Friday, June 23, 2017

My 10 Favorite MST3K Episodes

(0:36-end mark from the theme from the final season of American Gladiators original run play the camera moves back to see James on top of the slab with the words “The Last Of The Americans” on it before cutting to James physically)

TLOTA: I'm James Faraci The Last Of The Americans and The views I'm about to express are that of my own and some of yours. So, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has returned with new episodes on Netflix with a new host and a new set of MADS. My thoughts after watching the first episode? (Cut to host clips and clips of the MADS from "The Beast Of Hollow Mountain" episode of MST3K: The Return and clips of Classic MST3K as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA(Voiceover): I WANT SEASON TWO! YESTERDAY! They did it, they got everything right about the series. I mean it didn't hurt that Joel Hodgson is now the showrunner, but the fact remains the series is continuing it's great ability to riff bad movies and everyone laughing with the host, Tom Servo and Crow. But this is where the show has shined the most. From the past 10 seasons on Television or the countless reruns that air either on Comet TV or even on the streaming services that are around I think that the series continues to be successful and revered because it still remains true and unlike the people who worked on "Attack Of The Eye Creatures" EVERYONE on the new show CARES to honor the past and take care to make sure the future is solid! (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: And for me to honor the past and make sure MST3K's future fans know about the show, I am going to share with you my 10 favorite episodes of the original series! (Cut to clips of the classic series as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): And for this list there will be a few rules. One, I am going with the ten seasons that aired on Network TV. The New MST3K just ended it's first season and I am gonna give it a few seasons before I give it it's own list. Two, For every Joel Episode there will be a Mike Episode. Three, The reason for the episode appearing on the list will either be the riff was great, the host segment was good or even the highlight of the episode or for that matter the story involving the host in the episode makes it worthy of being on this list and Four, The MST3K movie is disqualified because I already talked about it in July of Last Year! (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: Now with that said, these are my Top 10 Favorite MST3K Episodes! (Cut to the entryway to the MST3K theater as the instrumental of the theme plays in the background as the final door opens we see the MST3K moon as it rotates to the logo and it pauses as the words "My Ten Favorite Episodes of " on the top before cutting to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 10 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number ten

10) Soultaker (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Essentially a reunion show of sorts save for bringing back Trace Beaulieu as Dr. Clayton Forrester and voicing Crow one more time and bringing back J. Elvis Weinstein aka Dr. Larry Erhardt. The story of the episode and the riffs are what makes this episode on the list. While Pearl sends Mike and The Bots their movie for the episode The Satellite Of Love has fallen into disrepair and even Gypsy isn't in any sort of good mood to help. (Show clip of Gypsy as she chews everyone out before cutting back to the movie as it gets riffed by Mike & The Bots and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): The Riffs on Soultaker are spot on especially on the story itself. (Cut to clips of the host segments of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): But what makes the episode is the return of Joel as he comes aboard in the end of the third act to get aboard to fix Gypsy and The Satellite and seeing TV's Frank one more time and keep in mind this was the first episode of the last season airing on what is now the Syfy Channel back when it was SCI-FI! While it would've been nice to see Joel and Mike Riff on the movie together. It wasn't hard to see why they never did. Joel had to fly himself up to the Satellite Of  Love and had to in essence rebuild the systems of the Satellite he didn't have time for joining Mike in riffing. Symbolic of what Joel's role would be since he regained the rights to MST3K. Maybe it was Kismet that the first episode on final season on what is now known as the SYFY network be on this list but maybe it was just for the fun of seeing some of the old faces one more time before SYFY gave it the ax!

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 9 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number nine

9) War Of The Colossal Beast (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): The movie itself is the usual fare for MST3K and the host segments are funny as is The Colossal Man played by Mike Nelson. The Invention exchange is as humorous as it could be as well. But what makes this episode list worthy is possibly the most infamous part of the episode. (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: And the subject of the short. ("Mr. B Natural" played by Traci Hines jump cuts in with the fluty music and James jumps back and shouts DWAH!)

Mr. B Natural: Mr. B Natural Finally free from that cramped up Satellite and ready to awaken the spirit of music in everyone again and I'll start with you James.

TLOTA: Could you wait in the main lobby until after I was done with this list?

