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Monday, November 17, 2008

MST3K 20th Anniversary DVD set review by Jessica Friedman

MST3K 20th Anniversary DVD set review

First off, let me state that I love Mystery Science Theater 3000, so this review will be a bit biased. I am sure that since my husband writes reviews as well, you are all used to glowing reviews for martial arts films, but not necessarily for science fiction fare. However, MST3K is one of those (few) common threads between Ian and me that existed before we even met, and the show continues to be a favorite of ours now. I myself watch or listen to on my iPod an MST3K movie or short almost every day before work (especially those by RiffTrax, which any fan would love, IMHO). I am a Mike girl, so it is no surprise that I was thrilled to see Michael J. Nelson episodes and interview segments. That Bridget Jones woman is one lucky lady!

Ahem. Anyway…onto the review. Since MST3K has been around for 20 years now, this awesome DVD set should satisfy any diehard fan out there. It has four great episodes: Future War, First Spaceship on Venus, Werewolf (my favorite on the set), and Laser Blast. In addition to those episodes, there is an excellently informative interview segment with all of the major players since the beginning when the show started at KTMA to the Sci-Fi years and even a video of everyone on a Comi-con panel moderated by comedian Patton Oswalt from earlier this year. I found the extras to be fun (the music box is pretty cool and nostalgic for an old timer like me), but the heart of MST3K has always been the riffs, and this dvd set has plenty.

It may be an unpopular opinion, but I am of the “Sci-Fi years were better” camp, so I really enjoy any episode featuring Pearl, Brain Guy and Bobo torturing the guys versus Joel’s episodes with Dr. Forrester and TV’s Frank. In the dvd set itself, I would say the best riffing occurs in Werewolf. Aside from the ridiculous accents and crazy hairstyles, the insane Native American music that plays throughout the movie becomes one of the main targets for Mike and the ‘Bots. I will say that the ending of Werewolf, during the credits, is bar-none one of the funniest riffs MST3K had ever done, and it is fitting to include such a tremendous gag on an anniversary celebrating the greatness that was MST3K.

My husband and I still mourn the death of the show (we had a pancake breakfast and held hands while humming the Love Theme when the show had its final airing on Sci-Fi), but these dvd sets bring us together in a way no other show has. The quality of the dvd itself fares quite better than those old VHS tapes we had (keep circulating the tapes, indeed!), and the sound is great.

All in all, this is a must-have set for any fan of MST3K. The riffs are fantastic, and the extras are very informative. Even if you are a casual fan of MST3K, or have never heard of the show, this is a great set to catch up on what you have been missing out on over the years. First, get to know the characters and their bizarre relationships via the interviews in the extras, then dive head-first into the snarky fun!

Final grade: A


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