Friday, February 24, 2012

MST3K: Episode 310 - Fugitive Alien

I'm watching all the episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in order. More about this here. It began here.

Episode 310: Fugitive Alien

First aired: Comedy Central on 17 August 1991

Fugitive Alien
This episode has never been released. Though it's a Sandy Frank film -- and other episodes featuring Sandy Frank films have been released -- this one hasn't make it to video. Eleven were riffed on KTMA, with nine of those redone on Comedy Central. This is one of two Sandy Frank-based episodes on Comedy Central to never have been released.

This one aired during the KTMA season. When we covered Episode K12: Fugitive Alien, we mentioned that Trace Beaulieu wasn't available for the episode -- Dr. Forrester's absence was explained when Dr. Erhardt called him at the Mad Scientist Convention in Las Vegas, while Crow's absence was explained by Servo and Gypsy having taken Crow apart. Trace is on hand for this one.

Hot Japanese she-villain/not-villain
Which highlights a point of confusion for me. In The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, Paul Chaplin wrote that Trace, Kevin, and Joel thought the Fugitive Alien episodes they did for KTMA were a lot of fun. But Trace wasn't present for this one. Maybe he enjoyed the other one, but I don't have a copy of that. Apparently, no one does. Well, maybe Jim Mallon does.

It would be unfair to call this film a rip-off of Star Wars. It's actually based on Edmond Hamilton's Starwolf novels, which were written well before Star Wars. Without the popularity of Star Wars, though, the Japanese TV series -- from which episodes were culled to create this "movie" -- may never have been made.

"Don't smoke"
Naturally, they did the Yul Brynner "Don't smoke" reference with the big blue bald guy on the screen. Joel & the Bots also riff a lot on everybody being named "Ken." It seemed as if the only one not named "Ken" was the Barbie Doll who was Ken's girlfriend. She played the Hot Japanese She-Villain, who was named Rita. Only she wasn't really a she-villain, although she was supposed to kill the hero. She dies at the end, which is either a good thing or a bad thing.

We meet Jack Perkins for the first time -- at least, Michael J. Nelson's version of A&E's Jack Perkins. Since I hadn't seen this episode before -- somehow I missed it over all the years -- I had missed the Perkins character introduction. I didn't see a lot of Mike Nelson's Jack Perkins, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of him.

Jack Perkins visits Deep 13
This episode is the first time I recall the Mads sending Commercial Sign to the Satellite of Love. I never thought about that before. This means that somebody in Deep 13 has to monitor the movies and send Commercial Sign when it's the right time. No wonder Dr. Forrester needs an assistant.

One of the Host Segments from Season Two's Episode 208: Lost Continent featured J&tB seeing a "cool thing" outside the SoL. It was poking fun at a scene in Lost Continent where the characters looked in awe at something for a long long time without the audience seeing it. J&tB asked viewers to send in suggestions on what the "cool thing" was.

Mexican Stoplight Candy! Cool!
Nine months later, they get back to answering it.

A viewer sent in some long-winded hippie Kum Ba Yah explanation that Joel read. The viewer was wrong. It was Mexican Stoplight Candy.

I did mention that this was one of the nine episodes that featured movies that were done during the KTMA season. We'll cover Fugitive Alien 2 later. We never got to see it, because it's one of the three "missing" episodes from Season Zero.

I'm looking forward to watching it. As much as one can look forward to watching a movie made up from episodes of a Japanese TV show edited together and translated and distributed by Sandy Frank.

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