I'm 5 episodes in and I gotta say I'm pretty impressed. It's like the show kinda never went away.
I feel like maybe they are short-changing the host segments a bit, but I'm pretty satisfied with this reboot. Probably the first thing I donated to on kickstarter that I don't feel ripped off.
blue vein steel
I like the cast and all the updates. My only criticism (all i've seen is Reptilicus) is that the riffing is a little too overloaded, and too many fan service riffs. But otherwise, it looks like a great new life for the show.
|John Holmes Motherfucker |
I've seen two episodes, and there's a lot I can say about the things I like better than the old versions (the sets) and the things I don't like as much (Tom Servo's voice), but I'm being sent out on errands, and so I'll cut to the headline.
Based on two episodes, I think the new Mystery Science Theater may be funnier than the older versions. This is probably going to be controversial, but everybody has their favorites, and everybody is entitled to them. My son is all about the Joel episodes, and I'm a Mike man.
If Season 11 is funnier, it's not just because of the writing, it's because of the editing. The old MST3k (I'm talking about the theater part now) always featured up a lot of bad jokes. You'd forgive them, and it was like they were there to keep the pace. There are less clunkers now. The pace is slower and more relaxed. Some of the jokes are developed as routines and not just as riffing one-liners.
And Felicia Day is just wonderful! I'm used to seeing her in THE GUILD, her as a tmid, mousy gamer girl, so to see her shine as a younger version of Pearl, (the character's name is Kinga Forrester), all joy and malevolence, is a wondeful surprise. The part where they wheel her out on that platform, her stance with those tough boots, tickles me everytime I watch it, and I've watched it over and over.
Patton Oswalt, of course, is Patton fucking Oswalt, always a pleasure.
Joel is clearly having the time of his life with all the model making and the budget he's allowed to have.
Took me awhile to get used to the new voices, new Crow is great, new Tom didn't warm on me until he started singing. It was nice to see Pearl/Bobo/Brain Guy get a bit of closure.
Jonah... eh. He has too much of a preexisting body of work for my preferences. He also sounds exactly like David Wain which is weird, because it just makes me think how much I'd like to see David Wain in that role.
I'm only 5 episodes in, but I am going to go on record: 1104, in my opinion, stands among the top MST episodes of all time.
|Caminante Nocturno |
For some reason, it never occurred to me to wonder how they'd handle the countdown door sequence. I like what they did with it.
Going to skip the new one.
Still working my way through "Reptilicus", I'm not halfway through yet. For me anyway, the jokes just aren't landing. Could be because they're still working on finding their footing, could be because "Reptilicus" thus far is kind of dull.
Also could be because this show feels too Joel-y and not Mike-y enough for my tastes. At least to me, the Mike-era jokes felt like they were fine-tuned a little more, or at least differently.
Still going to keep watching and give it a shot. Thus far "Reptilicus" is basically "Gorgo": plodding and joyless, even with the boys' best efforts.
A lack of Kevin Murphy really hurts. Gonna go listen to the "Creepy Girl" song now.
John Holmes Motherfucker
>>>A lack of Kevin Murphy really hurts.
Most definitely. The new Tom Servo is Baron Vaughn, who plays Lili Tomlin's adopted son (the black one) on Netflix's Grace and Frankie. He's a decent comic actor, and I expect he'll be fine once I stop missing Murphy. Nobody can recreate the magic of that big barrelling voice and that little barrel-shaped dude.
>>Also could be because this show feels too Joel-y and not Mike-y enough for my tastes.
That makes sense, since Joel has been involved, and I believe that Mike is not.
The new guy, Jonah, is adorkable, and he's beuatifully low-key, but he hasn't made much of an impression as a character. However, the jmads are great, the jokes are great (your smilage may vary, of course) , and we need new jokes. We can't go into into the 2020's watching jokes about Clarence Thomas and the first George Bush. We need jokes about Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. And Ted Cruz!
Since 1988, Netflix is is the fourth channel MST3K has been on... the fifth, if you count "The Comedy Channel" and "Comedy Central" as two seperate entities. (In the early nineties, The Comedy Channel, which carried MST3K, and another channel merged to become Comedy Central.) It's the third Tom Servo, the third Crow, and the third Forrester. We all have our favorites, but the changes are part of the durability. Not everyone can roll with them, but if you can, it's worth the effort.
Starcrash is probably the best of this season. It's hard to mess up mocking that masterpiece, though.
Kevin gets a cameo in as Bobo briefly. And Bill Corbett is still on the writing staff. I also love Gypsy's new voice, and I love that she descends from the ceiling to riff occasionally. Also, Tom Servo being suddenly able to fly, but only as a way to cover up nipples, is fantastic.
"Also could be because this show feels too Joel-y and not Mike-y enough for my tastes."
Here's what I mean, I think. In "The Amazing Transparent Man" there's a quick cut to a guy reading a magazine, and the riff is, "Goofus pisses me off". If Joel had written the line, it probably would have been "oh hey, Highlights!", with maybe a follow-up of "Goofus pisses me off". Don't state the premise of your joke and then make the joke; just make the joke and assume your audience can follow.
