2/1/07

Season Nine: No Really, I’m From New Mexico*, or, Curious Antics Across The Pond**

901 The Projected Man

902 The Phantom Planet

903 Pumaman

904 Werewolf

905 The Deadly Bees

906 The Space Children
with Century 21 Calling...

907 Hobgoblins

908 The Touch of Satan

909 Gorgo

910 The Final Sacrifice

911 Devil Fish

912 The Screaming Skull
with Robot Rumpus: A Gumby Adventure

913 Quest of the Delta Knights

The end is in sight, but not quite here. The penultimate season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 discards the cast’s deep space meanderings in favor of a new stationary location: the ancestral home of Pearl’s...ancestors, Castle Forrester. A smart move; the constantly shifting locales of the previous season forced the folks at Best Brains to write only intermittently funny three to four episode story arcs. Now unencumbered by plot, the newly freed Satellite crew and the Castle Forrester denizens can take it one episode at a time, returning to their previous levels of hilarity. The Italian Filter sketch from Devil Fish (Episode 911) is my favorite, followed closely by the Canada song (Episode 910) and Waiting for Gorgot (Episode 909), with Wise Guy Leo Da Vinci (Episode 913) and Crow’s Bigfoot-ish documentary Let’s Talk Women (Episode 907) not far behind.

The ninth season includes three of the greatest episodes in the run of the show, including the arm-flailing Pumaman, the incomprehensibly silly Werewolf, and the apogee of Canadian death cult films, The Final Sacrifice. Though it can’t quite match the awful abandon of the aforementioned three, Gorgo also gets high marks for shamelessly transplanting a huge Japanese cliché into Battersea Park. Most of the rest of the season is funny enough to watch. Only The Projected Man and The Deadly Bees get low ratings, mostly for yawn-inducing stodginess. (Cinematic English persons take note! You must remain delightfully eccentric at all times. The moment you stop is the moment we all lose interest.) The only unwatchably bad film is The Screaming Skull, but the fantastic Gumby short that precedes it saves the episode en toto.

*Includes three films filled with oversexed foreigners straining at American dialects.

**Features three of the driest, most flavorless pieces of celluloid ever to emerge from the metaphorical film toasters of Britain. Fortunately, the third one crushed all of London for use in lieu of delicious strawberry preserves.