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August 22, 2014

'Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XVII' - DVD Review

by Danny Gallagher, posted Apr 1st 2010 1:03PM
The cover for Shout Factory's! MST3K XVIIOne of TV's greatest saving graces came for a show that has racked up more grace saves than, well, 'Saving Grace'.

Rhino released the first set of tapes and DVDs for 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' just as they entered their final days on Comedy Central and they did a good job of filling the void before it found its footing again on the Sci-Fi Channel.

But they still left something to be desired. The episodes were fun, crisp and clear, but it left you wanting more when the credits rolled. Enter Shout! Factory. They brought a fresher and livelier approach to one of television's fresher and livelier shows, from the special features down to the cover art for the box sets. And they have continued that tradition with 'MST3K: XVII,' the latest in what's sure to be a long line of box sets for a show that hasn't even gotten through half of its decade-long line-up of episodes.

A cover from a Just like the previous boxed sets, this collection includes four iconic episodes from the show's very long run that range in genre and even chronology. There are two extremely B-level monster epics such as 'Blood Waters of Dr. Z' and 'The Crawling Eye,' an extremely hammy delinquent crime story called 'The Beatniks' and an indescribably bad occult horror adventure called 'The Final Sacrifice.'

The episodes have been cleaned up a bit for DVD, but they still feel the same way they aired on television making them just as fun to watch when the world first discovered the show. It's a simple but successful formula. Don't mess with what already works. You don't give Mona Lisa a Botox injection. You don't colorize 'Citizen Kane.' And you don't fancy up a show like 'MST3K' that derives its best comedy from cheapness.

A cover for the Everything outside of the actual episodes look bold and bright and just jump off the box or the screen. The DVD menus are original and actually kind of funny. The box art for the individual discs are done in a wonderful, hand drawn movie poster style featuring the bots spoofing the movies they are featuring in each episode. The box even includes a couple of postcards of the same poster spoofs that if properly framed and mounted could enhance the geekiest of offices, kitchens or bathrooms.

The set feels a little light on the special features. 'The Crawling Eye' episode, the second episode in the show's first season run on Comedy Central, features a short but informative interview with the show's creator Joel Hodgson on how the show got its start on a tiny Minnesota UHF station and the evolution it experienced from local to cable television. 'The Final Sacrifice' also features an interesting interview with actor Bruce J. Mitchell who appeared in the film and some funny "wraps" for 'The Mystery Science Theater Hour' featuring Michael J. Nelson as an even-creepier Jack Perkins.

This set is also missing a collectible action figure. So far, Shout! Factory has released a bust of Crow T. Robot and a Tom Servo figurine (the Tom Servo model is watching me write this as he sits on top of the subwoofer on my constantly cluttered desk), but where's the Mike and/or Joel action figure with the kung-fu action quip and fully bendable will to keep his sanity in check?

Every Happy Meal comes with a toy and despite this oversight, this boxed set made this hardcore fan very happy.

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Hollywood Ron

You gotta give them time to get the Joel, Mike, Gypsy, TV's Frank With Realistic Action Spit Curl, etc. toys! In the four they've put out, they've already given us two collectibles, and Rhino didn't give us squat!

April 01 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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