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Dueling MST3Ks

So this is odd but wonderful (kind of like the reconstituted Van Halen with David Lee Roth, which I saw last night in Boston). I'm a long-time fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) and wish the show could have just continued forever. I have a box of VHS tapes of the show's episodes and several of the DVD sets that Rhino has put out. It's just an absolute favorite.

Anyway, in the past year or so, Mike Nelson, the MST3K lead writer and, for the second half of its existence, host, started up something called Rifftrax, sort of a low budget version of MST3K (well, even more low budget) that gets around the movie licensing issues that plagued the original show by requiring you to supply the movie on DVD. This way, he and his buddies (including a number of former MSTies) can riff on high budget movies now too. It's a neat idea.

And then there's this. Joel Hodgson, who started MST3K and was its host for the first half of the show's run, has just launched a similar project called Cinema Titanic. This is a bit closer to the original MST vision, in that they'll be licensing actual movies and thus creating a "complete" experience out of the box. And Joel will be joined by virtually everyone important from MST3K (except Mike, which I find vaguely disturbing). Awesome. Almost.

But wait. There's more. In yet another MST-related announcement, MST3K writer and original cast member Jim Mallon has announced that Best Brains Inc. (creators of MST3K, pay attention now) is being reconstituted and will be found at starting November 5.

The site will feature brand-new animated adventures of Crow, Tom Servo and Gypsy. We're told the goal is to have one new adventure each week (though "some settling may occur with shipping," they added). The Web site will also feature work from the original series (which BBI is now calling "the legacy series"), behind-the-scenes footage and other material culled from the BBI vault.

The new adventures of the 'bots are being produced by BBI President, MST3K series writer and the returning voice of Gypsy, Jim Mallon. He will be joined on this new experiment by veteran MST3K series writer and performer Paul Chaplin (who will be on the writing team and will be providing the voice of Crow) along with new writing and performing talent.

It's an embarrassment of riches.

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