tegan

Mystery Science Theater 3000: It Stinks! ūüĎĆ

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And serving those fear-of-change nerds is why I am always so cynical of these nerd-aimed reboots in the first place. Not that I can honestly promise that, if they did change the robots, I wouldn't have said "This is bullshit, the old characters (who I bonded with at the age of 12) were much better!" So I get it. But it probably would have been a better overall move.

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I'm enjoying the show but not loving it. It's easy in the moment to criticize an episode for not being amazing, but the show is full of that throughout the years and it's still great. I DO love the fact that my girlfriend enjoyed it enough that when we don't have enough time to watch a full episode I have carte blanche to throw on the old MST shorts.

 

My two criticisms are 1) I'm exhausted, they can't stop telling jokes long enough to enjoy any one of the jokes singularly and 2) I think the skits are mostly bad. I've never liked the invention exchange and it feels forced. The two I liked were the Reptilicus Rap, and the monster/disaster mashup. Gonna turn in my nerd card, I don't know what Wil Wheaton looks like now or what cameo he did. The Fudgey the Whale skit was good, but it's literally just a Patton Oswalt standup routine turned into a sight gag. I guess that doesn't matter to anyone that hasn't heard 15 year old Patton Oswalt standup! I really like Patton Oswalt in general, and he's absolutely playing TV's Son of TV's Frank rather than nerd comedian mashup. I don't have an issue with the voices except that they're similar enough and I'm not familiar enough that the tiny extra amount of brain power used to figure out who's talking while they're absolutely pelting jokes adds to the exhaustion.

 

Something I've been thinking about is how you write a joke that is a proper level of humor. Possibly even a purposefully not funny joke. If you're telling a joke every 3-4 seconds, not only do you have to write thousands of jokes per episode to get down to the couple hundred you actually use, you can't make every joke the funniest gag you've ever written both because no one has that in them and also it's probably actively bad for the watching experience.

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I'm a little over half way through the season and can more or less tell the voice actors apart, and I'm used to the joke speed now, but wish that they were all about a half second later - it feels like an editing mistake but I know it's not.

 

I hope they get another season because I bet they will iron a lot of things out if they do. The criticisms of the new show seem pretty consistent, and pretty consistently couched in "they did a great job and it feels more like MST3K than I expected it would, but" praise, so I am hopeful they'll be heard. 

 

This season son was recorded very differently to the old ones and I think that's where the different pacing in the movie riffing segments comes from. In the old show the three actors would sit down together in the theater seats in front of a huge blue screen and watch the whole movie (or each 30 minute chunk) and record their riffing and silhouette acting and puppetry in one go. The new show is recorded in piecemeal with the voice actors and Jonah Ray each recording their riffs separately like voice over, one line read at a time, then an editor put together an audio track, which they more or less pantomimed against for the silhouette segment. I think this was done due to actor availability but it shows. It's the #1 thing I hope they can account for better and fix if they do a second series for Netflix. 

 

Ive always been a sucker for the host segments and invention exchanges and all the cardboard and plywood and foam rock production design, and everyone involved seems to be in the right frame of mind about it all (the right balance of earnestness and hamminess and just-happy-to-be-doing-this) for me that I don't mind they're actors I already know. It might be because I watched enough MST3K in my youth that all of those actors are also totally known names to me at this point? It's probably that I just want to look at a purple-underlit set with some crappy drainage hose tubing involved so badly that I'll overlook anything. 

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47 minutes ago, Jake said:

This season son was recorded very differently to the old ones and I think that's where the different pacing in the movie riffing segments comes from. In the old show the three actors would sit down together in the theater seats in front of a huge blue screen and watch the whole movie (or each 30 minute chunk) and record their riffing and silhouette acting and puppetry in one go. The new show is recorded in piecemeal with the voice actors and Jonah Ray each recording their riffs separately like voice over, one line read at a time, then an editor put together an audio track, which they more or less pantomimed against for the silhouette segment. I think this was done due to actor availability but it shows. It's the #1 thing I hope they can account for better and fix if they do a second series for Netflix.

 

Oh gosh yeah that would fix my biggest criticisms almost instantly. I know the tv run of the show was intensely written and prepared, I don't want to suggest it's not, but the performative aspect of it made it very organic and off the cuff.

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I thought the first episode of the new season was fine but Cry Wilderness was the episode that really sold me on the new series. I think it's maybe because the movie is just so bizarre and that's when the show seems to work the best for me, where Reptillicus is just a crappy monster movie and I get why they chose that as an intro episode, but there was so much more they could do with Cry Wilderness.

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I watched a few more episodes of the new season. I'm still not super into the disjointed, one-line riffing, but at least I have gotten somewhat used to it. There are some nice observations I would have missed without the commentary, but overall I would still prefer a more organic feel even if it meant half the goofs.

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I worked with Joel for about two years before the show was picked up by Netflix, off and on, creating the concept art that was the foundation for this new run.

 

New fans have an easier time, I suspect. They don't have the expectations of familiarity. As a fan of the old MST3K, I tried to keep want for the familiar in mind while making the new, but not to the new's detriment. I didn't want to Star Wars prequel-ify the visual language of the show, but I didn't want to restrain it because of my nostalgia either.

 

Respect the old without being stuck in slavish devotion to it. I think that feeling permeated the entire production based on my conversations with Joel. Hopefully that came through. It was a tricky line at times.

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On 6/16/2017 at 11:29 AM, FRENDEN said:

I worked with Joel for about two years before the show was picked up by Netflix, off and on, creating the concept art that was the foundation for this new run.

 

New fans have an easier time, I suspect. They don't have the expectations of familiarity. As a fan of the old MST3K, I tried to keep want for the familiar in mind while making the new, but not to the new's detriment. I didn't want to Star Wars prequel-ify the visual language of the show, but I didn't want to restrain it because of my nostalgia either.

 

Respect the old without being stuck in slavish devotion to it. I think that feeling permeated the entire production based on my conversations with Joel. Hopefully that came through. It was a tricky line at times.

Whoa I missed this post backbin the summer. That rules! You did good work! The visual design of MST The Return was spot on. It felt a pinch more cohesive and directed than the original did, but not in a way that got in the way of the hand-built feeling of the construction. Have you shared any of your work now that the shows out there? 

 

Unrelated, this news made me really happy: 

 

https://mobile.twitter.com/BillCorbett/status/923577881950932994

 

When it was revealed by Bill a few years ago that none of the old cast/crew got residuals that was really dispiriting. I felt like I had to work a little bit harder to get psyched up and enjoy the show, to compensate for feeling bummed out that the old cast all felt screwed. So seeing that series of new posts indicating they're getting compensated, especially specifically seeing Joel called out by name, was both a comfort and relief. 

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