Netflix. The Jonah Years

The Netflix Years. Seasons 11 and 12. Were they what you hoped they’d be? Or are they less than you imagined? Jonah, Kinga, Max, Growler, M. Waverly, the experiments? Has Joel found the Magic Ticket? Or is it still waiting to be found? Two Seasons in, did MST return or is it something else?

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It’s Mst3K and it’s good. I have to admit it took some getting used to, but the heart and soul of the series is there. It’s the movie riffing. Some of the season 11&12 episodes are now among my favorites. Like Carnival Magic, Avalanche, Mac &Me, Atlantic Rim. Listing them here reminds me how good they are.

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My thoughts on the Netflix seasons…

  1. The riffing in general was fine (though like many I thought they were trying to pack it in a bit too rapid-fire in S11) … and at its heart MST is mostly about the riffing so that makes it MST in my book.

  2. The voices of Crow/Tom are still too adjacent. It can split them apart, but it takes ‘work’ and in all the previous seasons they were distinct enough that it required no such effort … which in my mind is a problem … which was compounded by …

  3. The puppeteering just seems to be a bit off, especially the mouth movements. The CC and Sci-Fi years all used the lollipop method which made the movements snappy and better timed. The Netflix seasons all have this lag time between words and actions … and in addition the movements seem more subdued. Combine this with issue #1 and the it makes it that much harder to know who is doing/saying what at any given moment. IMO both issues are very important because knowing who is speaking and doing stuff is a key part of the experience and it just isn’t obvious enough.

  4. The bubble-wipe trick they used to make shooting cheaper/faster is too jarring sometimes. I know it saves them money, but they need to have a better solution.

  5. The host segment writing came off a wee bit disjointed, especially at the end of S11. Stuff was happening and it just didn’t seem organic. And things would happen with no explanation like the Gypsy drops, et al. Most of it was fine, but some of it didn’t make much sense and there didn’t seem like much of an effort to make it make sense either.

  6. I have to say, there was a bit TOO much spit and polish on some stuff. The 3-d printed figures and stuff and the SOL set gave a sense of being too sterile and clean. MST has always had a kitbashed, homespun flair to it that the Netflix seasons didn’t entirely hew to. Different style? Meh - sure but I say bring back a little bit of that rough and ready cheapness IMO.

Just my thoughts. Don’t expect agreement on them all. It was still MST which is still good, but I think the final product could be improved and I hope they are striving for that a bit more now that they are flying without a net.

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That is my biggest complaint with those two seasons. It just didn’t have as much charm as the original. That charm came from, as you say, that kitbashed, homespun flair.

I also did not care at all for the celebrity cameos. It felt needlessly self-indulgent. The original show thought of Leonard Maltin as a celebrity cameo, not Jerry Seinfeld.

But I overall enjoyed both seasons, especially season 12 when they recorded their riffs together (a big mistake not doing that in season 11 in my opinion) and they slowed down on the overall riffing a little so I could follow the movie’s dialogue.

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I loved 'em! There were a few things to get used to as some have mentioned but it grew on me rapidly.

I re-watch them at least once a year

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I enjoyed most of season 11 and thought the movies choices were inspired. I liked the new cast but thought many of the cameos fell flat. I found it recreated the spirit of the original run quite well although I rarely find myself returning to the episodes. I did not enjoy season 12. It starts out strong but quickly ran out of steam and the whole gauntlet storyline was misguided and poorly implemented. Here’s hoping free from the clutches of Netflix we can get back to good old fashioned stand alone riffing goodness.

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Seconded.

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In the very first episode (“Reptilicus”) I thought they were riffing too fast and too much… not giving you time to process one joke before going on to the next. Like the writers thought of so many good jokes they just couldn’t leave any on the table. But that improved by the second episode and quickly found a good pace.

Jonah seemed awfully happy to be there for a kidnap victim. I guess that’s something I liked about Mike… he always came across as a game-but-unwilling participant in the whole thing. And Joel had that zen thing going on. Jonah just seemed like he really had nothing better to do anyway. Which may well be how he intended to come across…

I never was a fan of Flying Servo or Gypsy poking into the theater, but that’s just the change-hater in me probably.

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It’s MST3K and it’s fine. Expecially when it brings in new fans, and gives me more new episodes to watch.

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It’s MST3K. It’s awesome…although I do find myself mostly rewatching the classic Joel/Mike episodes moreso than the Jonah episodes. I DO like the energy that Jonah brings to the role. :+1:

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The Netflix seasons are what I watch the most, because…
sighs I swear I’m not gonna brag about Growler again, but I just don’t get it! How come I see him as my favorite bot out of 6 (7 if you count Mike’s Robot)?!?!?!
Oh, and M. Waverly’s my second favorite.

