Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition
Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K for short) has become a fixture in pop culture history, at least for nerds, geeks and other people who generally don’t go outside. It seems odd that a 90-minute TV show comprised entirely of a man and two puppets cracking jokes throughout bad movies would be successful, let alone run for ten seasons. But MST3K’s innate appeal and talented writers made the show work, even spawning a theatrically released film based on the show in 1996. Now 20 years after the show began, we get the inescapable "anniversary” DVD edition. The new set contains four episodes: "First Spaceship on Venus,” "Laserblast,” "Werewolf” and "Future War.” The best one here is "Werewolf,” a mid-’90s horror movie featuring Martin Sheen’s brother Joe Estevez. "Werewolf” showcases what MST3K does best, taking an absolutely atrocious film (it received a 2.6 out of ten from imdb.com) and turning it into a genuinely hilarious experience. The other episodes are good but not as good as the classic episodes of the series, such as "Mitchell” and "Manos: Hands of Fate,” which have been already released on both VHS and DVD. It seems as though the only reason these four episodes were chosen was their lack of a prior release, which is good for devoted fans of the show but confusing for the casual viewer who might think that a 20th Anniversary Edition contains the best episodes. That being said, the new DVD set does justify itself with its special features. A three-part "History of MST3K” chronicles the origins and making of the show. There’s also a cast/writer reunion panel from 2008’s ComicCon that’s equally enlightening, moderated by the delightful Patton Oswalt. If all that’s not enough, the set contains a figurine of Crow T. Robot, although I’m sure fans of the show aren’t interested in toys, right? (Shout! Factory)