1. Mystery Science Theater Hour – You’re probably familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000, the cult show from the ’90s that featured a guy and his robots making fun of bad movies. I’ve posted about it several times, as I’m a pretty big fan. Growing up with MST3k I was a little frustrated with the fact that it didn’t seem to “do well” or get more widespread acclaim, but at the same time I felt a more personal attachment to the show partly because nobody else liked it. It was mine.
Aside from the niche content and the unique style, one of the more formula-based reasons the show didn’t perform well is its length. It was a 90-minute program, occupying a 2-hour block – how many weekly 2-hour entertainment programs can you remember? That’s a huge chunk of time in your programming schedule for something that someone may not like. If a viewer’s not into MST3k, they’re gone for at least 2 hours. Comedy Central did something about this in 1995 by slicing episodes in half – airing part one one day and part two the next.
Called The Mystery Science Theater Hour, the MST team created custom intros and outros for some of their greatest hits . Head writer and star Mike Nelson reprised his role as then-Biography host Jack Perkins and offered meandering sometimes-but-not-always-true trivia about the movies and it was just great. It’s like a stoned TCM.
I don’t think it made the show any more successful, but maybe it didn’t need to be. It’s got a special place in my heart and the hearts of the handful of people I still share the show with. Also, it gave us some awesome bonus content that seems to have fallen between the cracks. Here’s hoping it makes it to a DVD.
2. Ukiyo-e Heroes – Here’s some really inspired ukiyo-e woodblock and print depictions of classic video game scenarios. Done by Jed Henry and Dave Bull, the art is available on their website. Here are a few of my favorites – definitely do yourself a favor and check them out to see more:
3. Kidd Video – Here’s an episode of Kidd Video, a show about a rockin’ ’80s band that gets transported to another dimension by a nasty bad guy. Kind of like the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. Exactly like the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. But with more ROCK.
4. Police Quest background compilation – Police Quest was a series created by Sierra games in the late ’80s and ’90s. They, along with King’s Quest, Space Quest, and Quest for Glory, helped define PC adventure gaming. Their games were noteworthy not just for the stories and puzzles but for the cutting-edge graphics of the day. Someone took the time to compile a set of backgrounds from Police Quest 2, released in 1988, and I’m so glad they did. It’s worth seeing the enlarged version.
So much cyan!
5. Bing Bang Boing – Amazing ad for an amazingly unnecessarily complicated game. This makes Mouse Trap look like hopscotch. I don’t know what that means.