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Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVI

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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(Mar 26, 2013)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For this 26th volume of MST3K, an introduction could well be pared down to ’one cult TV series with two guys, two robots, four movies and 10,000 jokes. ’ This new collection of previously unreleased episodes picks up where the last 25 left off: seating you next to the funniest peanut gallery in television history. It’s a deep dive into the human instinct for survival, where our warped warriors aboard the Satellite of Love find the funny in the tragic...or at least the cheesy. In fact, it’s not too hyperbolic to insist that what Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot do, as they defend us against the slings and arrows of outrageously unfortunate movies, is nothing less than keep us sane. If you don’t agree, you re obviously crazy. See what we did there? Titles Include: The Magic Sword, Alien From L.A. , Danger!! Death Ray & The Mole People.

Magicians, mole people, super spies, and supermodels all get their just deserts courtesy of the crew of the Satellite of Love in Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVI, which offers up a quartet of episodes from the Peabody Award-winning cult comedy series. As with previous Shout Factory releases, the four experiments included here, which make their home video debuts with this set, offer a cross-section of the program's entire television run, from its fourth season on Comedy Central (The Magic Sword) to its eighth-season debut on The Sci-Fi Channel (The Mole People). Though ranking the four episodes is a moot point--like pizza and other simple delights, even the most lightweight MST3K entry offers more laughs than most current network shows--only The Magic Sword, which puts paid to Bert I. Gordon's supremely silly fantasy, can be honestly called a bona fide classic, thanks in part to inspired riffing and a memorable host segment featuring Crow T. Robot's impassioned love song to elderly star Estelle Winwood. Season five's Alien from L.A., with a helium-voiced Kathy Ireland, runs a close second due to the dizzying scope of its references, which cover everything from Devo and Ted Nugent to Ray Stevens, wrestler Nick Bockwinkel, and the drag dance corps Les Ballets Trockadero. The Eurospy thriller Danger!! Death Ray, from season six, and The Mole People are amusing if unmemorable efforts that should please completists, but it's Magic Sword and, to a lesser extent, Alien from L.A. that will remind longtime fans and show first-time viewers why Mystery Science Theater 3000 retains its status as one of television's funniest and most imaginative shows.

Shout Factory fills out the set with a handful of extras, some more substantive than others, but all with something to hold the viewer's interest. Head writer Mike Nelson, who took over for series creator Joel Hodgson in the fifth season (and stars in three of the four episodes included here), is profiled in the newest installment of Life After MST3K. Nelson discusses his transition to host as well as his books of humorous film criticism and stint in RiffTrax, which takes an MST3K riffing approach to both mainstream and B films. Both Bert I. Gordon and The Mole People receive their own featurettes, though the former offers only a thumbnail of the prolific writer-producer-director's prolific career. Of Mushrooms and Madmen: Making the Mole People is more substantive, exploring not only its production but studio demands to add a downbeat ending for its onscreen romance between human and underground dweller for fear of miscegenation charges! Alien from L.A. director Albert Pyun talks about the film's unusual budgeting and the challenges of Ireland's stratospheric voice (he also politely hedges on giving an opinion of the show's treatment of his film), while clips of Nelson showing off respectable fencing skills while in Jack Perkins drag from The MST Hour round out the set. --Paul Gaita

Product Details

  • Actors: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson
  • Directors: Kevin Murphy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 2013
  • Run Time: 480 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00AJXO42S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,825 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Valnastar VINE VOICE on December 8, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This latest MST3K DVD set features one episode with show creator Joel Hodgson as host and three with head writer Mike Nelson as host. Three episodes are from the Comedy Central era of the show while the fourth is from the first season on the Sci-Fi Channel. It's quite a good selection of episodes with some movies that are fun and entertaining in their own way even before the riffing starts. Of course, MST3K makes them way more fun.

