MST3k 2.0

The New York Times profiles RiffTrax, a new venture brought to you by the guys behind the classic television show, Mystery Science Theater 3000. For the uninitiated, MST3k‘s basic premise was that an unwilling subject (first portrayed by comedian Joel Hodgson and then series writer Michael J. Nelson) is shot into space by mad scientists and forced to watch B-grade (at best) movies in an effort to determine how best take over the world. Their poor subject can only make it through by riffing on the bad movies “with the help of his robot friends.”

The show survived 11 years and two network changes before ending its run in 1999. It is generally considered one of the best–and most under appreciated–shows of the 1990s. Rifftrax reunites host Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo), and Bill Corbett (Crow) in a new but familiar environment. In this new environment, the sci-fi back story is gone, but the heart of the old show remains: riffing on the worst the movie industry as to offer. At Rifftrax, customers download MP3s of the three familiar voices taking on popular Hollywood movies for as little as $0.99. You then play these MP3s along with your DVD of the movie to reproduce the original MST3k experience (minus silhouettes in the bottom right corner). Rifftrax as an advantage over the old show because the crew wasn’t required to get the rights of the films they riff (you’re not downloading the movie, just an MP3 of people talking), meaning the targets are much bigger films than ever. See this page for some sample riffs. I’d say the crew still has game.

In the not too distant future…

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