Part of this may be because, at this point, a lot of the greatest episodes have already shown up in previous boxed sets. Another problem may be that, as a longtime fan of the series, I’d much-rather start collecting sets of entire seasons as opposed to four randomly-assembled episodes, especially since what constitutes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ episode is so highly subjective.
But without trying to sound too jingoistic, the main reason Volume 24 isn’t as strong is because all four episodes in the collection skewer low budget foreign films (two from Japan, one from Russia, one from Italy). I do not have anything against low budget foreign films per se, but most of them don’t really need the MST3K treatment. Most are funny enough on their own. I always thought, as an American series, MST3K was at its best when attacking movies born from the same culture as its primary audience. Maybe it’s just me, but the MST3K episodes covering foreign films are never as fun.
That being said, this set isn’t without its merits. As usual, there are some funny quips and comments throughout each episode (though fewer and further between). What ultimately makes Volume 24 worth checking out, however, are the bonus features. Included are two shorts, one of which, A Date With Your Family, is arguably the best MST3K short they’ve ever done (and one I’d been longing to have in my DVD collection). For those of you who miss TV’s Frank, an update on his life is included, as well as a feature on Sandy Frank (the guy responsible for importing Fugitive Alien and Fugitive Alien 2, the two Japanese features).
In addition, the Shout! Factory sets are packaged with more creativity and care than the ones Rhino released. I still think all of the MST3K sets are needlessly spread-out over four discs, but at least we get some fun original artwork in the form of faux posters featuring Crow and Tom Servo.
Die hard fans will likely enjoy this set, but I have to think most of them, at this point, would prefer it if Shout! Factory went back to the beginning and started trucking-out full season boxed sets, which would allow Misties to revisit old episodes on their own terms.
Extras include 4 mini posters, 3 MST Hour Wraps, an interview with Sandy Frank, an intro to “Fugitive Alien” by August Rangone, a “Samson Vs. The Vampire Women” TV spot, a featurette titled “Lucha Gringo: K Gordon Murray Meets Santo” and an interview with Frank Conniff in “Life After MST3K: Frank Conniff.”
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