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Mystery Science Theater 3000 Season 11 Blu-ray Review

MST3K

“Mystery Science Theater 3000” is back AND Shout Factory has released a full season set? Huzzah!

After an 18 year hiatus, one of the best comedy/cult TV shows of all time made its long awaited return in 2017. That show is, of course, “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” You know, the show where a human and his robot pals mock bad and goofy movies via their mad scientist tormentors. Under the guidance of the creator and original host Joel Hodgson, the show has a brand new cast, a new setting and a new home (Netflix), but it’s still the same show we all love at heart. Admittedly, there may be a bit of an adjustment period for some fans (myself included) in getting used to the new cast, the new look of the show (production value wise) and the riffing style. Sometimes the riffing is a bit too fast for my liking as the jokes even come before some lines of dialogue are even delivered. Thankfully, once more and more of the show is absorbed, you get into the flow of this new season and find yourself loving the new cast members like they have always been apart of the show.

The new faces I am referring to are Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston, Baron Vaughn as Tom Servo, Hampton Yount as Crow, Felicia Day as the villainous Mad Kinga Forrester (the granddaughter of Pearl Forrester and the daughter of Clayton), and Patton Oswalt as the henchman Max AKA TV’s Son of TV’s Frank. The entire ensemble cast is perfectly cast here. They all bring something to the show and their characters, they each have an individual comedic style, and, more importantly, they all look comfortable stepping into this new version of MST3K. This is especially evident in the lively host segments (which are serialized this season). Basically, you will likely be left wanting to see more of them.

Of course, there’s more than just the main cast here. Some familiar faces from past MST3K episodes make a welcome return (I won’t spoil who) and there’s also a plethora of guest stars that make appearances in host segments such as Mark Hamill, Jerry Seinfeld, Neil Patrick Harris and more. None of the guest appearances feel gimmicky and, in fact, they work quite well. They are all written in a way where they aren’t wasted in their roles.

Content wise, season 11’s 14 episodes are fairly consistent in quality. The season opener “Reptilicus” is a bit uneven as everyone is trying to find their footing but the next episode (the weird Yeti flick “Cry Wilderness”) is easily one of the season’s finest and funniest episodes. Other highlights include the disaster film “Avalanche,” the “Star Wars” knock off “Star Crash,” and my personal favorite “The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t.” To me, ‘Christmas’ is one of those episodes like “The Final Sacrifice” that had me in tears with laughter. I couldn’t get enough of the “Baby Whipple” jokes. The only episode that did not work (for me at least) is “The Beast Of Hollow Mountain.” The riff writing for this monster movie just fell flat for whatever reason. The movie feels like a chore to get through. The rest of the episodes (“The Time Travellers,” “The Land That Time Forgot,” “The Loves of Hercules,” “Yongary,” “Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 1 and 2,” “Carnival Magic,” and “At Earth’s Core”) are all memorable and amusing in their own right and are welcome additions to the catalogue of episodes. As enjoyable as the season is, however, I do think the season is lacking modern films. In the 18 year absence, there’s been a lot of cheesy and bad made for DVD or indie films that would be perfect fodder for the show. Maybe next season?

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? As one might expect, the movies themselves vary in quality while the new host segments look nice and shiny in hi-def. With that said, these films prints presented in hi-def look actually look quite impressive for the most part. Certainly a lot better than what we’re used to from past episode releases!

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Much like the video quality, the riffing and the newly shot material is crisp and clear (love that new theme song) while the individual’s film audio tracks are uneven. Some audio sounds better than others.

Extras: “We Brought Back MST3K Documentary”- A 73 minute documentary containing a ton of behind-the-scenes footage, discussions about the origins of the show and its resurrection via Kickstarter, interviews, stories and footage of the new season’s production, and more.

Overall Thoughts: It’s thrilling to see “Mystery Science Theater 3000” back on screen and I can’t wait for the forthcoming season 12.

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April 16, 2018 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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