12/6/06

Season One: Robots on the Moon*

101 The Crawling Eye

102 Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy
with Commando Cody, Chapter One

103 The Mad Monster
with Commando Cody, Chapter Two

104 Women of the Prehistoric Planet

105 The Corpse Vanishes
with Commando Cody, Chapter Three

106 The Crawling Hand

107 Robot Monster
with Commando Cody, Chapter Four
and Commando Cody, Chapter Five

108 Slime People
with Commando Cody, Chapter Six

109 Project Moon Base
with Commando Cody, Chapter Seven
and Commando Cody, Chapter Eight

110 Robot Holocaust
with Commando Cody, Chapter Nine

111 Moon Zero Two

112 Untamed Youth

113 The Black Scorpion

Season One has a much more relaxed dynamic to it than any of the seasons that follow. The Satellite crew tosses their jokes and insults at the movie with a kind of “no big deal” attitude. In this and other seasons, Joel usually sounds like he’s about to nod off. Josh Weinstein as Tom Servo is pretty low-key as well. In an episode where the movie is already slow to the point of catatonic, this is deadly. But, for movies that are well paced to begin with (just bad for other reasons), it’s hilarious.

According to The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the powers that be at Best Brains wouldn’t allow episodes from this season to be re-aired because they “weren’t very good.” If they were referring to the host segments specifically, I could see their point. There are a few really funny bits, but the rest are fairly evenly split between “okay, I guess” and “rather boring,” and after the first couple of flame-spurting inventions, that particular gag got old. There are some odd things about the robots as well. Crow has a massive, distracting piece of twine on his chin. Tom’s arms are made of some kind of stiff-ish corrugated pipe. Gypsy has the look she'll keep for the entire cable run of the show, but she’s really dumb and inarticulate. They got a whole lot better than this in later seasons.

To say that these episodes “weren’t very good” on the basis of how the movies were viewed and mocked, which is really the point of the whole show, you’d have a tougher argument. It’s definitely true of a few of them. After a decent start with the very watchable episode, The Crawling Eye, they moved on to Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, Mad Monster, and The Corpse Vanishes, all of which fall into the category of “weren’t very good.” I particularly hated watching Untamed Youth, but everyone else I’ve talked to or read who’s seen it really liked it. No accounting for taste, I guess. A major feature of Season One is the Commando Cody in Radar Men from the Moon shorts, which I started off liking and ended despising. The rest of the episodes are pretty good, and easy to watch. Two of them, Robot Holocaust and Moon Zero Two, rank among the funniest episodes I’ve seen.

*Includes three robot movies and three moon movies (if you count all of the Radar Men on the Moon shorts as one movie).