MST3K is back on the air! Kinda, sorta.
October 29, 2007 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Satellite News passes on the news that Best Brains, Inc. is back in active business, with new 'Bot content appearing online. Beginning November 5th, BBI will be launching its very own website at The site will feature brand-new animated adventures of Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy. We're told the goal is to have one new adventure each week (though "some settling may occur with shipping," they added). The Web site will also feature work from the original series (which BBI is now calling "the legacy series"), behind-the-scenes footage and other material culled from the BBI vault.

Interestingly, show co-creator Jim Mallon is spearheading this. While Mallon was present at the creation, he and Joel Hodgson had a falling out, and Mallon had largely dropped out of sight in the show's later years and since.

Given that the show has been semi-recreated already by Mike Nelson and company (with RiffTrax and the Film Crew) I wonder if there's any bad blood?
posted by Chrysostom (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't say that Best Brains wasn't active. Navigating the murky waters of licensing the films and putting together the DVD sets is no mean feat in the age of perpetual copyright.

Plus, somebody has to be working the mail order operation and Keep Circulating the Tapes.
posted by dr_dank at 6:57 PM on October 29, 2007

Curious that it's the "animated adventures of Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy". Makes me suspect that it's just going to be animated versions of the host sequences.

...meh. :(
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:20 PM on October 29, 2007

I also was disappointed to read that it would it would be animated (for some reason, I makes me think it will be like Homestar Runner). A weekly video podcast of the bots watching (and riffing) a bad youtube post could have some good potential.
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:27 PM on October 29, 2007

...or heck, just riffing on my bad typing would be fine.
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:36 PM on October 29, 2007

Well, Jack, it has already been established that it's hard to type with boxing gloves on.
posted by flatluigi at 7:42 PM on October 29, 2007 [2 favorites]

As Joel would say, "Oh, I don't know..." Still, I'm willing to give anything MST-related the benefit of the doubt, so I be there with bated breath on Nov. 5.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:43 PM on October 29, 2007

I'm not understanding this new BBI... is this like just some corporate creation capitalizing on past glory, or does it really involve Mike Nelson and some of the crew? I don't know who this Jim Mallon guy is and if he puts the funny in the show.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:28 PM on October 29, 2007

I wonder how that fares with Rifftrax?
posted by FormlessOne at 9:53 PM on October 29, 2007 podcast of the bots...

What if they just released an audio podcast you could download and play back while you watched a rented movie? That might be pretty funny and might get around some of the copyright stuff, although you loose out on the visual gags I suppose. Is someone already doing this?
posted by asterisk at 11:27 PM on October 29, 2007

I don't know who this Jim Mallon guy is and if he puts the funny in the show.

Well, he co-created the show. He directed MST3K: The Movie. He was executive producer of the show, and is president of BBI (and has been from day one, I believe). And he was the voice and puppeteer of Gypsy up until half-way through season 8. He probably has a pretty reasonable grasp on the funny.

That said, it seems pretty clear that he and Paul Chaplin are the MSTies involved, not the Mike Nelson group.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:48 AM on October 30, 2007

Joel and the original gang are developing a new show called Cinematic Titanic with the first show out by Christmas.
posted by Stynxno at 7:34 AM on October 30, 2007

Remember how great this was when they did it with The Critic?

Oh no wait, those were fucking terrible.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:43 AM on October 30, 2007

Cinematic Titanic, on the other hand, sounds worth it for the return of Josh Weinstein alone.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:45 AM on October 30, 2007

Interesting find, Stynxno. So, at this point, there are three separate post-MST3K groups at it:
  • [Mallon/Chaplin]
  • RiffTrax/Film Crew [Nelson/Murphy/Corbett]
  • Cinematic Titanic [Hodgson/Pehl/Weinstein/Beaulieu/Conniff]
That last one is especially interesting. Nelson and Murphy always seemed fine with extending the show ad infinitum, but everyone on the Titanic project left the show voluntarily.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:50 AM on October 30, 2007

Ugh... this just... this just sounds awful. Mallon appears to have resurrected BBI to make some money off of the MST3K property he still owns, lacking 90% of the show's acting, writing, and behind-the-scenes talent. And animation? Of the puppets? Apparently not actually riffing on movies? Do not want.

