And so begins the Sci-Fi Channel era. There was some nervousness going into this one, because you wanted to see them unequivocally hit a home run here. There really shouldn’t have been nervousness.
Yeah, Bill Corbett’s puppeteering would improve over time, but the vocal quality and character choices? Loved them. And Bill would keep defining and interpreting the character on his own terms, offering up his own unique take on Crow rather than trying to ape everything Trace Beaulieu did.
SPEAKING OF APE, we also get the first appearance of Kevin Murphy as Professor Bobo. Murphy goes headfirst into any onscreen role in MST3K, and his Bobo is no exception. It would be interesting to see those changes between Bobo at this point and Bobo at Diabolik.
Me, I love the Sci-Fi era triumvirate of Mads, but at this point, we had no idea things were going to go that way. That’s especially true because of how Bobo didn’t appear in the new theme song arrangement (a joy as always) and how it promised an endless chase.
And that endless chaser, Pearl? Mary Jo Pehl brought it. Just as Bill’s Crow was going to be a different flavor of Crow than Trace’s, Pearl Forrester’s approach to being the Head Mad was not a carbon copy of Trace’s portrayal of Clayton Forrester. As it should have been.
What I dug about this first episode was that it seemed to keep the universe of MST3K wide open with all the visiting aliens and adventures and shenanigans. It was a case where things were tweaked and adjusted and reshuffled (case in point, the Nanites, another quirky and welcome addition), yet remained ever so quintessentially MST3K.
It was just fantastic to see the gang back at it, to see Mike, GPC, Servo, and Crow demonstrate why this was and continues to be the go-to show, the Once and Future King.