Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MST3K: Episode 614 - San Francisco International

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 614: San Francisco International

First aired: Comedy Central on 19 November 1994
Availability: MST3KVideos.com

A bad pilot, in more ways than one.
Once upon a time, there was an idea to create a TV show about an airport and the people there. The idea included Pernell Roberts returning to TV in a starring role for the first time since he left Bonanza a dozen years earlier.

How did the idea work out? Not too good.

The TV show was picked up for series by NBC, but Pernell Roberts was replaced by Lloyd Bridges in the process. So, not great for Adam Cartwright. And, not all that great for the show itself. Yeah, it made it to series, but only sort of.

Remember when NBC used to take shows that weren't strong enough to stand on their own week after week and group them together? Like the NBC Mystery Movie? Or The Bold Ones?

Tab Hunter is the villain.
Sure, you remember. Like on The Bold Ones, we'd see the doctors one week, then the police, then the lawyers, and so on. Or NBC Mystery Movie where McCloud, McMillan & Wife, and Columbo took turns solving crimes?

Well, San Francisco International Airport (as the series was finally named) took turns with three other shows. McCloud was one of them. Night Gallery was another. The other one was about a psychiatrist. It was called The Psychiatrist. It's okay if you don't remember that one.

Or this one, actually, because it wasn't a good show. The best thing to come out of it was that there was an easy tie-in with Lloyd Bridges and an airport when Airport! was made a few years later, but nothing beyond that.

Stealing airplanes solves everything!
This TV movie should have been a harbinger of things to come. Some people just don't pay attention.

The movie was a mess.

Our Hero fakes an emergency on an airplane just to get a Congressman's attention, while Tab Hunter and his Merry Crew of Misfits kidnap a pilot's wife so they can steal money from a plane, while some snot-nosed teenager gets all upset because mommy and daddy are splitting up so he steals a plane, and, oh, I don't know, but something else was going on, but it was hard to follow, but anyway the crooks get captured by Clu Gulager disguised in sunglasses and Our Hero talks the kid down, and Lloyd Bridges lives happily ever after. The end.

Mike & the Bots have some fun with this one. And, they had some fun in the Host Segments, too. Lots of extra characters make appearances for the Host Segments.
Everybody thought Mike's Urkel was funny...... until Torgo showed up and said it wasn't.
We do get treated to quick visits from Jan in the Pan (Mary Jo Pehl), Huggy Bear and Pitch (both Paul Chaplin), Nuveena (Bridget Jones), Rooster (Patrick Brantseg), and Santa Claus (Kevin Murphy) all whom enjoy Mike's Steve Urkel impression. Well, then Torgo (also Mike) shows up and ruins it.

Really bad TV movie, sort of lame but sort of inspired Host Segments, and really fun riffing.

What's not to like?

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