The bulk of the news sounds like Mallon's finally taking the promotion and merchandising part of MST3K off the info site's hands. It's a good business decision. But I'm not expecting, or looking forward to, any great new product until there's a significant reunion- which doesn't seem likely as the RiffTrax guys seem to be doing very well sans-Bots.

I'm a lifelong fan of MST3K but this sounds about as big a comeback as Guns N' Roses.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 AM on October 30, 2007

Interesting find, Stynxno. So, at this point, there are three separate post-MST3K groups at it:

* [Mallon/Chaplin]

* RiffTrax/Film Crew [Nelson/Murphy/Corbett]

* Cinematic Titanic [Hodgson/Pehl/Weinstein/Beaulieu/Conniff]

Sounds like it's time for a group hug.

Since they're all onboard again in one form or another, I wonder how much bad blood is actually keeping the gang from getting back together again.
posted by unsupervised at 3:31 PM on October 30, 2007

The bad blood may exist between Mallon & Hodgson, but I'm beginning to think perhaps Hodgson throwing his hat in this ring now has something to do with a whole other kettle of fish.

Nelson's Rifftrax is a great idea, but it's so great that the torrent community jumped on it pretty fast. Not that I would know anything about this (uhm, I heard from a friend yeah that's it) but it's possible to download some of the mp3s Rifftrax is selling, via torrent sites. Some have even been so bold as to take an avi of the movie and mesh it with the appropriate RiffTrak. This is of course illegal by the way, which is why RiffTrax only provides the mp3, and can't sell a copy of the movie along with it. You have to provide the movie yourself, because Mike didn't get any movie rights or permissions or anything like that.

Then, other resourceful people (friendly forum posters to the RiffTrax boards) posted fake torrents to make it difficult to find good RiffTrax via the torrent system. They also launched a kinda positive but effective campaign through word of mouth, that if you are downloading RiffTrax illegally, the least you can do is go over to their website and donate if you enjoyed them.

More recent Riffs are not readily available by torrent, or if they are, it's in ways that my friend doesn't know to search. Or maybe he's too lazy. Or maybe he feels guilty. Or maybe he's just dumb.

However, it's possible that Mike's learned things through RiffTrax and has conveyed these lessons learned to Joel. Mike may feel it impossible to fully protect himself via the current RiffTrax process. I have no idea how much revenue the torrent practices have taken out of Mike's hands. It's the same argument with mp3s of regular music. Would these people have bought RiffTrax anyway if they couldn't get them for free via torrents? Is it possible that getting one for free causes more people to want to buy the rest? The jury's still out on all that. How much does it help? How much does it hurt? Either way, I'm assuming Mike doesn't have enough money for that second Lamborghini you know what I'm sayin'?

What if Joel observed what Mike was doing, and has come up with a way to provide the service of riffing for a fee and his product won't find its way so readily through other free channels? IF Joel is successful in this endeavor, then Mike will either adapt Joel's findings to his needs, or say hang it all and he and Murphy & Corbett will jump ship and join with the Cinematic Titanic swabbies, leaving Mallon in the proverbial dust.

I miss the bots, but without the riffing, the bots are just a garage sale waiting to happen.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:29 PM on November 4, 2007

The redoubtable Chrysostom! Nelson and Murphy always seemed fine with extending the show ad infinitum, but everyone on the Titanic project left the show voluntarily.

Not Pehl. She was on the cast for episide 1013. She's also done one RiffTrax with Nelson, for Glitter (one of the approx. one-third of RTs I haven't seen, 'cause of the movie itself).

The always-contrarian ZachsMind! Nelson's Rifftrax is a great idea, but it's so great that the torrent community jumped on it pretty fast.

Well they do that with almost anything. At DragonCon this year there was a guy right there in the dealer's room selling DVDs with RiffTrax applied. When I asked him about how Mike's trying to make a living off of the 'Trax, he said he had an arrangement with him. Sha right, like Mike's going to jeopardize the increasingly cool deal he's got going by authorizing someone to sell DVDs of pirated moves with his work attached.

I find it refreshing that Mike's basically agreed to just keep going with an unencumbered format, saying the flexibility and convenience make up for the sales losses. (He's also put a tip jar on the site for those feeling guilt over having acquired them illegally. Yer friend have a conscience there, ZM? It's not like they're particular expensive; the most dollar-sign-shaped one there's four bucks!)
posted by JHarris at 5:59 PM on November 17, 2007

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