Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Mystery Science Theater 3000

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I saw the debut episode of the newly relaunched Mystery Science Theater 3000. All episodes of the new show dropped on Netflix on Friday. We have Netflix at the fortress of Ineptitude. Yet I found myself standing in line at 10:30 PM….yes, 10:30 at NIGHT with my wife and daughter waiting to get in to Geeksboro to see this show. Andrea thought it would be fun to see this at Geeksboro and so did Randie. Meanwhile, I objected on the grounds that I am opposed to fun and we have Netflix at home. (We also have BBC America at home and there we are at Geeksboro on Saturday nights to watch Doctor Who. This is the extent of our social life: leaving the house to watch TV that we can watch at the house. And I’m so glad my suffering amuses you.) 

Whatever the venue, I was eager to see what the new MST3K would be like. The original series was a vital part of my young adulthood. Dare I say, it may have saved my life.

Lets go back about 2 decades to an apartment where a pale, lanky guy is sprawled out on a sofa. That guy was me and I was depressed. I mean, broken heart levels of depressed. The back story to why I was this deep down in sucgh a dark pit of despair will remain untold today. Suffice to say, I was in a complete and total funk. I idly picked up the TV remote and began absent-mindedly flipping channels. It was the usual mess of news, sports and infomercials. Then something caught my attention.

It was a movie. A black & white science fiction movie. Really cheesy looking. No one ran old movies like this.

It took me a while to register that someone was talking other than the characters in the movie. I was really out of it but then I saw… the shadows.

Running along the bottom of the screen was what looked like a row of theater seats. And in the right hand corner were silhouettes that were commenting on the movie.

OK, odd little black & white science fiction movie, you have my attention. 

Within moments, I had rolled off the sofa, I was laughing so hard. I am literally rolling on the floor laughing. I had gone from not caring if I lived or died to experiencing the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life.

So did Mystery Science Theater 3000 really save my life? The way I felt lying on that couch in the mere moments before I landed on that channel? Compared to the sheer joy I was experiencing a few moments later? I would say it did. 

So that's a lot for the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 to live up to: to be funny AND life affirming? No, I would not put an undue burden on this new show. But yeah, it had to be funny.

And it was! 

The new elements are good with Jonah Ray holding court with the bots in the grand tradition of the dry humor of Joel and Mike. The bots have new voices but they seem familar enough. And I love the new Mads: Felicia Day (All hail Queen Felicia!!!!) as the latest Forrester to torture hapless victimes with bad movies in the name of science and her put upon sidekick portrayed by the affable Patton Oswalt. 

The effects still have that low cost home grown vibe but the show still has a bright hi-def sheen that befits its return in the 21st century.  

The choice of the first filn to be riffed on was an inspired choice: Reptillicus, a giant monster on the loose film from... Denmark. Yes, the monster is silly even as the story lumbers along with the serious weight of its ever so important story: the threat of giant reptiles to the good people of Copenhagen. It's a classic target for MST3K.  

So welcome back, MST3K. I hope after this set of episodes, there are more to come in the not too distant future.  

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