Long-winded, multiple drafts discarded, message follows -
I loved the episode, I’m on my third rewatch… but I am seeing what some people seem to be describing/reacting to?
Something there is triggering people’s OCD visually, but I think everyone is describing the effect differently?
It’s odd, because I’m having almost the opposite feel from what you’re describing here?
It’s … too sharp? Too clean? It looks very high budget, but… it’s very … tight?
The increased use of green screen and virtual set pieces makes the environment feel much more flat, tight, small? There’s far less sense of the space around them (yes, pun intended). It’s all sharp edges? I believe that @timryder referred to it as “Flatimation” in another thread?
I think a lot of us in this community are extremely visual people? Look at the entire threads of pet/animal photos, food porn, bot builds, cosplays? The more visual a person is, the more likely they are to pick up on things that … just don’t look… right? Things that aren’t natural? That uncanny valley feel?
For me specifically, the green screen/virtual sets feel like I’m looking at the same shot, but in the past, it felt like it was through a 35mm lens, and now it feels like it’s through a 1000mm lens? It’s the same shot, but it all feels tighter? Almost claustrophobic? Through a paper towel tube? It’s not a “flames, flaming out of the sides of my face” OCD triggering thing, but I can completely understand how it can be exactly that jarring to some people?
Also… Virtual sets are hard? Even Fox Sports Race Hub doesn’t always … feel right? And, Fox has a Hell of a lot more physical space and a McLarge Huge budget to work with for that virtual set? There have been plenty of Race Hub episodes where I’ve thought to myself, “Can’t we just go back to the set from 2010?” That this MST3K S13 exists at all, and looks this good, is fraking amazing.
I think we all need to remember two things about all of this -
1: It could have been billions and billions and billions of times worse? We all need to remember that when the Kickstarter was going, the plan was for portable green screens and portable studio equipment to be sent to each cast member? (Correct me if I’m wrong, please) Everything would have been put together digitally after. This S13 is an order of magnitude better than what we were expecting to see a year and a half ago? We all really need to take a moment to appreciate that…
2: If the visual OCD people here are triggered by some of these things, imagine how aspects of this could bother all the very visual and creative minds who made it. Who worked day and night to make it right, to make it awesome? I’m positive that all of those amazing people have a very clear image of what they wanted this to look like, and the Covid world and budget and compromises required to deal with Covid and the reality of filming in the past year made that a huge challenge. But, they did it? They gave us what looks to be an amazing S13, an amazing cast, and a foundation to make and distribute more seasons in the future.
I expect that S14, S15, S16 , and beyond will have more and more physical set pieces again and bring back more of that sense of the space around the crew of the SoL and the Mads. And, the more they work with the virtual sets, the better they’ll make that look as well?
Each MST3K era has a style/feel to it, and everyone has a favorite that they love? For me, I love S0, S1 and S2 and the Live tour the most? But there are plenty of people who will always prefer the SciFi era, or the Netflix era over those? And, yes, ten years from now, there will be people who will very emotionally proclaim that this era, S13 and beyond, is their favorite, and that S13 Ep 1 is their favorite episode of S13? And, for them, they’ll be absolutely right. It’s just like there will always be people who love The SW Prequels more, or the recent sequels more? Everyone is going to find something to love deeply about these worlds.
Hell, I’m just excited for the rest of S13, especially seeing Emily’s episodes, and the Holiday Episode with all three hosts, and everything that comes after, S14, S15, S16, and beyond.