Every ranked listicle is a matter of opinion, of course. But Paste did an exhaustive ranking of every single episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 – y’know, the show where the guy and his two robots watch bad movies in space – in advance of the show’s revival (which drops on Netflix Friday), and my personal favorite episode came in at #168 out of 177. That was when I realized that, for this show in particular, considerations of “best” and “favorite” episodes are especially pliable. Sure, there are a few commonly agreed-upon classic episodes, but each viewer’s personal canon has a lot to do with what they love about the show, and what they find particularly funny in a bad movie. So take this list with a grain of salt (as you do with all lists, presumably), but these are the MST3K experiments I’ve gone back to most frequently, along with where they’re available to stream. Keep circulating the URLs.
10. The Violent Years
I’ve met people who swear up and down that the MST3K crew did Plan 9 From Outer Space, which is demonstrably false (though the post-MST alum crew at Rifftrax eventually took it on). In fact, legendarily terrible director Edward D. Wood Jr. doesn’t turn up all that often during the run; they riffed two of his directorial efforts, Bride of the Monster and The Sinister Urge, as well as this 1956 turkey, which Wood wrote for director William Morgan. But it’s just as tin-eared and clumsily executed as any of Wood’s directorial efforts, a hilariously ineffectual juvenile delinquent melodrama about a girl gang and all of their shocking exploits. Chief among them, and the film’s comic highlight, is the gang’s violent “assault” on a necking couple in the woods (above). Bonus: the ‘50s social engineering short that precedes it, Young Man’s Fancy, is a hoot. (Available on Amazon Video.)