Last Night Comic Con@Home took attendees on a deep dive into the world of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The long running show has taken on many incarnations over the decades and the panel included show creator Joel Hodgson as well as former cast members J. Elvis Weinstein and Bill Corbett.
The vibe was distinctly different for this comic con as everyone met at home through video conferencing. The effect is a panel that feels distinctly intimate though occasionally lacks the electricity of the standard convention. But no level of a pandemic can take away the pleasure of watching three great comedians get together and talk about the history of one of the most innovative shows ever created.
Their combined history spans the entire length of the show giving some fascinating insights into the evolution of the characters. Tom Servo, for instance, started out as Beeper an R2D2-style character that only really shows up in the first few episodes of KTMA. The character then took on a Pee-Wee Herman persona but after that didn’t gel he eventually turned into a kind of radio show host voice. Though they may seem like minor tweaks those choices went on to influence to the trajectory of the character for more than two decades.
Joel, on the other hand, notes that he wasn’t sure how to originally approach the role of host on the show. For avid viewers of MST3K the host role evolved the most through the decades. With three (four if you count the COVID Riffathon that went on Youtube) hosts and counting each one has approached it in a new way. Hodgson laid the groundwork by treating the bots like a father or an uncle.
Though fairly common now (thanks to MST3K, whether you know it or not) the act of riffing was breaking new ground as the show was created. After watching the show for years the ability of a riff to land or not land is key. Joel, Bill and J. Elvis shared insight into what makes it work and it’s not what you would expect.
“I think there’s a myth that we only wrote riffs for ourselves and that’s just not true,” noted Corbett. “Very often I’d write riffs for the others and it wasn’t even something you think about.” This is in contrast to the Joel era where it went in a round-robin fashion. “If you notice I got every third line in the show, we wanted to pass the joke around,” said Hodgson.
The unifying factor among all of their experiences was, unsurprisingly, the film itself. “In the beginning, we were much quieter and didn’t realize you had to riff through the whole thing,” Hodgson explains. “Once we got to Comedy Central we knew you had to do wall-to-wall jokes and treat the film like an acting partner,” Hodgson notes that you had to treat the film like it was Margaret Dumont in a Marx Brothers film. You had to make fun of it like it was in the room with you. That adds a whole new layer to shows.
Watching them all interact is always fun. Despite the gap in their experiences with the show they all more or less knew each other from Minnesota and treat each other like life long friends and colleagues. Something about the format of the show continues to give it new life and allow it to evolve. Even though no one on the panel is currently working with MST3K they continue to riff through mediums like Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax. They are constantly creating new content and evolving the art of the riff. It’s a sight to behold. Watch The Full Panel Here
Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes
Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.
Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2
A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!
It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.
Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.
Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.
Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!
Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!
If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one!
Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive!
So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise.
Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party.
The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe!
Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now!