Monday, October 10, 2011

Of pumpkin jack-o-lantern art and MST3K/Twitter

The pumpkins my neighbor bought are turning into real works of art! I've never seen one this good!

Two weeks ago, lacking my regular tv show to watch due to having stopped for the season, (The Closer) I fell into watching the new sci fi show Terra Nova. It is about people from 2146 traveling back in time to the dinosaur period to start a colony of humans 'to do it right this time'. If they survive the huge comet that supposedly wiped out all the dinosaurs and all the mammals down to rodent size, that is.

It's a bad show but the allure of time travel plus dinos plus not anything better being on TV at that time by default gives me, the couch potato, the impetus to watch it. But there is something eminently better than Terra Nova to watch while I'm watching Terra Nova. Let me explain.

In the dim, dark ages of 1988, before cable really got going, there was a man named Joel Hodgson who created a subversive sci-fi series called Mystery Science Theater 2000 (later changed to 3000 to sound more futuristic). It ran for 11 seasons until 1999, and won a Peabody Award. The series features a man and his robot sidekicks who are trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch a selection of bad movies, often (but not limited to) science fiction B-movies. To keep sane, the man and his robots provide a running commentary on each film, making fun of its flaws and wisecracking (or "riffing") their way through each reel in the style of a movie-theater peanut gallery, says Wikipedia.

Their comments were hilarious and elevated a bad movie to superstardom simply by the number of guffaws emitted by me. Enter twitter hashtag #TerraNova.

By listing the television show you're watching, hopefully a bad one, by its hashtag, the comments twitter-ers make are often just as hilarious as the old MST3K guys. Reading them plus watching a bad tv show at the same time is just as entertaining as if the show was good to begin with. Twitter streams dedicated to a particular show are the new Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Terra Nova is on tonight at 8pm on Fox. Twitter hashtag #TerraNova. Be there or be square.

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