Friday, August 24, 2012

MST3K: Season 8 Wrap-up

Season Eight introduced us to Krankor in Prince of Space.
I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Season Eight was a blast!

Having seen so many of the episodes of Season Eight so many times, I had a hard time trying to imagine what it was like for fans of the show going into the season.

I mean, yeah, I had certainly seen the show before. But, keep in mind, that the Sci-Fi years consisted of three seasons totaling 48 episodes. These episodes were run and rerun over seven years. So, the show actually aired nationally for 14 seasons, with the 48 Sci-Fi episodes making up half. Compare that to the 128 Comedy Channel/Comedy Central episodes that make up the first half.

Overdrawn at the Memory Bank? Or Eating Raul?
What those numbers mean is that each of the Sci-Fi episodes had a pretty good chance of being seen by a lot of people. More so than the Comedy Channel/Comedy Central ones.

Anyway, after the great build-up over the first couple of years, MST3K took off in Season Three, kept the momentum through Season Four, then hit fans with the loss of Joel in the middle of Season Five.

Though Mike stepped in as smooth as, or smoother than, anyone ever had or could replace the creator/star of the show, that had to concern fans if it could be kept up. Season Six went great, but Season Seven was only six episodes long, the movie was not a hit, and the show was canceled.

There were a couple of good things about this Roger Corman flick.
The return of MST3K via the Sci-Fi Channel had to have folks worried. I don't think I even thought about it.

There was no reason to worry, though. Even though another one of the founding cast had left -- taking the character of Dr. Clayton Deborah Susan Forrester away and putting the future of Crow T. Robot in doubt -- the show went on, and went well.

Bill Corbett stepped into the role of Crow. Sure, there's some difference between Bill's Crow and Trace's Crow, but there's a lot of Crow T. Robot in each.

The Deadly Mantis waves hello.
With that backdrop, Season Eight was an unqualified success.

The Sci-Fi Channel brought a slew of sci-fi classics to the catalog, beginning with Episode 801: Revenge of the Creature.

We got to see some other great episodes like Episode 810: The Giant Spider Invasion, Episode 816: Prince of Space, Episode 819: Invasion of the Neptune Men, Episode 821: Time Chasers, and Episode 822: Overdrawn at the Memory Bank. It's no coincidence that most of those I mentioned are at the end of the season. Season Eight started good, and stayed good as the weeks went on, ending on as high a note as ever.

Mixed up zombie? Or just an incredibly strange creature?
One side effect of the Sci-Fi Channel catalog: Not as many episodes have been released on video. At lease, not as high a percentage.

Of the 128 Comedy Channel/Comedy Central episodes, 80 have been released at one time or another. That's nearly 65%. But, of the 48 Sci-Fi episodes, only 24, or 50%, have been released on video.

The catalog isn't as easy to release for one reason or another. Don't know if it's the rights-holder thinking they're sitting on a gold mine that will start producing one day, or if they want to respect the integrity of the product.

Something fishy is going on.
Of the 24 Sci-Fi episodes that haven't been released, Season Eight accounted for 13 of them. That's more than any other season, and more than Season Nine and Season Ten combined.

Despite not having official video releases, it's possible to obtain fan copies. I did.

I'm glad I did, too. Now, I have fan copies of some episodes that have been released on video. But, I also have the DVD. And the VHS. And the iTunes version. And, maybe even the Amazon Instant Video version. Or, at least, I have those various versions if they made those various versions.

I can't wait for the rest of Season Eight to be released. I'm always hopeful that they will be released. I'll be first in line to get them.

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