Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MST3K: Season 5 wrapup

Did Joel's discomfort with behind-the-scenes dealings cause him to suffer distress, including such symptoms as a Daktari Stool?
I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

I've completed Season Five, and will hit Season Six soon. But first, let's look back at Season Five of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

This was the year where Joel Hodgson (playing Joel Robinson) left the show and Mike Nelson (playing Mike Nelson) took over as host.

The season was split evenly, with Joel hosting the first 12 episodes, and Mike hosting the last 12. The transition was smooth. Behind the scenes, there was lots of tension and in-fighting between Joel Hodgson and Jim Mallon over the direction of the franchise. Joel decided to leave the project he created rather than let it be torn apart from within.

Into this mess stepped Mike. He had been with the show since it went national, and the transition to his role as subject of Dr. Forrester's experiment was a smooth one.
In Episode 505: The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, Joel gets to see the pyramids.In Episode 518: The Atomic Brain, Mike gets to see the pyramids.
As I mentioned before, I was much more familiar with Mike's tenure than Joel's prior to this project, but quickly became a huge fan of the Joel Robinson character. So much so, that when Mike took over, I still missed Joel. But don't get me wrong, I like Mike. A lot.

From Episode 517: Beginning of the End, Mary Jo gets a wrong number.
One of the biggest differences for me, though, isn't the different styles of Joel and Mike. It's their ages. True, Joel is not quite five years older than Mike, but those five years made enough of a difference in some of the things they reference. Joel mentions more things from my childhood than does Mike. Those few years make a big difference. Mike rarely mentions anything from the 1960s. Joel, on the other hand, was at home there, as was I.

Mary Jo Pehl begins to take on more roles. She's Jan in the Pan from Episode 513: The Brain That Wouldn't Die, Mike's first experiment. She also appears as a trailer park queen who calls Mike on the phone in Episode 517: Beginning of the End. It's a wrong number.

Bridgett Jones plays Nuveena in Episode 524: 12 to the Moon. We'll see her again.

From Episode 508: Operation Double 007: "It's a herd of Miss Kittys!"
We also saw the demise of the Invention Exchange. Well, that's not true. We really didn't see it. And that's what did it in.

Joel was the gadget guy. Mike wasn't. They kept it up for a bit, but after a few episodes, it deteriorated into a one-sided thing, with only one or the other actually doing an invention. The last actual invention was Dr. Forrester's Mace Mousse from Episode 522: Teen-Age Crime Wave. Yes, Mike had a rocket pack, but it was for an actual escape attempt. He used the Invention Exchange as a cover when it went horribly wrong.

Some of the inventions over the years were funny. Some weren't. I suppose I'll miss them. I didn't really remember them from before, since when the show aired, I didn't see many of the Joel episodes. But, having seen them now, I'll miss them a little.

Season Five started strong, lulled slightly (from excellent to very good), then got the shock of the change from Joel to Mike, settled back down to very good again, then finished excellent.

Season Six will be starting soon. Here, at least. And we'll get to it soon. It'll be Mike's first full season as the experiment subject. And, it'll have more shows that I'd previously seen than other seasons.

I'm looking forward to it.

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