Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MST3K Goes Retro This Summer...But Not Everywhere

OK, so what is Retro TV?
It's like Antenna TV or MeTV, digital subcarrier channels also found on cable TV that air old movies and reruns of classic TV shows. You know, what your local independent TV stations used to air before relying on infomercials, court shows and talk shows that shouldn't exist.
These channels are the homes of former TV rerun staples like Bewitched, All in the Family, MASH, Gilligan's Island, I Love Lucy and Perry Mason. 

So what is the Satellite of Love doing there?
Satellite News broke the story that Retro TV will air 26 episodes from the series, and it includes a few from the Comedy Channel and Sci-Fi Channel days. Many fans were stunned that this had happened at all. Many of us would give out eye teeth, and our eyes, to see the Satellite of Love fly again, and not have to rely on Hulu or Amazon TV.

The show will start on Retro TV in July, and here's what's coming:

103- The Mad Monster
105- The Corpse Vanishes

This means two episodes from the J. Elvis Weinstein years

211- First Spaceship On Venus

Only one from season two? It was just biker movies, cheap dinosaur movies, and "The Phantom Creeps", but they should have been included. Also, early TV's Frank!

320- The Unearthly
323- The Castle of Fu Manchu
402- The Giant Gila Monster
409- The Indestructible Man
412- Hercules And The Captive Women
419- The Rebel Set
424- Manos: The Hands of Fate

The fact that Manos is included (but not Bride of the Monster, which means we won't see part one of "Hired") makes this first batch very attractive. 

507- I Accuse My Parents
511- Gunslinger
517- Beginning of the End
518- The Atomic Brain

Yep, it won't include the big change from Joel to Mike. We'll just have to rely on the new opening to explain why Joel's gone. 

610- The Violent Years
616- Racket Girls
619- Red Zone Cuba
701- Night Of The Blood Beast

Decent episodes from season six, and we get the non-Turkey Day version of how Pearl Forrester moves in with Dr. Forrester. 

812- The Incredibly Strange Creatures…
820- Space Mutiny
821- Time Chasers
822- Overdrawn at the Memory Bank
908- The Touch of Satan
1002- Girl in Gold Boots
1003- Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders
1009- Hamlet

A good sample of Sci-Fi shows, especially with "Incredibly Strange Creatures", "Space Mutiny" and "Time Chasers", but there's a shortage of season nine stuff. Why not include "Pumaman" and "Final Sacrifice"? 

The mix of shows is still good, 12 with Joel and 14 with Mike. It's interesting that Retro preferred to get the full shows, rather than the "MST Hour" versions from Comedy Central from the mid 90s. Actually, that version had really good shows from the Joel era. 

So what will this mean for MSTies?
First off, they'll actually have to look for Retro TV. Here's where you can check to see if it's broadcast in your area. Long-time fans will get a chance to see shows they haven't seen in a while, or show their children and grandchildren (hey, why not?) what they used to watch at midnight some weekend.
However, some of those kids may point out they can see the shows on YouTube, Hulu or Amazon Video on their computers. So why see it on a really obscure cable channel?

Simple. The only way to really appreciate the genius of Cable TV's Greatest Contribution To Mankind Before The Sopranos is to see it on a cathode ray TV, on a Saturday night, eating junk food, and even updating the riffs Tom Servo, Crow and Joel/Mike are lobbying at the lame movie. Sure, you can cheat and get the shows on Hulu or Amazon Video beamed into the 50-inch flat screen, but it's best to enjoy the MST experience just like our elders did 20 years ago.
Still, if all you have is a flat screen, fine. Just watch it on Retro TV if your cable outlet has it.

This has been some week for MSTies. Next Tuesday, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett will sit and mock National Geographic shows. It's the first time since appearing on ESPN's Cheap Seats, starring a couple of guys who riff on televised sports. Wonder where they picked up that habit?

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