This 1962 color film from Bert I. Gordon is certainly one of his best and it's actually a fairly fun and well made fantasy film aimed at younger audiences. It features a fine cast including Basil Rathbone, Estelle Winwood and Gary Lockwood. Entertaining as it is on its own it still makes for a terrific and hilarious episode of MST3K. In fact the endless fantasy elements and bits of intentional humor in the film work exceedingly and surprisingly well as fodder for jokes on the Satellite Of Love. A beautiful princess (Anne Helm) is kidnapped by an evil wizard (Rathbone) and a young man (Lockwood) raised by a kind sorceress (Winwood) is determined to rescue her. There's even a quite decent looking dragon in the film. The riffing is constant, unending fun during this one and as an added bonus one of the host segments features Crow T. Robot declaring his love for Estelle Winwood in song. There's no better example than this to show that MST3K worked just as well with a decent film as it did making fun of a terrible one. I've been wanting this one on DVD for years and am excited to see it finally get released.

This 1988 Golan Globus color film is a comedy action update loosely based on Jules Verne's Journey To The Center Of The Earth starring Kathy Ireland.
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I have been enjoying these guys since season one first aired ,I have every available episode that I could get my hands on including pre-ordering every new set that is released right here on Amazon and I can tell you for re-watchability you cant beat MST3K. Ive veiwed every episode multiple times and I can still sit here right now and veiw them again ,these guys are multi-talented and they make me laugh more than any other program Ive ever watched ,you cant go wrong purchasing anything these guys do and if you want more of the same you can purchase RIFF TRAXX from the same guys right here on Amazon for peanuts ,so if you havent checked out any of there work give yourself a treat ,Thank You.
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Everybody's favorite pop culture satirizing, puppet show mocking TV show has just released VOLUME 26, filled with insightful dainties deconstructing the people behind the films, and behind MST3K as well. Even tho the captives on the Satelite of Love's riffing over these cheesey masterpieces is the primary rationale behind buying these box sets, I personally love that SHOUT! takes the time and trouble, to create these mini-documentaries about the films, and the MST3K cast. Now that the show's creation lies over two decades in the past, and the pop culture comments up to 50 years in the past, with films at times 80 years in the past, it does take cultural historians to keep these films in perspective. (Especially for those who are discovering these films for perhaps the first time, instead of finding them on saturday afternoon TV back in 1968, or late night cable TV in 1978, etc.) So, I'll comment briefly on each film, and then tell you wants great about those Extras, that often make up for MST3K episodes which are less than classic, or films which are at times better left forgotten.

They're finally releasing an early Season 8 episode, from when "Big Mama" Pearl Forester, Brain Guy, and Bobo take over. Not since the beginning of season 2 has the cast changed so much. Instead of Deep 13, the show shifts to Pearl chasing the Satilite of Love, thru space and time, with a weekly serialized storyline, which became confusing over time. The second SCIFI episode is still setting up how Professor Bobo and Brain Guy joined Pearl, after the previous week discovery of why Crow's voice changed. (Not being able to follow this plot, does little to add or detract from the show's enjoyment. But--best to follow it anyway.) The film this week--A JOHN AGAR FILM!
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All the MST3K sets from Shout Factory are great, but I like this volume because of the intense diversity of the offerings. The four films selected are all uniquely different and really showcase the varying genres the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast and crew could operate in.

I was personally most excited to see "Alien From L.A.," the dreadful Golan-Globus production featuring the beautiful but squeaky-voiced non-actress Kathy Ireland in the lead role. By all accounts she is nice and upstanding person, but here she incurs the rapier wit of Mike and the bots due to her somewhat lacking performance. I loved the interview with director Albert Pyun who explained that Kathy's voice was so high that finally they just went with it and added the self-referential voice jokes at the last minute. For people who recall Kathy Ireland as the ultimate glamor model, the transformation from plain to amazing is predictably sappy yet immensely fun. This episode also features one of my favorite host segments concerning Clara Peller in her underpants. Watch for it.

I also loved "Danger!! Death Ray," a cheesy would-be Italian James Bond-esque thriller featuring super spy Bart Fargo (!) as played by Gordon Scott dealing with said death ray and tons of swarthy bad guys in Italian villas. Although the death ray itself is essentially forgotten after about the first ten minutes or so, the riffing is exceptionally strong as poor Bart does his best to make a camp classic into a contender for the Italian cinema. A particular pleasure of this episode for me is the intro in which the crazy genius who built the death ray gives a mind-bending speech about how it's only for peaceful purposes. Sadly, it's the high point of the movie.
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