Film Reviews

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988 – 1999)

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Mystery Science Theatre 3000 aired from 1988 – 1999 and became a cult phenomenon. In 2015, a record breaking crowd funding Kickstarter campaign raised funds for a new season, which aired this year.

I don’t normally talk about TV, but I’m bending this rules here, because if you’re a film buff or if you love humour and bad films, then this is the show for you.

MST3000 is about a guy who has been sent into space by an evil scientist and his goon who experiment on him by making him watch truly awful films. The host has changed over the years (it was initially the shows creator Joel Hodgson), but he is joined by robots that he made out of parts he found on the ship. Two of these, Crowe and Tom Servo, watch the films with him. Essentially, the show consists of little skits on the spaceship, and watching the old films along with the cast, while they riff on the bad acting, meaningless plot, dodgy costuming, and anything else.

It’s actually pretty hilarious, and I love re-watching the older shows from the early days, with their references to Madonna and Billy Idol, or other retro pop cultural references. But all the episodes and seasons are pretty good. It’s funny to watch this show now, because it came before YouTube reviewers and commentators and before shows like GoggleBox, etc. It’s a show that’s deliberately kind of dodgy in its sets and design and just has fun with itself and the films shown.

And there are some great bad films in this show, some that you would perhaps never have thought to watch if it wasn’t for this show, and others, like the works of Ed Wood that this show unearthed and gave a cult following to. It also makes watching old cheesey movies extra fun.

It’s great that there’s a new season out, with Jonah Ray as host. It’s funny how a little show made in Minnesotta in the 1980’s has come so far and had so much fun doing it. The season came out on Netflix, so you should be able to find it there, but you can also find out more on the website, HERE.

A lot of you who love movies would already be familiar with this series, so I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Do you have a favourite episode to recommend? A favourite host or robot? What to you think of the new series? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

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7 thoughts on “Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (1988 – 1999)”

  1. I guess I have no interest in a reboot, but I sure do remember enjoying some of the best gut laughs of my life watching those old episodes. Thanks for reminding me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I grew up watching the show on Comedy Central in the early 90s. I was a weird kid, and mostly treated it as a means to manage to watch daikaiju films that I didn’t get to see otherwise (such as ). Eventually the intended aspect (ie, Joel and the ‘Bots) seeped in and I appreciated it in general.

    There’s always been some hullabaloo about the Joel–>Mike transition, but it always sat fine with me.

    The transition to the Sci-Fi Channel…not so much. Losing Trace Beaulieu killed the show for me. I didn’t like Corbett voicing Crow, I didn’t like any of the new Mads and I felt like the sense of humour in the show lost whatever it was I liked about it. It was bad enough that I used to write Shout! Factory and ask them to stop mixing Sci-Fi and Comedy Central episodes on DVD releases (not that they acquiesced, or had any good reason to).

    The Mr. B Natural short, however, is my favourite thing they ever did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a great show, right? And I know what you mean, it’s a great way to see some of those old films. I like the kaiju episodes too. It’s had a lot of changes over the years, some better than others. Have you seen any of the new series? I haven’t yet.

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      1. Sadly, I couldn’t get through a single episode of the new one. The writing just wasn’t there for me, and choosing pre-famous people for the Mads made it a bit distracting for me.

        Liked by 1 person

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