Following Tuesday’s article We’ve Got Movie Sign!, where I discussed an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, I thought this would be a good time for this post.
Recently, I’ve found online that a lot of people, while they might be fans of MST3K, they might not know where to go to watch their beloved show. Here I will detail all of the outlets I know of for MSTies to get their fix of our favorite cowtown puppet show. Of course, if you know anywhere the show is available that I don’t list below, please comment or let me know on Twitter @detective651.
If you’re like me, you still appreciate physical media. Well, MST3K has been available on DVD and VHS tapes before that, since the last century. While Rhino started releasing DVD sets back in the day, Shout Factory has been producing them for a while now. Shout Factory’s upcoming release of volume 39(!) has been reported as being the final regular set. My thoughts on that news are available for you to peruse here:
Over the years I have purchased the DVDs from various outlets, but recently I primarily get them from Amazon.com or directly from Shout Factory. Typically, Amazon has the more affordable price. For the last couple years, Shout has started to release the DVD sets with an exclusive extra disc when you pre-order or purchase the sets from them. This has offset the extra cost for me in exchange for these exclusives.
Now, Netflix is currently the new home of MST3K. With season 11 premiering on the streaming service, they will be the source for new episodes for the foreseeable future. While they have the new shows they also have a selection of classic ones too. Fingers crossed that the new season has performed well enough that they will fund new seasons to come. I know in my heart that I would support another round of Kickstarter, but I would prefer not to.
This alternative streaming provider also has classic episodes. There does seem to be some crossover with the ones available on Netflix, but Hulu definitely has some that they don’t.
The manufacturers of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD sets also have their own streaming site at http://www.shoutfactorytv.com/series/mystery-science-theater-3000 At first glance, there is clearly a lot of the same episodes that are on Netflix and Hulu. Guess what though, unlike those services, Shout’s is free. So you can enjoy their assortment of experiments without a recurring monthly fee. There are also collections of other TV shows and movies on their site.
Episodes are also available on this platform. While they have several episodes for sale here, you also have the option of renting them if you don’t want to buy.
Another service that lets you rent or buy single episodes. As of this time, I can’t seem to find any that are watchable with their Amazon Prime subscription. So you’re dropping a few dollars with Amazon to enjoy movie-riffing antics here.
Online video juggernaut YouTube, has hosted episodes for years now. While there has been varying degrees of legitimacy of the shows, at one time you could find just about every episode produced. As is the nature of YouTube, the single episodes availability fluctuate and so there is no guarantee of what you are looking for to be there.
Now, there is an official MST3K channel on the service where you can find many episodes with annotations included, and an assortment of other related videos.
This alternative to YouTube hosts an all MST3K channel. Unlike their competition though, you can’t choose which one you want to watch when. Instead, it plays like a continuous 24 hour channel, with one show right after the last. You can just keep it on and watch all day and it gives you a more traditional television viewing experience. Their app also has a Shout Factory channel that I have seen show episodes also.
To give yourself an even more television like experience, you can simply watch it on TV. On Sunday nights, Comet TV shows 2 back-to-back episodes. After the original shows cancellation, I never thought I would be able to watch MST3K on broadcast television again. This is a fun time and now with the advent of social media, you can riff the movies yourself and others. Occasionally, I will participate on Twitter, but there always at least a few people giving it to the bad movies.
The best part of Comet TV’s system is that even thought they broadcast their channel, they also stream it through their website. This is actually how I watch since I don’t get their channel. I cast it from my computer to my TV.
The only thing I’ve noticed with this is that their stream doesn’t have the regular commercials that the channel has. Now, I know what you’re thinking “who cares, the less commercials, the better.” That would be true, but that leads to the repetition of the same programming promos and station logos that NEVER END. Commercial breaks are getting ever longer, and seeing the same things over and over again, make them seem even worse. At least it’s better than the “We’ll be right back” DVD loading screen-like image they used to use.
While this should be obvious, the newly revamped official website, MST3K.com also has a variety of episodes. In the past, that has not always been the case. At the most, they typically had clips of host segments (and questionable flash cartoons). There has recently been an initiative to make this site the hub of MST3K fandom, so episodes have come into the picture.
These are all the outlets I know of that you can enjoy humans and robots making fun of bad movies (or that I can remember right now). However, I know if you are a hardcore MSTie, there is probably another avenue that you have been thinking of the entire time you have been reading this. I am referring to the tape trading community.
I have decided to omit the tape circulators because so much of it has changed over the years. The big difference is that now so many episodes are available through much more easily accessible means these days. While I am not trying to diminish the importance of tape trading within the world of MST3K, their importance is not what it used to be. The fact that it is called tape trading should be a red flag for that.
While the community has evolved and DVDs are part of the equation, there are so many websites out there, with so many inactive ones included, it would be difficult to know where to start anymore. Possibly, I may do an article just dedicated to the tape trading world in the future.
As I stated at the beginning, if you know somewhere else you can catch MST3000 and are yelling at me through your screen right now, leave a comment and let me know. I’m always looking to spread the good word so the more the merrier. After I post this, I’m sure to remember another platform I’ve forgotten.
If you want to check out my review of The Sidehackers episode of MST3K it is here:
Be sure to check back for future episodes reviews.