Mr. B Natural: I can wait but the Spirit cannot. Finish the list and You can feel like a Happy King! (Fluty Music plays as "Mr. B Natural" Jump cuts out as James looks around as he shakes off the feeling of uncomfortable before cutting to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 8 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number Eight

8) Laserblast (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): The final episode in the Comedy Central run of MST3K, they threw everything into the episode. The riffs were amazing, the story for Dr. Clayton Forrester's departure was on the nosey, the fact that they subversively told the audience Comedy Central was giving them the ax was awesomely funny and I think the ending does it all (Show end host clip in which everyone sheds their corporeal form and then proceeds to float in the galaxy before we see Dr. Forrester becoming a Star Baby before cutting to James physically)

TLOTA: If the show ended here it would've been an okay ending because quite honestly it works as a finale but for a show like this, I was glad it got picked up by the network that called itself the SCI-FI Network and not the SYFY network and we'd get a more fitting finale. But that is for later on in the list!

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 7 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number Seven

7) Mitchell (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): While the episode starts off as a normal MST3K episode we soon discover why this episode is list worthy (Show the First post movie Host segment before cutting to the rest of the episode plays as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): That's right Gypsy being played by co-creator and Executive Producer Jim Mallon thinking that Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank were going to kill Joel with Gypsy believing that because Joel has yet to break so they decide to just straight up killing the guy. Using a method that and I'm para-quoting Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank "Elegant, Painful and leaving nothing behind but the great smell of Brut" but in fact they were talking about Mike Nelson the Temp they had hired. So as Gypsy had to try to save Joel from something that The MADS aren't planning on doing to Joel and from what I've heard there was tension between Joel Hodgson and Jim Mallon. Rather than watching the series suffer because of the tension Joel decided to step away from MST3K. The Riff was great and the moment Tom Servo loses it was hilarious. The end segment when Joel is about to read a letter and is unceremoniously sucked into an escape pod hidden in a box of Hamdingers and when the Bots go nuts and The MADS unsuccessfully try to get Joel back but they do find someone else to send up in his place.

This episode had to serve as a finale to the Joel era as well as the beginning of the Mike Era and it pulled off the transition perfectly!

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 6 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number six

6) Girls Town (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA: (Voiceover): The movie is the first episode in the first full season for Mike Nelson. While Mike was getting his sea legs after Joel left in the middle of season five they did try to keep certain things like the Invention Exchange. I think the producers realized by the end of said fifth season they had to let Mike be Mike and it was in this Episode Mike felt free enough to bring his own humor into the mix. While I enjoyed the riff and the story fine enough, what put this one on the list was one host segment that just was for me HILARIOUS! (Show clip of Tom Servo Scatting as Mike and Crow are close to sending Tom Servo into space through an ACME rocket before cutting to James physically)

TLOTA: Let's analyze this moment (Show clip again as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): First off, Tom Servo scats for a few seconds before Crow grabs a burlap sack which Mike uses quickly to stuff Tom Servo into then drops him into a 60 Gallon Water Tank which doubles as an ACME Rocket! They're seconds away from lighting the fuse. What stops them? The Commercial Sign and decide to let him out all while Tom Servo scats carefree! A perfectly funny moment worth it's weight in Comedic gold and worth being on this list!

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 5 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number five

5) Catalina Caper (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): I'll admit I'm a bit of a sucker for this type of cheesy campy movie. So seeing Joel and the bots enjoying the silliness of this movie and knowing the riffs are done from a place of enjoyment is a plus in this episode's favor. But what puts the episode on this list? (Show clip of Tom Servo singing about his love for the character played by Ulla Strömstedt before cutting to James physically)

TLOTA: Sadly the actress never got a chance to see Tom Servo proclaim his love for her character as she sadly died in a car crash but Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo and his singing is just amazing! And to be honest there are times when I check out the new series and I miss Kevin Murphy's voice but I've gotten use to Baron Vaughn as Tom Servo as of late so take it for what it's worth.

