Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition
Release Date(s)Various (November 18, 2008)
- Film/Program Grade: B+
- Video Grade: B-
- Audio Grade: B-
- Extras Grade: B+
- Overall Grade: B+
WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!
Here we are again with Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Shout! Factory’s 20th Anniversary Edition DVD set. These boxed sets are released tri-annually with some nice extras and better quality episodes than what you might find floating around online or on bootlegs. The price is kind of steep, but if you’re a fan of the show, you know that these sets are definitely worth picking up.
I’ve gone into a good amount of detail about MST3K and my love for it in my review of the movie, so I won’t bother getting into that. We’ll keep things short and sweet and just cover the set itself. With this release, you get the following four episodes: First Spaceship on Venus (Season 2, Episode 11), Laserblast (Season 7, Episode 6), Werewolf (Season 9, Episode 4), and Future War (Season 10, Episode 4).
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, which is a good balance, but in this case, there’s only a single Joel episode. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. First Spaceship on Venus is a memorable episode of the show, while not containing one of the show’s most memorable movies. It has a lot of the things that this show requires, of course, but ultimately feels like an early episode of a show that hasn’t found its stride yet. Laserblast, on the other hand, is a very solid and hilarious episode. The same goes for Werewolf, which is a fan-favorite episode. Future War is decent, with some funny moments, but for me isn’t in my top tier.
As far as image and sound quality, everything is sourced from the original master tapes, which were on video. The episodes look generally good, especially in the latter years of the show, with an occasional minor green band or video-source anomaly here or there. Unfortunately, there are no subtitles. Short of Shout! Factory putting some extra money into producing these sets in high definition, these are definitely a major step up from circulating bootlegs of the show.
As for the extras, you get a few from disc to disc, most of them newly-produced just for this set. For First Spaceship on Venus, there’s the first part of the terrific documentary The History of MST3K, as well as the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Laserblast, there’s the second part of the documentary and the movie’s theatrical trailer. With Werewolf, the extras are the same: the third part of the documentary and the movie’s theatrical trailer. For Future War, there’s footage from MST3K at Comic-Con ’08, the movie’s trailer, and Variations on a Theme Song, which basically features all of the different versions of the show’s openings, including from the KTMA years (which as of this writing, are still sadly locked away). Also included (as is standard with all of the MST3K boxed sets) are 4 paper insert reproductions of the artwork from each DVD in the set. It’s also housed in a metal tin with a neat Crow figurine if you were able to nab it during its initial release.
All in all, this is another solid boxed set release of MST3K goodness from the fine folks at Shout! Factory. If you’re a fan, you’ll definitely want to pick it up. Now push the button, Frank.
- Tim Salmons