Disclaimer, of course I love Joel, his sensibility and work absolutely made the show what it is.
However, given the episodes available so far Emily’s episodes have by far been the funniest. The riffs, the sketches, everything about her experiments has worked. I love Jonah too, huge S11/12 supporter, but Beyond Atlantis and Dr. Mordrid are the winners so far in S13.
Overall she’s committed to the bit in a way that Jonah isn’t and Joel used to be. Jonah’s thing is being arch, which I like fine, but Emily captures that original wide-eyed sensibility,
She’s even fun behind the scenes. Watch her unadulterated joy when the makers of Demon Squad admit that it was shot in a former Pizza Hut.
I know there have been complaints. I found Kelsey Ann Brady’s choice of vocals jarring at first, then, after about fifteen minutes, awesome. It is much better than her attempting to impersonate a man (either Trace, Bill, or Hampton.) Her joke delivery, which is all that matters, is superb.
I wholeheartedly believe that source material makes or breaks an episode, and I wonder if subconsciously or not they gave “the new kid” the best movies for riffing. Santo is the only one that comes close to BA or Dr.M so far. Munchie was perhaps overhyped, it was awful but not in that magical MST3K way.
I know it’s the way of the internet to have to judge things as superior to others, but I don’t find it particularly useful. I think the season has been successful because it’s brought a lot of different energies together. So if you found an Emily episode to be your favorite that’s not only a thumbs up to her and her cast, but also to the whole team like Jonah who is heavily involved in directing and writing and Joel who oversees the whole ship. So a compliment to one is a compliment to them all.
They said on a recent post show Q&A that they haven’t written them for specific hosts, so while a joke may come out of Joel or Jonah or Emily’s mouth, the whole team is responsible for that because the odds are that the person or bot who said it, didn’t write it.
Tl;dr - it’s a team effort and everyone deserves the love for making this stuff happen
This season (and Netflix, too) have to compete with older episodes which have been part of my life for decades now. I’d personally hesitate to try ranking any one episode after only 2 or 3 views. But it’s great that you’re enjoying some of the new stuff so much.
I have to disagree. For me it’s Doctor Kabahl (mysterious financier from the future) at the top. Without him, we wouldn’t even have Emily, or Joel or Dr. Erhardt. And the Gizmoplex would still be full of meteor holes.
But srs, this season so far, this experience, keeps building greatness on top of greatness. Past stars, multiple hosts, livestreams, participation of movie creators & stars, Gizmoplex, video fridge, Synthia’s Selects, these forums, …. All in addition to the solid team that powered this revival through 2+ seasons so far.
I hope this won’t be the only season that we get to “HAVE IT ALL,” but I’m enjoying it all while we have it.
Considering the episodes were “assigned” to hosts after they were written, then the cast was working with what they were given. With almost every episode so far, I’ve thought “best of the season yet”. Sure, some of that plays into how the cast delivers their lines, but if the writers don’t give them the “right jokes for me”, then it doesn’t matter who is delivering lines that I don’t think are funny. Meanwhile, those same lines that I love are just plain unfunny to others.
I have to agree that I’ve loved Emily and her crew.
I also have to agree that every episode is a team effort, and it’s important not to just focus on the most visible member of the team.
Doctor Mordrid remains my favorite episode, but part of that is the movie itself, which fits my personal tastes.
I’m thrilled to have Joel back, and Demon Squad was a fantastic episode.
Jonah, Connor, and Baron are wonderful, too.
As a rule, I don’t pick favorites, but prefer to appreciate everything and everyone on their own terms.
What’s really outstanding about season 13 is that we have such variety available to us. Different hosts, different bots, different movie genres… And yet it’s all very much MST3K. There’s something for everyone, and anyone can find something to love in each episode.
I’m comfortable both agreeing with and disagreeing with this.