I'm seeing a lot of that in "Reptilicus" (it shouldn't be this hard to finish an episode). Like the scene halfway through at Ostre Landsdelskommando (and full credit to them, their Scrabble joke did land with me), they open with "they've really got an epic D&D game going on here", followed by a couple lines like "I cast magic missile!" Why even announce the premise of a D&D game? Jump directly to "I cast magic missile!"
Considering the head writer is a frequent guest on a D&D let's play podcast, that's to be expected.
And Joel-y versus Mike-y? Mike could be pointlessly mean spirited occasionally, and he's gotten really ugly the older he's gotten. And I'm also glad that Frank Conniff isn't involved, because he, too, has gotten really angry and mean as he's aged. Joel is basically a lovable goof.
More examples. Well done bit: "duck, duck, duck, duck, duck ... gooooose". Poorly done bit: naming the guy "Pee-Wee Kissinger" (because he looks like Kissinger in a Pee-Wee Herman suit) and then saying "The word of the day is 'carpet-bomb'" in a Pee-Wee Herman voice. JUST MAKE THE GODDAMN JOKE.
Some things are better left as a fond memory.
as far as i'm concerned, mitchell is still the last episode of mst3k ever made
Don't much like the new cast (Patton's okay). The in theater riffing is pretty good though. I'm giving it a chance, and going to watch through them all.
Elliott Kalan's style is ALL OVER this show, but most obvious when they break into song. I'd love him to just have the money and power to do a complete, three hour long, Sondheim style Broadway show.
|John Holmes Motherfucker |
We all have our preferences. You may prefer the old show, but this is as good as we had any right to expect. It's perfectly respectable.
I will agree that it is as good as I expected it to be.
You're right John, it came out better than I was worried it might. I hope it does well and they can keep making them.
It does. Some other people don't like change for the worse.
John Holmes Motherfucker
For 16 years there were no new episodes, now there are new epsodses. All of the episodes that existed before the new episodes still exist as they existed before; not a frame has changed. I don't see how that can be a change for the worse. It's not a matter of opinion. It's math.
the Mighty No. 9 argument: it's better than nothing
I'm a lifelong MSTie and I love everyone who's ever been involved so, yes, I'm watching the hell out of this. Reptilicus was great and I'm looking forward to Starcrash.
John Holmes Motherfucker
Starcrash has a special guest star... and I mean a really REALLY special guest star! Felicia Day made a big point about how she wasn't going to give away the surprise, and neither will I. I don't think I'm overselling it at all.
Watched a bit out of curiosity and wow, not really feeling it. It's like viewing a more expensively staged version of one of those fanmade MST3K episodes where they tried to approximate the show's appearance, the riffing tries to cram in too many jokes without a pause for breath. And I was cautiously optimistic even when I saw Jonah Ray i.e. the least funniest guy from that 'Nerdist' podcast and considering the competition that says a lot - tapped to fill in the Joel/Mike role.
Watching it I reflected on my original gut reaction that they could have gone with anyone else besides some D-list podcaster dipshit, and bringing in a Official Corporate Geek-Culture Approved Star as the new Dr. F, who is a total null. Jonah Ray, Felicia Day? Why not bring in Will Wheaton or some random Youtube buffoon and make it totally unwatchable.
I have no particular reason to disapprove of Jonah, Felicia, or Patton. The main things are 1) good movies for riffing and 2) good riffing. I find that the best movies for this have some measure of quality to them, but are significant flawed -- a dull pile of crap is going to remain a dull pile of crap no matter how much glitter you sprinkle on it.
When I saw Will Wheaton in the first episode my finger was on the trigger (of my mouse, on the back button), but I got through it. Luckily that turd doesn't seem to be featured much.
He and Erin Gray were there just for ham-fisted exposition, which I thought was a nice touch.
John Holmes Motherfucker
Every incarnation of MST3K has its particular strengths and weaknesses. The SyFy period had a great high concept, Dr. Bobo and the Brain Guy, but a lot of the movies were lackluster color 70-90s mediocrity, instead of the black and white 50s-60s nobudget shitshows that I've loved since I was three feet tall.
I agree that, in this new case, it's the riffing. The riffing is strong with this one.
And I'm also having a lot of fun remembering my favorite moments from the previous versions. During the final credits to the Reptilicus,episode there was a brief reprise of the melody to the classic Frank/Clay duet "Living in Deep 13." It had been a while.
I had some trouble getting into Reptilicus. I was still working through my apprehension, and it was like everyone involved was trying to find their footing, from the writers to Jonah to the VAs for the bots. Even Day and Patton looked like deer in headlights. Having Servo float around the theater was jarring to see at first, but then they did it again. And again. Constant jokes about Kickstarter and "we're on Netflix" gave me pause. I laughed a few times, and I loved the host segment song about the world's monsters.
Then BAM, Cry Wilderness happens. Not only do they have a confused, ridiculous, boring train wreck of a movie to feed on, suddenly they're at the top of their game again after eighteen years. The pacing straightens out, the long silences stop, and when it couldn't possibly get better, Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy show up to highlight Kinga's abandonment issues. Jonah & the Bots are trashing a movie that plays like a beaten together Neverending Story and Pod People, and the new show thrives. This is what I'm hoping The Last Jedi feels like.
Jonah warmed on me, even though his previous work has seemed really chilly to me. Also he's physically unlike both Joel and Mike in a lot of ways, so it took some adjustment.
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