Mystery Science Theater 3000- Volume XVII
-Review by Nic Brown-
From its humble beginning on KTMA Minneapolis to its final incarnation on the Sci-Fi channel, MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 spent ten years teaching us how to enjoy the worst Hollywood has to offer. Unfortunately, after its cancellation by the Sci-Fi channel, MST3K episodes became harder and harder to find. Boxed sets containing four shows each began being released, but it wasn’t until the release of the twentieth anniversary edition that the show really seemed to find its home with Shout Factory.
Shout Factory’s MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 Volume XVII (available March 2010) features four of the show’s best episodes, two with MST3K’s first host, Joel Hodgson, and two with Mike Nelson. THE CRAWLING EYE, THE BEATNIKS, THE FINAL SACRIFICE and THE BLOOD WATERS OF DR. Z are the features that Joel, Mike and their robot pals lampoon and each is fun in its own way.
I could talk about the movies themselves, but if they were great films then MST3K wouldn’t have shown them. So instead I’ll talk about the special features on the boxed set. Each disk comes in its own case that has a re-imagining of the film’s movie poster featuring robot hosts Tom Servo and Crow. Tom and Crow also appear in the computer animation videos that run on each disks menu screen. Usually animations on a DVD menu are just there to fill space on the screen while the view choose to press play or chapter select. The menus on the Shout Factory disks however are much more entertaining and feature skits based on the films (I especially like the one on THE BLOOD WATERS OF DR. Z).
Each one of the disks also feature some impressive special features. THE CRAWLING EYE, which was the show’s first episode on The Comedy Channel, has an interview with the Joel Hodgson talking about the early days of the show and that first episode. THE FINAL SACRIFICE features an interview with the film’s star Bruce J. Mitchell. THE BEATNIKS has a rare convention appearance by Trace Bealieu (The original voice of Crow) and Bill Corbett (Crow 2.0). The two discuss everything from building the shows unique props to why you should never take your robot puppet home with you! THE BLOOD WATERS OF DR. Z has the fewest unique features with only some promos, trailers and stills. However, the before mentioned DVD menu skit for this episode helps make up for the lack of other features.
THE MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 Volume XVII boxed set is a real treat for fans of the show. The special features, cool packaging, and fun animated menus all compliment the entertainment value of the original MST3K episodes the set features. So if you’re wondering how he eats and breaths and other science facts… just repeat to yourself “It’s just a show, I should really just relax” and check out the MST3K Vol XVII DVD boxed set from Shout Factory. But remember to pick up some wine to go with all the cheese in these films!