Emily’s been great, and I’ve loved her energy since seeing the meta-riff they did on Moon Zero Two last summer. Her Tom is just tremendous and I think not quite getting the attention he might because of Kelsey Ann. (For me the experience of Kelsey Ann went something like, “Hey, that’s a woman doing that voice, I wonder if I’ll be able to ada—damn, that’s a great Crow!” It was just that fast. She’s just that good.)
So, yeah, the whole team just rocks and I’m gonna hazard a guess that being on that tour really helped them forge a unique feel.
Joel’s energy is gonna be different. It wouldn’t work if he (and Josh) played it the same 40+ years later. But I really enjoyed it.
Just like I enjoy Jonah and his team, who now seem like the old veterans to Emily’s rookie.
And the fact that the Rookie team is SO good is worth celebrating. But, truth be told, I could rank them in any order depending on my mood. There all great, all unique, and Season 13 has been a monumental addition to an amazing show.
Honestly, it’s easier to rank the episodes based on how re-watchable to source movie is than to go by teams. The writing has been superstrong this season.
Beyond Atlantis though is almost the platonic ideal of a film that is perfect for MST3k. Boring and aimless, but with just enough weirdness, sleaze and tackiness to keep one focused for the team to do riffs on.
Santo, Doctor Mordrid, and Demon Squad are films that are fun to watch almost unriffed, because there is so much wonderful stuff happening in them, even if they’re not objectively good movies.
Bad cynical movies like Munchie and Robot Wars still have great stuff in them from the Jonah Crew. Looking forward to seeing them deal with a goofy dumb fun movie like the Gamera one next month!
I’ve never cared for pitting host against host. That being said, if I were to personally rank the episodes of this season so far, the top two are both Emily episodes. Naturally the films themselves contribute to that, but I am thoroughly impressed with how Emily and her crew are doing. Top marks all around.
None of this is to say that Jonah and Joel aren’t delivering, either. All are doing great this season, and my rankings will continue to change as more episodes come out.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about MST3K over the years, it’s that you can’t accurately rank them until you’ve seen them like 50 times each, over the course of 20 years or so. If you asked me right now, I’d probably give Best-of-Season to Beyond Atlantis, but in 20 years, it might well be Robot Wars or Demon Squad. And it changes from day to day, and it’s strongly impacted by my mood while I watch it.
I don’t think there’s any kind of objective ranking system, for either host or episode - things one MSTie loves, another hates, but that’s actually the main strength of the show, something for everyone.
I have to state that I think in terms of elevation (as in, the difference between the quality levels of the movie vs. the quality of the episode), then Beyond Atlantis wins. I tried to watch that movie unriffed 3 times and never made it through, but the episode is STELLAR.
And by that ranking, Demon Squad loses because the movie itself is so good.
What can I say? There are episodes I tend to skip (oy! Starfighters!) but I really love them all.
Team Emily are bringing a fantastic new energy to the show, but Team Jonah are just unflappably in the groove this season. I bet you could force them to watch six horrendously cheesy movies back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back and it wouldn’t even phase them. And then there’s Team Joel dropping in from the future to show these young whippersnappers how we riffed back in the early 90s, and killing it in the process.
So they’re all bringing something different to the table. And it could have been a bit of a messy hotchpotch of hosts with a jarring transition between episodes, but it’s not that, it’s a glorious smorgasbord of riffing goodness.
I try to shy away from comparison stuff (even as I admit that I do some of that from time to time) because it’s just all so good.
Team Jonah is impressively building and expanding on what’s worked so well in the Netflix years. Team Emily is making its impression felt right out the gate and taking the show to new heights with a dynamic group. And Team Joel is rocking it with outstanding riff work that comes from a place of battle-tested experience and the nostalgia appeal of the first host and the first Tom Servo, with Kelsey’s performance as Crow showing that she’s more than earned her place among these riffing giants.
I know that I have (or will have) all these episodes as digital downloads, thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, but I know full well I’m going to have to snap up the Blu-ray set on day one.