That was my favorite show when I was a teenager. I'm really enjoying the relaunch, so far. I'm about halfway through.
There are a few minor points about the new show that I'm not crazy about, but I definitely think it's mostly a successful relaunch. If we got 3 or 4 seasons of this quality, it might not rise to become my favorite era, but I'd still be glad it happened. Best case scenario, it runs for another 10 years with a couple of eras along the way.
Some bullet points:
- Jonah makes a decent host. I think he's a little better on camera than Mike was at first (though he improved somewhat), but still not quite as appealing as Joel at his best. He does feel a bit like someone who spent a bunch of time doing a podcast on Nerdist, though. He doesn't quite have that midwestern outsider thing that Joel and Mike had, which is a shame. Still, within his wheelhouse he's perfectly fine.
- In fact, overall the biggest thing I feel I'm missing is the homemade, midwestern feel to the comedy. This feels like a show assembled in LA that attempts to capture a midwestern sensibility. It's not a total failure, but it's not on the nose, either. I do think that a kind of subtextual anger at Hollywood is one of the key elements of MST3K, and you can't really get that with a big LA cast. Still, there are jokes lobbed at corporate greed and stuff throughout, so it's not a bust or anything. It's not quite MST3K Goes Hollywood.
- One thing that I have mixed feelings about - the movies are overall better than your average MST3K movies. There are a few of them - Time Travellers, The Land That Time Forgot, The Beast of Hollow Mountain - that mostly don't feel like terrible movies at all. Maybe underwhelming and a little goofy, but not bad in the way Manos or Eegah was bad. In some ways it helps, since the films aren't excruciating on their own. It takes the pressure off Jonah and the bots to salvage every moment. But the better the movie is, the less it needs or deserves the MST3K treatment. So I have mixed feelings about it. Thank God for Cry Wilderness and Starcrash, though.
- I do think the decision to go with a new cast was a good one, even if I miss members of the old cast (Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, most of all). Ultimately the choice is a hard one, between bringing back the show as it used to be, and risk it being a little tired (and it probably would be tired, since a lot of those guys never stopped riffing movies for very long) or keep regenerating the show, experience some growing pains now, but get the opportunity to let the show grow and last as long as possible. I think Joel made the right decision, even though it does come with its own pains (and minor backlash from some fan circles).
- I have other thoughts, but I'm not even sure anyone around here watches it. So that's a start. What are your thoughts about it?
We've been watching it, went through like 3 or 4 episodes. Pretty funny stuff. My only "complaint" would be that sometimes they talk a really long time while making jokes now, and... I don't quite recall that being the case before? Feel like it works best when it's just a string of quick zingers, any joke with more put into it feels like uh, well I guess like it was planned, and I know this is ALL planned, but it's SUPPOSED to feel like they're just sitting there doing it on the fly, right?
And uh... you think Time Travellers isn't a terrible movie?! It's not the worst movie but it was pretty bad.
My favorite joke so far was when someone in the movie said the monster was heading towards the stock market building and they said something like "quick, feed him some numbers and we'll catch him on insider trading!" It's no "bugles" but it made me laugh pretty hard.
@GameDadGrant A dude and some robots watch really bad movies and make fun of them. On occasion they take a break to do some skits in between but I always skip those. Which apparently is a sin to some MST3K fanatics but whatever.
It's very funny stuff. I mean, it's kind of hit or miss sometimes but they make SO MANY jokes that even if only half hit, you still get hit by a lot of hilarity.
I've seen some random episodes or parts of random episodes of the old series. I can tell you which robot is Gypsy, which is Tom Servo, and which is Crow. And I know that the loose plot of the show is some guy being trapped on a moon base and forced to watch bad movies while the villains (whoever they are) monitor his sanity (which he keeps in check by making fun of the movies with his robot pals that I think were created by the original guy), but outside of that I know very little about the old show.
I've watched the first two episodes of the new series, and it seems pretty decent. The monster rap from episode 1 was amazingly well done and written, and I appreciate the continuity nod in episode 2 with the villains (even though I didn't really understand it since I don't know anything about those people except what they look like), but apart from that the in-between bits haven't done anything for me. Furthermore, because I've gotten to the point where I don't like to sit down and watch something that's longer than 50 minutes, I've been watching each episode kind of piecemeal or else running in the background while I play Zelda or do something else (which admittedly lowers the entertainment value of the show since lots of the jokes do depend on what is being done and shown on screen rather than just what is being said), but it's been pretty decent.
I have mixed feelings on Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt right now, but Jonah has been pretty great so far.
It's a funny show, but it's also no longer a radical one. Keep in mind the original MST3K series came out in 1988, so that was long, long, long before internet culture let everyone "talk back" to media. Definitely if your frame of reference is the Nostalgia Critic (who I don't really like) you gotta cast your mind back over a decade to see why this was so remarkable, in the first place. That said, I think it'd still be entertaining to a new viewer. I do think you've kinda gotta like watching bad movies, though. It helps, anyway. My friends who don't like the show seem to just hate cheesy movies to begin with.
