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The Best Syfy-Era MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER Episodes Coming to Netflix

The Best Syfy-Era MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER Episodes Coming to Netflix

We’re all preeeeeeetty darn excited for the brand new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to drop on Netflix on Friday, April 14, and the streaming service giant is making sure everyone feels the same way by adding 20 fan-favorite episodes of the ’90s movie riffing series to their service on March 15! The list contains episodes representing all eras of the show, both Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson, and will feature some stone-cold classics like Manos: The Hands of Fate, Pod People, and Laserblast. But most exciting to me is the inclusion of seven episodes from the show’s final three years, the Syfy (then Sci-Fi Channel) era.

I remember watching the show back when it was on Comedy Central, but I lost touch after a few seasons. When I found it again, once our local Denver cable provider offered the burgeoning Sci-Fi Channel, I went ham on MST3K in a way from which I’ve never returned. While everybody tends to love everything, I find that most people have affinity for the latter Joel years and early Mike years, but for me, it’s all about the years where a weird narrative continuity for the host segments was mandated, and Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV’s Frank were replaced by Mrs. Pearl Forrester, Brain Guy, and Bobo.

I love all seven of these Syfy episodes included in the batch coming to Netflix, but if I had to recommend three of them to watch first for people maybe don’t know these years of the show that well, I would choose the following:

Time Chasers

This episode from towards the end of season eight does a great job of playing with the format as well as making the host segments play with the movie itself. Time Chasers is a cheesy flick made in Vermont about a guy who builds a time machine out of tiny prop airplane, and the evil corporation that wants to steal it. In the course of the movie, the “hero” changes the past and makes the present terrible. In the host segments, Crow goes back in time to convince a temp by the name of Mike not to take the job that would eventually lead him on the Satellite of Love. When Crow returns, Mike is gone and in his place is his older, crappier brother Eddie (also played by Mike Nelson) who isn’t nice to anyone, and Eddie goes and does moving riffing for a few segments until Crow goes back in time to stop himself. It’s genius in a way the movie at hand is not.

The Pumaman

I’m pretty sure I wore the tape out of this one in the late ’90s when I recorded it as the third episode on a tape that also contained The Phantom Planet and Devil Fish. A cruddy early-’80s superhero movie made by Italian filmmakers in Britain, The Pumaman (pronounced by Tom Servo as “The-pew-may-man”) is such an inept and yet weirdly delightful experience that it makes for perfect riffing. Among the best moments are ripping on the first big scene of Pumaman fighting off bad guys, the fact that his sidekick is clearly the hero of the movie, and the constant reference to round shiny things whenever the perpetually bald Donald Pleasence as the villain pops up. “It’s an egg! Oh…no, it’s Donald Pleasence.”


Another one I wore out in my old VCR, this episode features a terrible werewolf movie made in Arizona by people with thick European accents and way-too-dark photography. But throw in C-movie hero Joe Estevez (yes, Martin Sheen’s brother) and an actress who keeps calling them “war-welfs,” and you’ve got a hit on your hands. Some of the best host segments include the gang naming which sibling of a famous person would you put in your werewolf movie (Emilio Klugman and Chip Hitler obviously being the best) and Mike getting punctured by Crow’s basket thing and becoming a Were-Crow. Oh, and who could forget the ’50s girl-group song “Where, Oh Where-Wolf?”

While these may be my favorites, there’s 17 other great episodes to choose from. The complete list of episodes are below, and below that, why don’t you tell me what YOUR favorite episode of this bunch is, and if you all say Manos you’re not trying hard enough.

· Catalina Caper
· Eegah!
· Future War
· The Giant Gila Monster
· Hercules Against the Moon Men
· Horrors of Spider Island
· I Accuse My Parents
· Jack Frost
· Laserblast
· Manos: The Hands of Fate
· Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders
· Pod People
· Puma Man
· Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
· Sidehackers
· Space Mutiny
· Teenagers from Outer Space
· Time Chasers
· Werewolf
· Zombie Nightmare

Images: Best Brains/Shout! Factory

Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor for Nerdist. He writes the weekly look at weird or obscure films in Schlock & Awe. Follow him on Twitter!

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