Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition DVD review

Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Edition DVD cover
Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Edition DVD cover
The Peabody Award-winning, Emmy-nominated cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, which became a pop culture landmark in the 1990s by poking fun at horrible movies of every genre and time period, has been successfully brought back to life by Shout! Factory. On October 28th, the pop culture treasure hunters, released four episodes that have never been available on DVD, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of after Mystery Science Theater’s (MST3K) premiere on television. This is the first of a series of DVD box sets coming from Shout! Factory, in association with Best Brains, the original producers of the show.

This set features one episode with series creator Joel Hodgson (First Spaceship on Venus) as the wise-cracking, critical host and three more with Mike Nelson (Laserblast, Werewolf, Future War) picking up the comedy torch. Two of the episodes are from the Comedy Central years, while two are from the Sci-Fi Channel group of shows.

First Spaceship on Venus (Episode 211)
This Kurt Maetzig film was originally titled Der Schweigende Stern and released in 1960. The internationally cast movie follows the story of the first astronauts to land on Venus. Filled with novel ideas about international cooperation, the film’s vision of the future is fun, action-filled and contains enough goofiness to make any comedy writer’s job easy. The jokes from the MST3K crew are hilarious and non-stop.

What’s a herring weigh? Oh, about a pound.
Everything’s better in the crawler copter.

The riotous one-liners about the robot Omega alone, were enough to keep me laughing throughout. The host segments are incredibly funny also.

Laserblast (Episode 706)
This 1978 film comprises the final episode from Comedy Central and received 2.5 stars from Leonard Maltin, a fact that is the source of endless jokes as the credits roll. The film revolves around Billy Duncan (Kim Milford), an ostracized teenager who stumbles upon the remains of a murdered alien in the California desert, along with a high-tech laser gun and power source. The host segment wrap-up with 2001: A Space Odyssey references is fabulous.

Werewolf (Episode 904)
This 1996 movie Werewolf with Richard Lynch, has a premise that is hilarious without the commentary, and makes other werewolf films seem almost realistic, by comparison. An archaeologist gets cut by the skeleton of a werewolf and becomes one. The bad foreign accents, and other low-budget goofiness in the film are torn apart by MST3K. The host segment where Mike and the ‘Bots are a girl group singing, is hysterical.

Future War (Episode 1004)
This 1997 film Future War, is incredibly bad, which made it a perfect candidate for MST3K. Robert Zdar (Soultaker) appears in his second MST3K lampooned film. The time-travel movie has rubber dinosaurs and bad martial arts-style action sequences. The MST3K jokes are the only thing that make this bad movie even watchable.

A History of Mystery Science Theater 3000
The series was originally created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains. After a year on KTMA TV in Minneapolis, it began airing nationally in 1989 on the Comedy Channel, which later to became Comedy Central, where it ran for seven seasons. The show’s final three seasons aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. The premise followed a hapless man, who is trapped by mad scientists on a satellite in space and forced to watch old B-movies. To keep sane, he’s built two robot sidekicks, and together they do a running commentary on the movies, affectionately mocking their flaws with inspired wisecracks and acting as a demented movie theater peanut gallery. Series creator Hodgson originally played the stranded man, Joel Robinson. When he left in 1993, series head writer Mike Nelson replaced him as the new B-movie victim. During its eleven years and 198 episodes, and a feature film, MST3K attained a loyal fan base and critical acclaim. The series won a Peabody Award in 1993, and was nominated for writing Emmys in 1994 and 1995.

  • Special features include a featurette that’s split over three of the DVDs. Through sit-down interviews with the cast and crew mixed in with footage from the show, it explores the genesis, life, afterlife and relevance of MST3K. It contains all new interviews with the entire MST3K team, including Joel Hodgson, Jim Mallon, Trace Beaulieu, Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy and J. Elvis Weinstein.
  • There’s also footage from the 20th Anniversary Reunion panel that took place at San Diego Comic Con in July 2008, with Patton Oswalt serving as emcee for the event.
  • The other bonus is Variations on a Theme Song, which puts every version of the show’s catchy theme song and opening sequence back to back.
  • The set also comes with the original trailer.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Edition Limited Edition
Mystery Science Theater 3000 20th Anniversary Edition Limited Edition
The Film Fetish Store has a special Limited Edition version of Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition in stock, with a specially packaged DVD set housed in a limited-edition tin box featuring 4 custom lobby cards and a figurine of Crow T. Robot (pictured). CLICK HERE to purchase this limited edition set.