I'm pretty happy with the cast at this point. I knew Patton Oswalt already and I think he does a fine job as the TV's Frank sidekick. Felicia Day I don't know at all, but I think she's fine. She's a little glam for the role, but I don't really see much of a flaw in her performance. She's not as endearing as Clayton Forrester, but she's not as off-putting as Pearl was in some of her early appearances.
The sketches were significantly better under Joel and got pretty awful during the Mike years. I certainly understand why you'd skip those. So far, I think the Jonah sketches have been a lot better than average for the show. They're not all winners, but that's sketch comedy for you.
Also: I'm not gonna die on the hill of 'Time Travellers', but I think the central premise is a perfectly reasonable one. And I like the way they incorporated stage magic into the movie, with that android-head-swap scene being particularly... I don't want to say impressive, but at least well executed. It's no classic, but if it was an episode of Ray Bradbury Theater or something, no one would say it was unacceptable. Amongst the usual MST3K fare it was basically Interstellar.
I do recall being slightly surprised at that head swap. I think I even said something to Shirley about it, like "where did they get the budget for that?!"
As for the skits, to be honest, that's just not what I come to MST for. They might be ok but they're in the way of what I really want. Back when I got into this show on regular ol' TV I couldn't skip them of course, so I watched them and they just never really did it for me. And if I recall correctly this was also when commercials were still a thing, so it's like movie cuts to skit cuts to commercial cuts back to skit and then FINALLY back to movie... it felt a bit unbearable sometimes. Then came the Internet and I started skipping and never looked back.
I did watch a bit of this season's first episode's skits just to see what was up, but they didn't do anything to grab me either.
I go back and forth on whether I like Felicia Day. I really liked her in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which was the first thing I saw her in. I kind of liked her but thought her character was a bit much on The Legend of Neil. I thought she was okay in The Guild. I liked her in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (though I barely remember her part in the show). I really disliked her in Supernatural. And that was the last thing I saw her in before this, so I went into this with more negative feelings towards her than positive though that clearly hasn't always been the case. But she plays such a relatively small role in this show (given the show's nature) that I imagine this won't influence my overall liking of her and her characters too much in the end.
Hey, I keep forgetting about this. Need to set aside some time and get into it. Thanks for the reminder.
This show was a revelation for me and my sister when we discovered it around the mid 90s. Probably the most cherished hours of my teenage years tbf. I'm 36 now and I've still never met anyone who has even heard of it. Not that it's the first thing I ask a new person... but... y'know... you can just tell, right?
I grew up in the Mike era and sorta followed him into his Rifftrax project where he did movies like Roadhouse or Britney's Crossroads. Then eventually Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy joined him and they tackled proper blockbusters like Star Wars, Twilight and Transformers. The team was back together but I must say the riffs were more miss than hit and I think it's because they weren't doing shitty enough movies.
But they changed that and absolutely slayed the likes of Birdemic, Trolls 2 or The Room. Did anyone see those Riffs? Oh Birdemic is just. incredible.
On the Mike v Joel thing I have to say I tried watching a few Joel eps but it just didn't spark with me. Maybe his personality is too insignificant? I'm sure a Joel fan would argue that Mike was too ott. Haha. It's been a while so maybe I need to try Manos again, or hey what's a killer Joel ep? They put some old eps on Netflix as well didn't they?
I started watching in 1992 with Time of the Apes. So I'm definitely more in the Joel camp, though I eventually came around to Mike. It has been odd encountering Mike-Only fans online since I always parsed the big debate between the hosts more in the context of whether to give Mike a chance or not, not a referendum on Joel. I figured everyone liked Joel since, you know, he started the show.
Manos is great, but probably not the episode to start if you're a Joel-skeptic. It'd be like starting with Red Zone Cuba if you're watching Mike for the first time. I'd do it in this order:
Cave Dwellers - best episode of the Joel era and super accessible Mitchell Eegah Santa Claus vs The Martians ...then Manos
Maybe follow that with Pod People or Catalina Caper.
My 1st MST3k experience was The Movie when my dad rented it. We never had Sci-Fi or Comedy Central as a kid so the only time I got to watch the show was when I visited my Grandpa in Fargo. So I started out with Mike and have a preference towards his era but greatly appreciate Joel's era with all the Japanese kaiju and space serials as well as the horrid 1950s sci-fi.
@kriswright Whaddya know, Cave Dwellers is right there on Youtube. I watched the first half of it last night. Lots of lols. Very impressed. I love when you can clearly see the type of movie that it longs to be but falls so short with every scene. It's low hanging fruit for the guys but no less satisfying. That's probably why I couldn't get into Manos. WTF even was that movie!?
I especially love any scene where the editing is poor or the acting is stilted enough for the guys to call the word, "line?". It's a common one, but it kills me every time. Really amplifies the ineptitude.
Anywho, sorry for talking so much about the old stuff. I'll need to get onto this new series quick sharp.
As luck would have it, Cave Dwellers is the first episode of the show I ever saw when I first got Comedy Central all those years ago. I laughed so hard, I became a fan of the show for life right then. I've only got to watch one episode of the new one so far, which I liked. I need to get back and watch some more this weekend, but my gf likes to watch with me and pulling her away from BotW before it gets too late is difficult right now.