Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday 2016

Luke 24: 1-9
  1. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
  2. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
  3. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
  4. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
  5. And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
  6. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
  7. Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
  8. And they remembered his words,
  9. And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The complete Mystery Science Theater 3000 video collection

A while back, I went through all the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes. I don't remember why. Probably a good reason. Actually, probably not a good reason, but I did it anyway, because, well, I do things like that.

Anyway, in order to watch them all, I had to get access to them. I had a friend who had many of the episodes on DVD, and he let me borrow those. Plus Hulu, Netflix, and other places had some online. Then there were pirate versions posted on the Internets. I was kinda uncomfortable with those. Anyway, it turned out that the only way to get some episodes was to buy them. I don't remember what happened next, but I ended up buying them all. All of them. Every one of them.

No, you don't understand yet. Probably. But, if you stick around, you're about to.

MST3K released episodes on VHS tape. Their company, Best Brains, sold them to MST3K Fan Club members. Later, they contracted with Rhino to distribute VHS tapes. Then Rhino started releasing DVDs. And, of course, Best Brains even released a few DVDs, but not many.

Then, Shout Factory took over from Rhino, and continued releasing DVDs. And that's the video release story at the high level.

Digging down into the weeds, though, we find there is more than one type of MST3K content. There's the riffing on the movies, of course, which is the bread and butter. Because some movies they riffed were shorter than typical films today, they would sometimes pad the episodes by having JOIKE and the Bots (some of you will get that reference) watch a short film, along the line of The Home Economics Story, or some other such "educational" video. And then there are the "host segments" that fill out the shows, and give the comedians the chance to do more than insult moving pictures. All the episodes had host segments and movies, and many had shorts.

They discovered early on that some movies they riffed were going to be difficult to release commercially due to the rights owners either wanting too much money, or refusing to allow them to release a version where the film is insulted for two straight hours. Egos. Go figure.

They solved this by releasing tapes (and later, DVDs) that contains shorts only, or host segments only. And, of course, blooper reels (called "Poopie!").

They'd release three single episodes on VHS at a time, along with three-packs containing those three tapes. Oh, and we can't forget the issues with losing rights to episodes after they released the VHS or DVD. It all adds up to a huge confusing mess.

The other thing? If you didn't get them when they came out (which was most of the tapes and DVDs, in my case) you have to find them from third-party sellers on Amazon or eBay or some other such place. And, some of the releases run into the hundreds of dollars. I am not making this up. If you're patient, and if you're lucky, you can find lower prices on some, but the fact is, to obtain a complete catalog, you're going to spend some money. So much that you'd be embarrassed to tell just how much.

By the time I realized all this, I was too far gone. It had sucked me in and I was a lost cause. I now had an impossible task before me: get them all. All of them.

Well, recently, I completed my quest. I don't know how much I spent. Oh, I could find out, but I wouldn't like it. So, I'll remain willfully ignorant. But it is a lot of money. I'm not sure which I spent more money on: the video collection, or the house I keep it in. Anyway, I do have them all. And, I have the pictures to prove it. And, if you keep reading -- there's still a lot more to go -- you'll understand just how impossible this task was. You'd be proud of me ... if I put this much effort into something actually worthwhile.

Here is a complete MST3K collection on VHS and DVD.

Now, for the details. This will take a bit.