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Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition (DVD)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition DVDReviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Joel Hodgson, Mike Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Jim Mallon

Directed by Kevin Murphy

Distributed by Shout! Factory


For ten seasons and one feature film, fans of this television phenomenon have ridden along on the satellite of love happily and without a care in the world. Why? Because this series more than any other captured what it was like to hang out with old — and genuinely funny — friends while watching bad movies. To celebrate two decades of fandom, the good folks over at Shout! Factory have assembled quite a package for us! The only problem? The questionable selection of episodes.

There are four slices of weirdness from the famed show here including the following films: Laserblast, First Spaceship on Venus, Werewolf, and Future War. Of the four, the only ones really worth watching over again are the laughably bad Laserblast (which was the last episode to air on Comedy Central before Sci-Fi picked the show up) and the not-so-old Future War, in which toy dinosaurs, a Jean-Claude Van Damme look alike, and Robert Z’Dar tango to the death! How the other two were picked for inclusion here as part of this set is totally beyond me, especially with so many hours and hours of stuff to choose from. This package should have been comprised of nothing short of the best of the best. Sadly, it is not.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition DVDYet, there is a bright side! For one thing, the packaging! Included in the metal tin are the four films, a Crow statuette, and other goodies that will surely bring a smile to your face. Better yet, unlike the other featureless DVD’s that Rhino Video puts out, we actually get a bit of supplemental goodness to sink our teeth into.

First up is a three-part documentary that is broken up over three of the set’s four DVD’s and offers fans a look at the series’ rich (and not so rich) history. Filled with current interviews and mucho insight, to say this doc is thorough is a bit of an understatement. In fact, this alone is a must-have for fans. In addition to that we’ll also find the forty-minute long reunion panel that took place at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con. Throw in a few trailers, and boom — instant chicken fried gold.

Mike, Joel, Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, Crow, and company have provided us with many laughs that continue on to this day. Now that Shout! Factory is doling out their stuff, maybe we can continue getting proper DVD releases of this incredible bit of TV history. We can only hope! Rock on!

Special Features

  • Three-part documentary covering the 20-year history of MST3K
  • 2008 San Diego Comic-Con Reunion Panel
  • Trailers

    Films Combined:
    “>“>“>“>

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:
    “>“>“>

    3 out of 5

    Discuss Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition in the Dread Central forums!

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    • masterhk2b

      As far as laserblast, future war, and werewolf not being available for download, that’s not true. i downloaded all of them long before this DVD was released.

    • RIOT

      My 3 fav MST3k eps are Pod People, Cave Dwellers and of course Manos Hands of Fate (shudder). Torgo is my daddy O. However how awesome that you get a Toy Crow. I want a Toy SERVO DAMNIT!!!

    • elric300

      No MANOS?

      No MANOS:THE HANDS OF FATE?!!

      Blasphemy.

    • Sam Hell

      “Earlier this year, Shout! Factory secured the worldwide home entertainment rights to a vast library of original MST3K episodes that have never-been-available on DVD or for digital download. This DVD box set is the first of a series of DVD box set from Shout! Factory, in association with Best Brains, Inc.”

      http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=68822

      So yeah, that’s pretty much all there is to it. Episodes that have never been released on DVD before.

    • Mr. Dark

      The single biggest criteria in choosing these releases is the rights. They can get incredibly complicated, even for crappy movies nobody has any interest in buying. In the case of the Amazing Colossal Man, they released it…then were forced to recall it after it turned out they’d purchased the wrong set of rights. That videotape still sells for a ton.

      Many of the fan favorites couldn’t even be replayed as repeats on the Sci-Fi Channel due to restrictive rights. Because of that, some episodes only aired once, twice at most, and will likely never see a video release…at least not until the rights owner loses interest or the rights change hands to someone more pliable.

      I believe mst3k.info may have details on which episodes are which, but I’m not sure. -Some- site used to have them, back when the shows were still in reruns on Sci-Fi (some two or three years after the show ended).

      Yes, I’m a massive MST3K nerd.

      Best Eps: Cave Dwellers, Jack Frost, Pod People, and the ultimate: HOBGOBLINS.

      (Runner-up: Eeegah.)

      Mr. Dark
      Part-Time Dread Central Gaming Guy
      Full-Time Freelance Smartass

    • Foywonder

      “How the other two were picked for inclusion here as part of this set is totally beyond me”

      Would this be a bad time to inform you that WEREWOLF is widely considered one of the funniest of the entire series?

    • NYC-Hearts

      What, no love for Werewolf, UC? But it has Joe Estevez! Sundry european accents in remote Arizona! The quaint B&B owned by the late period Castro impersonator! And, of course, cross-dressing Mike and the ‘bots channeling The Shangri-Las with the show-stopping “Where, Oh Werewolf.”

      • The Unknown Murderer

        My wife, best friend and I LOVE ‘Werewolf’ and quote lines often. It’s my favorite episode & I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen it.

        I live in Flagstaff, AZ and they sure as hell didn’t film the movie here.

        “If I could just fart!”

      • Uncle Creepy

        While all the things you named were amusing, this episode just didn’t do it for me.

        • Gus Bjork

          I felt the same. I don’t get the love for it, especially when compared to something like Lost Continent.

          “Give to Cesar what is Cesars.”

          • xfoley8

            Isn’t Werewolf the one with the music sing-along over the ending credits, riffing on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Tusk’, amongst many others? That was one of the single funniest things they ever did. Creepy, I love ya, but you’re off on this one.

    • Gus Bjork

      It’s a nice set and lil’ Crow sits with my Aurora models….but I totally agree with UC that the movies they selected for the set don’t represent the best they could do.

      • Chainsaw

        Pretty much the criteria they used for them was that they haven’t been released yet, from my understanding. But my feeling was, let’s release the 5 crucial movies…the first official movie (The Crawling Eye), The last Joel/The first Mike Episodes (Mitchell/ The Brain That Wouldn’t Die), the last CC episode/Last Forrester episode (Laserblast), and the last episode ever (Danger: Diabolik!)

        But hey, I ain’t complaining.

    • TheDreamMaster

      This is a great little set, especially when you consider all the stuff you get for the price. The old Rhino sets were really expensive and you didn’t get all this awesome stuff either.

      http://oh-the-horror.com/

    • Tristan Sinns

      I remember watching Laser Blast when I was like 12 and thinking it was fine high quality entertainment.

      I wonder if it’s out on blu-ray?

    Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.