Something funny must have gotten into the water up there in Minneapolis, because all of a sudden, the more-or-less dormant brilliance that was Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K to its friends) has made a reappearance…or rather, as if it had ventured into one of those scifi matter-duplicating machines, has made three reappearances.
Let’s see if I can get this straight:
1. Original MST3K’ers Joel Hodgson, Josh Weinstein (now calling himself “J. Elvis Weinstein,” which you’ve got to admit is a much better name), and Trace Beaulieu, along with slightly later crew Frank Conniff and Mary Jo Pehl, have a new bad-movie-mocking enterprise called Cinematic Titanic.
2. Another batch of MST3K crew – Kevin Murphy, Mike Nelson, and Bill Corbett (who did Crow’s voice after the departure of Trace Beaulieu) – have four DVDs full of their own movie-mockery under the name of The Film Crew.
3. Finally, not to be left out, Jim Mallon (producer and voice of Gypsy), Paul Chaplin (writer and “Brain Guy”), and a guy whose name I don’t recognize, James Moore, have teamed up with animator Maxeem Konrardy to produce a series of animated short online films featuring Tom Servo (now voiced by Moore), Crow T. Robot (now voiced by Chaplin), and Mallon. They apparently have rights to the MST3K name, since that’s their URL.
I have no idea whether these three groups are all throwing darts at one another, or whether it just happened that they got their own ventures going separately and are perfectly happy to hang out downing beers and scarfing cheese together – but hopefully more is better. The first animation from MST3K.com looked pretty good but didn’t strike me as all that funny. I haven’t seen any of the Film Crew’s stuff yet – although one of their DVDs is sitting a few feet from me, probably to be watched this evening. I must admit I’m looking forward to the Cinematic Titanic thing the most – if only because I haven’t heard anything about Joel or Frank for years, and in some ways their characters (and characterizations) were the most idiosyncratic of all the MST3K folks.