The Apple of Discord is taking a break while I come up with new and
interesting stuff. In the meantime, I STRONGLY recommend you check out my
Fantasy Parody Epic, Apple Valley and my brand new 5-day a week humorous
expose of the dark underbelly of the Webcomic world, Webcomic Hell.

Old-time MSTie Goodness… sorta

I love Mystery Science Theatre 3000, and miss it dearly.  Even with the revival of the art form through Riff Trax and Cinematic Titanic, there’s still something about the good old Shadowrama theatre seats, the Mads, the Satellite of Love, and the Bots that strikes a chord deep in my heart and makes me feel warm and fluffy inside.  I still honor the old traditions, like the Turkey Day marathon (now run off of VHS) and bot building.

I’m also a big fan of the fan MSTings, and have a large collection.  It started with hard-to-obtain-at-the-time copy of a Alaskan fan-made riffing of Star Trek V and has grown into an impressive collection of the best (and worst) of other people’s riffing attempts.  From homages that honor the original concept like Mystery Spatula Theatre 11 to new creations cut from whole cloth that do a damn good job at capturing the spirit like Incognito Cinema Warriors.  But out of all of those, I’ve rarely seen anything as good as Mystery Fandom Theatre.

MFT3K did three fantastically done Riffings back during 2000-2003, which are now available online for the first time ever (see below).  They do a spot-on recreation of Mike-era MST3K, complete with a full and working SoL set and a reasonable excuse for why they don’t have a Deep13 set (The Mads may have taxed the nuclear reactor a wee bit too much, and have had to retreat to the basement Deep 13 B until the radiation levels drop.  The episodes are complete with well-produced host segments, good-quality Shadowrama theatre sequences, and as much of the look and feel of the original series as they could manage without… you know… kidnapping the original cast.

The group stalled out a few years ago, but is in the process of rebuilding a full cast and crew and plans to get back into action soon.  I have offered my years of experience being snarky at movies and knowing too much about pop culture in the capacity of a riff writer – we’ll see how far that goes.  I’d love to be on camera too, but since they’re West Coast and I’m decidedly East Coast, chances are it’s not going to work out.  In the meantime, however, while waiting for new episodes to emerge, I recommend you check out the back catalog.  The existing MFT3K episodes are:

MFT3K_Ep_F01 - Little Red Riding Hood – A creepy Mexico-tastic retelling of classic Little Red Riding Hood, with cinema quality and general uncomfort that puts Season 8′s Jack Frost to shame.  Aside from a little awkward premise-juggling in the beginning of the episode (explaining the lack of Deep 13), host segments are well-done and generally well-acted.  Sound is a little rough on this one, you can hear the bots clacking when they talk, but for a first attempt it’s far above and beyond a lot of other more polished productions.

MFT3K_Ep_F02 – Invasion of the Animal People – This may be the best fan MSTing I’ve ever seen.  The host segments are tight and well-written, especially the big break half-way through.  It comes with two shorts, one of which is sort of the “ultimate” short, the classic Duck and Cover safety film, courtesy of the US Civil Defense Department.  The movie is a mind-numbingly stock-footagey bad sexist romp through the snow covered hills of… somewhere.  The riffs are clean and plentiful – in one short span, I heard callbacks to classic MST3K, Doctor Who, They Might Be Giants, Monty Python, and Weird Al.

MFT3K_Ep_F03 – Starcrash – Honestly, I haven’t actually watched this one yet – I’m saving it for later.  Maybe I’ll stealthily insert it into this year’s Turkey Day marathon as a treat.

The only criticism I would offer is that there is occasionally a slightly lower sound quality (the bots occasionally clack and clank as they move and talk, especially in the first episode) and a mild continuity issue with the premise (this is supposedly in the Mike era, but their “Mike” still does invention exchanges and generally looks/acts/reacts much more like Joel would’ve).  However, if you consider that these were all done in the early 2000s without the advent of modern digital editing, none of these issues are significant to ruin the episode’s otherwise overwhelming awesomeness.  I strongly recommend you check these out, as they are easily on par with Best Brains’ official MST3K episodes.

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