"MST3K" started out with a clever, if not a new idea.(Ever since movies started talking, the set-up of audience voices mocking the screen action has been around, such as the early 30's series "The Movie Album" or Radio's "Easy Aces" in their cinema short subjects.)
In the original Mystery Science series, we got to know those about to mock the movie, a hapless midwestern guy (always ragging on Wisconsin!) trapped aboard a space station with two wiseacre robot puppets who know nothing but half-understood American pop culture.
This was the underlying basis for the jabs at the film, whatever it was they would be sitting down to see on the ship's movie screen as well. The references come fast and furious, and although all are supposed to be none too bright, as an audience member, most will never "get" all of them.
Unfortunately, when Sci-Fi (or now known as "Sy-Fy") channel brought them over, they had to change the format a bit, and instead of just a quick visit at the beginning and end, (with some bumpers in the middle) featuring the cast, which included a mad scientist and his wierdo servant that sent him spaceward in the first place, now there's a nasty fat gal that bosses around a monkey man and a hooded pasty guy in a VW van that courses the galaxy, landing on different themed planets. We find out about their fears, their schemes, their family life, etc.
After this unfunny soap opera burns up lots of time, we go back to the "Satellite of Love" to see the movies. But now, every one has to be a horror picture. Funny thrillers were seen years earlier in the series, and most every one in the S-F version would have been a second, third or never pick previously. When it started, it had a huge following, inspiring such things as campus events, live recreations, even a book which was rather poorly thought out, but still sold well. Tapes of the series were traded around the world. Well, here we are, it's final episode ten years ago this month, and few care any more. It just seemed like the whole show fell into the wrong hands.It was fun while it lasted. It just lasted too long.
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