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One thing that kind of bugged me is there was absolutely no lead in for the new bots. Howcome there wasn’t any “Who are these guys?” segment, or anything? I mean - these are new characters in the universe. Don’t they even get some sort of introduction?

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Season 11 is one of the best seasons of the show, probably top three. The movie choices were inspired and I liked all the characters.
I rank season 12 at the bottom. Atlantic Rim is a horrible movie to riff, anything by Asylum shouldn’t get any more money. I didn’t mind the gauntlet storyline, it was the Johna Escaping plot that was rushed and choppy. Both season 7 and season 12 have a short number of movies. While season 7 had some of the best movies to riff, 12 has only 2.

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I mean, I think they kind of introduced M. Waverly And Growler in The Loves of Hercules and At The Earth’s Core respectively? Is that not what you mean?

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It was the first time I’ve ever been able to catch new MST3k episodes “live”, having only had access to converted VHS tapes in the 90’s, and burned CR-R’s in the early 00’s.

I enjoyed it a lot, it’s a different experience, but it worked for me.

I liked Jonah’s “Grumpy older brother” vibe.

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I think the hardest thing was getting used to Tom’s new voice. Kevin Murphy is so engrained in my mind as Tom Servo. Baron is a good Servo, but it’s a different vibe that I had to adjust to. I had the same thing with GPC’s voice. I still kinda miss her voice, but it was nice to see some more ladies in the cast.

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I was very worried about what Season 11 would be like, right up until the riff, “We interrupt Reptilicus, already in progress, to bring you Copenhagen: The Movie!” At that point, I felt that all was well in the MST3K universe, and I was able to relax and enjoy. I could complain about some things, but I’m much more pleased than displeased.

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The voices of Crow/Tom are still too adjacent. It can split them apart, but it takes ‘work’ and in all the previous seasons they were distinct enough that it required no such effort … which in my mind is a problem

I agree… and the voices are just enough different from “classic” Crow/Tom as to make it a bit harder. IMO, Nate and Conor are better at the bot voices.

The puppeteering just seems to be a bit off

The thing that now distracts me, because once I noticed it I kept noticing it, is that Crow’s eyes barely move, if at all, with the new puppets. “Classic” Crow’s eyes made often-exaggerated movements that conveyed a lot of character. I thought that “new” Crow’s eyes were fixed in place until I noticed that, very occasionally, they move a little. I’ve noticed this with both Hampton and Nate, so I’m not sure if it’s a style choice or a limitation of the new puppets.

The 3-d printed figures and stuff and the SOL set gave a sense of being too sterile and clean.

I see what you’re saying… but another way to look at it is, “homespun” has changed a lot in the last few decades, what with 3D printing. In a way, Jonah’s laser woodcuts are still “low rent,” because that’s relatively old “maker” tech. Most modern geeks would’ve 3D-printed their kaiju, with printer tech that can make models as good as or better than commercial models. Kinga undoubtedly cheaped out on the SoL’s repair bay; the laser woodcuts are probably coming from some hacked-up 40-year-old CNC machine with a cleverly-refit laser out of an old CD-RW drive…

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I’ve been a fan for decades and the Netflix seasons are my favorite so far. To me as far as riffing goes they’re the most consistent.

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I liked Jonah from episode 1 of season 11. I think he’s a great host and I like his delivery style. The thing that made the bots not work besides the voices being too similar (it’s possible to differentiate but it is more difficult) is that, from what I understand, there were people running the bots and different people doing the voices. That’s a natural disconnect which makes them less lifelike and more a puppet. Yes, they’re puppets, but having the same people running them while doing the voices means that there’s a natural connection that makes them seem more real. I think it was a mistake to have those two aspects separated. No matter how careful you are, it’s not going to be exact.

I agree that the riffing is too fast in season 11. It’s good and I like a number of the episodes, but I wish they would slow it down a little bit. There was a discussion elsewhere about the riffing being a reflection of the faster pace of life now, but I don’t want my entertainment to be faster. I want it to be a source of relaxation.

Honestly, the biggest weakness for me in season 11 (I didn’t see season 12) was the Mads. The storyline didn’t work for me a lot of the time and there was a lot of forced humor. That doesn’t mean nothing worked, but most of it didn’t. Also, I agree with @FlyingSquid about the celebrity cameos. They felt like, “Look! We’re so cool!” instead of the Leonard Maltin cameo of “We’ve made fun of this guy and now he’s on our show!” That being said, I loved the Mesozoic BBQ segment. “JINGLE!”

I give season 11 a solid B, maybe even a B+.

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