Release Date(s)Various (December 6, 2011)
- 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 Volume XXII 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: Time of the Apes (Season 3, Episode 6), Mighty Jack (Season 3, Episode 14), The Violent Years (Season 6, Episode 10), and The Brute Man (Season 7, Episode 2).
The episodes in these boxed sets usually feature two hosted by Joel and two hosted by Mike, which is a good balance. The quality of each episode varies, with some episodes being better than others. In Time of the Apes, producer Sandy Frank unleashes his own questionable version of Planet of the Apes. In Mighty Jack, he strikes again with a James Bond-type export of a Japanese TV show. Things change up with The Violent Years, which is yet another ’50s ’teens gone bad’ movie, but this time under the pen of Mr. Ed Wood. Winding things down is the Z grade craptastic thriller The Brute Man.
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 Time of the Apes, there’s an introduction by August Ragone and a set of MST Hour Wraps. For Mighty Jack, there’s another introduction by August Ragone and the featurette The DVD Menus of MST3K. For The Violent Years, there are two archival interviews with Dolores Fuller and Kathy Wood. For The Brute Man, there’s an introduction by Mary Jo Pehl, the Trail of the Creeper: Making The Brute Man documentary, and a vintage behind the scenes documentary The Making Of MST3K from 1997. 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.
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