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 4 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number Four

4) Diabolik (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): After Pearl fiddles around with the controls of the Satellite and accidentally sending the Satellite into re-entry mode. Pearl decides for their last movie for Diabolik and while the riffing was their usual great fare. It's the fact that for everyone involved that for them, this was the end and they decided to make the best host segments for the series and to see Mike finally getting home and even sharing a place with Servo & Crow doing what they do best.  (Show the final moments of MST3K "Diabolik" episode before cutting to clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Up until the Restart on Netflix for all of us MYSTIES, This WAS the final episode! While I'll never get how Crow, Servo and Gypsy got back onto the Satellite. I'm betting Gypsy's company went Belly up and Mike couldn't afford the rent for all of them so Kinga granted them a return to the Satellite Of Love 2.0 which I think it is because I doubt Kinga or anyone on moon base 13 had the resources to rebuild the original from scratch again. But as far as an ending for the Original Show, it was satisfactory. The MADS lost, Mike made it back to Earth and he's happy doing what he wants to and he's got his robot pals.

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 3 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number Three

3) "Manos: The Hands Of Fate" (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): I know, A lot of  MYSTIES have put this one at the top of their favorite episode of MST3K Episodes but there's a reason why it's not Number One because it was the first one I saw Online on the official MST3K Channel and it was the first time I saw "Manos: The Hands Of Fate" and I loved the episode. Watching Joel console Crow & Tom Servo after getting out and trying to reenact the long opening drive, Heck seeing TV's Frank and Dr. Forrester in separate host segments apologize for putting them through this was entertaining. Even the end segment in which we see Torgo (Now played by Mike Nelson) owning his own Pizza delivery was entertaining. The fact Mike Nelson got the walk, the look and Mannerisms down pact almost made me think they got the original actor who played Torgo to don the costume and play the role again. I later found out that actor ate a gun! But still this episode is worth it's weight in Torgo's Pizza!

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 2 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Number Two

2) The Turkey Day Marathon (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover):  As we all know another way of calling of a bad movie is the word "Turkey" and as we all know we enjoy Turkeys on Thanksgiving. So Comedy Central came up with the idea to use MST3K to celebrate Thanksgiving. My favorite ones during the first time was the first one in 1991 in which TV's Frank is preparing for Thanksgiving and Dr. Forrester is planning to take over the world, 1994 which had Adam West hosting and it debuted the "Zombie Nightmare" episode & the one in 1995 which had Dr. Forrester trying to take over the world before his mom got to his lair while dealing with Pitch from "Santa Claus", "Mr. B Natural", "Kitten With The Whip" and Jack Perkins and forcibly having to do a Thanksgiving that TV's Frank had planned before his character was written out after the "Samson vs The Vampire Women" episode. While the last episode in the 1995 marathon made Pearl Forrester a permanent fixture in the series. This was a great way for every MYSTIE to get their fix as they enjoy the Turkey with all the trimmings with the family. Why SCI-FI Channel never did that I don't know. I'm sure it would have worked. Being able to see your favorite episodes and some you never thought about checking. While it has come back in recent years thanks to Joel hosting it on YouTube. So while you stuff yourself  with Turkey then I suggest you and your family try stuffing yourselves with some of MST3K's Finest Turkeys while enjoying the Football Game or The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade so they can possibly find themselves enjoying it and finding more episodes they could enjoy outside of the ones in the marathon.

(Cut to the still of the MST3K logo as the number 1 is seen and James does a voiceover.)

TLOTA (Voiceover):  And My Favorite Episode of Classic MST3K of all is.... 

1) "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" (Cut to Clips of the episode as James does a voiceover)

TLOTA (Voiceover): Verity Lambert said "You never forget your first Doctor" when it comes to "Doctor Who".  But for MSTies like myself you never forget the first riff. And for me my first Riff was that of the Pia Zadora Classic "Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" this was my first exposure to the show and to the movie. So trust me when I say this is MST3K at it's finest. The riffs were on point. The Host segments are hilarious. Even the Patrick Swayze Christmas song is perfectly in tune with everything right with the show and for Joel Hodgson and crew to keep this type of quality up in the new season makes it worth all the while and I hope they keep it going for a long time to come. (Cut to James physically)

TLOTA: And I know I missed A TON OF THEM I really did like so feel free to add your favorite in the comments below. As A matter of fact I encourage you to do so and Share the link! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to deal with a person who needs to awaken the spirit of music in me!  I'm James Faraci The Last Of The Americans and That's My Opinion. (James reaches off screen and the usual ending of an MST3K as TV's Frank pushes the button.)