07 November 2006

MST3K (season four closing thoughts)

Goodbye, season four.

I know I say this every year, but season four is the best year the show has had so far. What stood out this time around was the consistency. There were very few episodes that I didn't care for. The vast majority of them were what I think of as MST-standard: well-written riffing surrounding a bad-but-fun movie peppered with creative host segments. Standout episodes for me were Being from Another Planet, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Hercules Against the Moon Men, The Beatniks and Manos: The Hands of Fate. Manos, unsurprisingly, is my pick for best of the season.

Season four was not without its trip-ups. It took seventeen episodes before BBI finally figured out that serials and soaps were not a substitute for a good short. Sometimes -- and this is a complaint only someone watching these things in order can have -- the repeated riffs the guys get hooked on get a little annoying. I was about to tear out clumps of hair every time they used the "Jim Henson's --- Babies" joke. A problem that will never go away is the occasional poor movie choice. I'm still scarred from Monster A-Go Go.

The Mystery Science Machine seems to be operating so well right now, I'm actually a little nervous about the fact that the show is due to be scrambled next season. I'm very curious to see if I can detect any of Joel's discontent in the next twelve episodes. Does he look like he doesn't want to be there? When he shares a scene with Gypsy, is he less animated working with his nemesis Jim Mallon? Gunslinger is the last episode that Joel directs. Will he keep certain takes in the final product that reveal all is not well? And, after he leaves, how long is it going to take to get up to the level of quality seen in season 4? Is the last half of season 5 a lost cause? I'll soon know the answer to all of these questions and more as "A Year on the Satellite of Love" continues.

The Numbers

Total Length
37 hours, 24 minutes, 10 seconds
(92 min average for 24 episodes)
(18 min average for 2 specials)

Years Spanned
(1962 average)

Shorts Years Spanned
(1949 average)

Time to Watch
45 days
Time to Broadcast Originally
239 days

Turkey Day Episodes
16 (67%)
401, 402, 403, 404, 408, 411, 415, 416, TIM (26 Nov 1992)
412, 417, 420, 422, 423, 424 (25 Nov 1993)
402, 407, 422 (24 Nov 1994)
424 (23 Nov 1995)
MST Hour Episodes
13 (54%)
401, 402, 404, 408, 410, 411, 414, 415, 417, 418, 420, 422, 424
Fantasies of Days Long Past
408, 410, 411, 412, 422 (21%)
Total Episodes with Joel's Goatee
410 (4%)
Black and White to Color Ratio