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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

#2,362: Avalanche! (And the start of MST3K s11)

MST 1101: Reptilicus
MST 1102: Cry Wilderness
MST 1103: The Time Travelers
MST 1104: Avalanche

I was worried that I was going to be completely weirded out by the new season of MST3K. I've met most of the previous casts of the show, but I knew Jonah and the new bots long before they got this gig. I was worried it was just going to seem like some dudes I know doing a podcast. And while it is a little weird to me to hear these guys making callbacks to jokes made by their predecessors 20 years ago, I think I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality. 

I've also been very surprised to see this incarnation turn everything I know about MST on its head. I used to watch this show for the host segments above all else. And while I appreciate the effort to check the boxes of the original series, so far they're mostly... not good. I can't believe that I like the theater part more, and I can't believe that Crow / Hampton is my favorite. I'm so glad he's doing a character voice. Baron is a terrific comic, but has enormous shoes– or, an enormous hoverskirt to fill. 

Technical production on the show, from what I've heard about it, seems just plain weird. I think part of what made the original, or the early era of Adult Swim so great, was that it was made by creative people with a lot more time than money. While this season is probably constrained by budget as much as anything, it still seems like the mass-produced version of the show. The timing feels weird, and it's because they're not actually in the room together recording the riffs. The characters don't necessarily match what they're saying because they're shot separately. The host segments don't have time for another take. The whole thing feels way more digital. 

In high school, it was my dream job to work on MST3K, and between how many other odd opportunities I've had to work with my heroes of that era, and how many people I knew that were involved in this version, I'm almost surprised I didn't have any involvement aside from donating $1. But at the same time, I'm not sure if this is the version I would have wanted to be a part of.  (Oh, I talk a good game, but I'm sure I'd've jumped at the gig!)

As for the episodes themselves: some of the movies aren't that bad. I'm intrigued by the weird little hints of continuity between them and hope that pays off somehow. The guest stars have been really disappointing. The set is weird in a new aspect ratio (and yet no hexfield!). And I hate TV's Son of TV's Frank. Sure, the name is dumb, but something about casting 'names' into MST3K, no matter how much they may have loved the old show, makes the new one feel like fanfic.