This is a good move for a couple of reasons. First, it'll attract MSTies who aren't necessarily regular RiffTrax viewers to the website to watch material they already know they like, and while they are there they will get exposed the more than 200 feature films, more than a dozen live shows and countless shorts that RiffTrax has accumulated over the years, which will grow the brand by bringing in holdouts who don't really know where to begin. (And if you still are having trouble with that after this, might I suggest checking out A RiffTrax Starter Kit, a feature I have written for RiffWiki.net to help newcomers navigate RiffTrax's body of work.)
Another reason this is a great idea is that it brings classic episodes by the principal RiffTrax lineup (Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett) into the RiffTrax library, where they so rightly belong. It would have been nonsensical for them to re-riff certain movies that are already major parts of their riffing legacy as a team, but this gives those riffs their due as essential aspects of the RiffTrax experience. They are not limiting themselves to the Sci-Fi Channel seasons, either, which is where the RiffTrax lineup originated. Episodes featuring Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, and Josh Weinstein will be made available as well. The releases will include new introductions by Mike Nelson.
I am particularly excited with the two episodes they chose to launch this program with, The Final Sacrifice and The Pumaman. They are both on my list of favorite MST3K episodes, and they were both parodied in my graphic novel, Mystery Science Storybook. Anybody who has read the book but are maybe not so familiar with some of the source material, this is a great way to get acquainted with them. And the reverse of that is that when you watch these releases, you can also pick up a digital copy of Storybook and see a whole new take on them. [/shameless plug]
I cannot more highly recommend either of these episodes, they were/are pillars that defined the Sci-Fi years and laid the ground for what RiffTrax would become. If you're a RiffTrax fan, you definitely need to experience these two movies. I'm excited to find out what they come out with in the coming weeks. It's like getting to know old friends all over again.
MST3K Monday on RiffTrax
MST3K Monday on RiffWiki
The Final Sacrifice on RiffTrax
The Final Sacrifice on RiffWiki
The Pumaman on RiffTrax
The Pumaman on RiffWiki
Mystery Science Storybook on Amazon
Mystery Science Storybook on Gumroad