior of the Lost World" and of course "Mitchell". Ive caught Rifftrax live two times now, one for Jack The Giant Killer and two weeks ago for Manos. God Manos was funny, and I can barely watch the first version. There is a not very new site around now if you want to watch MST3K a little more easier. I dont know how to hotlink but http://www.club-mst3k.com lists all the episodes and gives links to youtube or google video to watch them. Its nice for findind episodes you havent seen. Now I feel like watching "Merlins Mystical Shop of Wonders". Man I love Glendale.

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#18
Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

To be honest, this show is the entire reason I'm on an Internet movie forum at all. I've always enjoyed watching movies, but I didn't start actually thinking about them much until MST3K showed me just how much fun can be had in casting a critical eye on crap cinema, and in finding the little occasional bits that work nonetheless.
I never got to see the show during its initial run (grew up without cable,) so I never got into any of the Joel-Mike furor. I love 'em both, but I do think I like Joel better - while Mike has more personality in the theater, I love Joel's sleepy good-naturedness and the weird little homespun fatherly chats he had with the 'Bots from time to time. How you can be that tongue-in-cheek and still so convincingly sincere at the same time is a mystery to me. As far as the Mads, I do enjoy Dr. Forrester and Frank (never liked Erhardt,) but I honestly think I prefer Pearl and company. Mostly because creating the intersection of "mid-state Minnesota trailer-trash" and "mad scientist" was a stroke of God-damn genius and she pulls it off so well. (But Bobo and Brain Guy are great too.)
Favorite episodes? God, there's too many to choose from. Time of the Apes never fails to make me laugh until I choke; there is nothing not funny about gorilla stormtroopers and ape generals tooling around in a '70s sedan. I only wish I could find the original miniseries it was cut down from, just to see whether it was any good in that incarnation (it had to at least be more coherent.) The Day the Earth Froze has one of the best shorts and more Scandihuvian jokes per minute than any other episode I know. The Wild World of Batwoman is absolutely, imbecilically nucking futs from start to finish, and Mike and the 'Bots handle it with aplomb. Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell, in my opinion, surpasses even Cave Dwellers for godawful fantasy cheese, because at least Miles O'Keefe looked the part of a sword-and-sandal hero. Space Mutiny, as has been mentioned, is absolute gold. Puma Man is incredible, absolutely incredible - I don't think there have been any ballsier filmmakers in history than the Italians of the '70s, in terms of what they would put up on screen and expect to get away with. Kevin Murphy called Werewolf "a gift from God," and he wasn't joking - if space aliens tried to make a werewolf movie based on intercepted fragments of other werewolf movies cast exclusively with brain-probed abductees from former Soviet satellite nations, this is what would result. (Also featuring the only instance I've ever seen of a live-action Hanna-Barbera-style wraparound background, during the werewolf driving rampage!)
Still, if I had to pick an absolute favorite, it'd be Jack Frost. The riffing is aces, a lovely balance of snark and silliness without getting too , the host segments are great, and it's also one of the few episodes where the movie itself is honestly pretty good - I understand that Morozko in its original form is something of a legit classic, and it's not hard to see why. The riffing just fits so well into it that it feels less like mocking the movie and more like turning it into an episode of Fractured Fairy Tales.
And that sulky brat sister is hilarious. I love her.

Thanks for the links, man!

"Werewolf" isn't the hardest I've laughed at anything ever, but it's probably in the top ten. "WARWILF!"

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#19

"I've said Zaa in better towns than this."

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#20

"This is where the fish lives."

Sorry. I promise I won't start a quote war.

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#21

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#22

My two faves are Cave Dwellers and Angels' Revenge, a ridiculous rip-off of Charlies Angels with jack Palance haha. Cave Dwellers has some insanely funny moments like the hero going in one scene from walking to hang gliding without any explanation! "And then he made bombs"!

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#23
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Prankster View Post

Thanks for the links, man!

"Werewolf" isn't the hardest I've laughed at anything ever, but it's probably in the top ten. "WARWILF!"

"TUSK"

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#24

First episode for me was the one-hour version of Pod People.  Fell in love instantly.  Still one of my favorites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by He Who Is I Am View Post

"TUSK"

"It's absolutely faschinatang"

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#25

"Pod People" was the second or third MST3K syndicated epsiode I saw and I think it nearly killed me I was laughing so hard.  The movies that these guys unearthed for the show's run are some real "gems" and by "gems" I mean "crap".

I still quote the running joke from LASERBLAST whenever a bearded Hank Williams Jr. looking dude enters a room on TV:

"ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?"

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#26

"ROWSDOWER!"

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#27

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#28

If Im feeling down in life for whatever reason, nothing makes me happier then the Prince riffs from Agent from H.A.R.M.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctRdmcS_5BM

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#29

For those who speak Russian, this might be of interest:  Project Popcorn.  It was a Russian ripoff of MST3K, and I wish someone would subtitle it and release it over here, because I am fascinated by it.  In other words, I find it absolutely fascinating.

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#30

Aaand here's the Russian version, from our friends across the tundra...

It's "Project Popcorn", starring some Russian guy, and new bots, Worker and Parasite!


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#31

I would never have seen Gamara had MST3K not been around. My mother thinks I was insane for watching them, but my step father loved them. Reminded him of the local bad movie shows in Cleveland on Saturday nights.

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#32

I actually got introduced to this via borrowing the movie (which is probably still one of my favorite "episodes") from the library and didn't realize it was a series until much later. In general I probably enjoyed the later proto Rifftrax line-up the most as the gags got a bit more bite to them, but aside from the very early seasons there really aren't a lot of duds in the bunch. Oh, and I'd throw Beginning of the End, Night of the Blood Beast ("Steve?") and Revenge of the Creature in the must see file. The Digital Archive Project is a good resource for people looking to research some of the out of print episodes.

"Listen, there's a lot of people out there, you need to wake up and snap an alligator in half OK?"

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#33

Sounds like a handful of studios are now starting to play ball with Shout, so there's a chance that the entire series may hit disc over time. Revenge of the Creature is in the next box set, so Universal is now in play.

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#34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Barg View Post

Sounds like a handful of studios are now starting to play ball with Shout, so there's a chance that the entire series may hit disc over time. Revenge of the Creature is in the next box set, so Universal is now in play.

Good to hear, this is a series that deserves a comprehensive collection.

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#35

One of my favorite shows ever. I enjoyed both Joel and Mike but I think I prefer Mike because he was the host when I discovered the show. I discovered it right before it went over to Sci-Fi channel and followed it there. You all have mentioned most of the classic episodes but one that really killed me was Final Justice. It is where Joe Don Baker is a Texas Sheriff who travels to Malta. There is one part that shows a close up of his mouth and Tom says " The last thing sausage ever sees" and that line just killed me. Hell,I'm laughing now just thinking about it. The Goose-io stuff is pretty great,too. It is an episode where they were all on fire with the riffs.

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