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In the not too distant future, November 21, 2017, A.D., the last Mystery Science Theater 3000 box set will be released. Last Monday, Shout Factory announced that volume 39 will be the final set in the run. Their official update is available via Facebook here. http://www.facebook.com/mysterysciencetheater3000/posts/1382824998431557
When I am posting daily I like to respond to news as soon as possible to stay current. However, in light of this, I wanted to take a couple days to collect my thoughts.
Unlike the majority of the MST3K DVD sets, this final outing will only contain 3 episodes instead of the typical 4. The final films are:
The Amazing Transparent Man
The big news here is that Shout finally was able to license Diabolik. Many, including myself, assumed that they would never be able to secure this movie for release as a DVD. Fittingly, the last episode of the original run is now the final episode to come out.
For the 4th disc in the set, Shout is creating one entitled “Satellite Dishes”, a collection of host segments (the sections of the show that just feature the cast, no footage from the movie) of the remaining unreleased shows.
In the statement above, Shout announced that the final experiments that will probably not get a release are:
Ep #201 Rocketship X-M
Ep #212 Godzilla Vs. Megalon
Ep #213 Godzilla Vs. The Sea Monster
Ep #309 The Amazing Colossal Man
Ep #311 It Conquered the World
Ep #416 Fire Maidens from Outer Space
Ep #418 The Eye Creatures
Ep #807 Terror from the Year 5000
Ep #809 I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Ep #905 The Deadly Bees
Ep #906 The Space Children
Ep #913 Quest of the Delta Knights
Now, this has always been a conceit of this show being released commercially. There were always going to be some movies that everyone knew would never get produced. After 17 years of DVD releases, we now have our answer. The fact that over the years, Shout and before them, Rhino, released all the shows except for 12 is a testament to their resolve and hard work.
Godzilla Vs. Megalon was released in Vol. 10 before it had to be discontinued and The Amazing Colossal Man came out on VHS years ago before the DVDs. So, technically, there are only 10 episodes that were never made available to the public, and there are options out there for those who want those. Also, most Mystery Science Theater episodes are available to view on YouTube. (Presumably, with varying degrees of legality, but when you create a community based on the concept of “Keep Circulating the Tapes”, what do you expect?)
I have been purchasing these sets since they started with Volume 1 back in 2002. As long as I have been buying DVDs, I have been buying MST3K dvds. Before that I would pick up overpriced-but-better-than-buying-them-seperately VHS sets from the Musicland in my local mall. (Google it.)
Eventually, I would purchase them in a now defunct store in an outlet mall on I57 that I would travel to every few months. For quite a while, I picked them up at my local Best Buy. A couple sets I even picked up at my local Wal-Mart. Later, I would find a copy of the Zombie Nightmare episode there, selling individually. The last few years though, I have gotten them directly from Shout, usually along with an incentive disc, or from Amazon.
After Volume 10 was pulled from shelves (thankfully, I already had mine, so you know, bullet dodged there) I made a habit of not waiting around to get the sets. There are still a couple sets from a year or two ago I haven’t gotten yet, but I will be soon now. It will be odd not seeing announcements on Satellite News (mst3kinfo.com) about the next set coming out.
The other elephant in the room here is that MST3K’s original incarnation on KTMA has NEVER gotten a release of any kind. The infamous Season 0 is the holy grail of DVD releases for many MSTies, including me. If the well has run dry on shows they can put out, why not look into KTMA DVDs? Sold per episode via Shout’s website seems ideal for the hardcore collector’s item that these would be. I would even be ok with a disclaimer about the quality of the picture, if pristine prints were not available.
Over the years, fans have speculated over the rights of the movies shown on MST3K. Already, more speculation is happening on these last 12. If history has taught us anything about this show, it’s “never say never.” Circumstances could always change for any of these movies. Plus, as far as any of us know, the situation could always be “more money.” It’s possible that Shout Factory will be able to distribute some of them as individual DVDs as opposed to a box set.
Besides, who ever thought that 18 years later we would get new episodes?