12 February 2007

MST3K (season six closing thoughts)

Goodbye, season six.

I have to be honest: this project started to really wear on me during this season. Part of the problem was that I fell behind schedule during the holidays. For most of this season, I've been struggling to catch up. I felt obligated to watch an episode every single day in order to do so, which is not something I'd recommend and not something I was able to stick to all of the time. I'm still 4 episodes behind. Watching episodes began to feel like a job after I got home from my real job; something to suck 2-2.5 hours of my free time everyday. Add in the constant issue of failing DVD-Rs, and I wasn't going into many of these episode in the best of moods.

I think the other part of the problem is that show has started to falter at this point. Things are starting to feel stale. The riffing seems to be filled with variants of jokes we've already heard multiple times. The host segments are often lacking that spark of zany creativity often seen in the Joel era (the Poopie! video reminded me of this). The first 2/3rds of the season were pretty good, but these problems became apparent to me during the last 8 or so episodes. I wonder if Frank felt the same way and that's a reason he felt a need to take off? It seems likely Comedy Central felt this way, given their semi-insulting quarter-season episode order for the following year.

Despite all of this, the BBI crew seemed to be putting even more work into the show than ever before. The end of season 6 marked the beginning of an explosion of non-episode MST3K content. They published an episode guide -- a real, live MST3K book -- covering the first six years of the show. They created their first stand-alone TV special, poking fun at the Oscars. The Info Club released it's first non-episode video tapes. They began working on a movie -- a real, live theatrical film -- with Gramercy Pictures. They also began working on a CD-ROM for PCs, which was to include never-before-seen riffing on two never-before-seen shorts. Earlier in the year, they held their first fan convention, the ConventioCon ExpoFest-A-Rama, and even performed a live show there. The guys from BBI were quite busy during 1994 and 1995. Did this impact the amount of energy they could focus on the actual episodes? I don't know. That might be the most logical explanation for the dip in quality I detected.

I've never seen any of the season 7 episodes, so those should be a treat. It looks like they have some interesting movie picks. Melting Man looks right up my alley. I'm not terribly excited to see Dr. F interact with his mother. From the glimpses I've seen of those host segments, their relationship appears to be a tired TV cliché. But, before that: The Movie. As soon as the delivery guys drop off my new toy and I get it hooked up and running, I'll be ready to take on the MST3K cinema experience.

The Numbers

Total Length
39 hours, 32 minutes, 44 seconds
(92 min average for 24 episodes)
(41 min average for 4 specials)

Years Spanned
(1962 average)

Shorts Years Spanned
(1954 average)

Time to Watch
51 days
Time to Broadcast Originally
253 days

Turkey Day Episodes
5 (21%)
601, 604, 615 (24 Nov 1994)
609, 612 (23 Nov 1995)
Total Coleman Francis Movies
609, 619, 621 (13%)
Total Bodybuilders Beating the Crap Out of People Movies
604, 605, 615, 616, 617, 624 (25%)
Total Episodes with Mike's Goatee
611 (4%)
Total Episodes with Frank's Goatee
620 (4%)
Black and White to Color Ratio