A few days ago, Shout announced that the next collection of original MST3K episodes, MST3K: Volume XXXIX, is very likely to be the last. This makes me a little sad. On one hand, Rhino and Shout managed to secure the rights to release far more episodes on DVD than I imagined possible back when the four-disc collections first hit the stores. On the other, they came so close to issuing all the episodes — after the release of volume 39 only 11* episodes remain unreleased. Unfortunately, those 11 include a few of my all-time favorites: It Conquered the Earth, The Quest of the Delta Knights, and The Amazing Colossal Man.
However, it’s not all that surprising that they couldn’t release all the episodes on disc. Most fans, myself included, knew for a long time that those remaining episodes were going to be damn near impossible for Shout to get the rights for. Simply, either the those who held various rights to the episodes demanded too much money or they just absolutely refused to negotiate in the first place, preferring that the MST3K version of the film never saw official release again. (For those not in the know, Susan Hart is the bane of many die-hard MST3K fans.) Still, it’s not entirely impossible that we won’t see one or two more finally see the light of day — Shout has issued single-disc episodes before and can certainly do so again. It’s my understanding, however, that is also very unlikely.
The melancholy induced by Shout’s announcement is more than compensated for by the return of the show earlier this year. I just hope that the fact Netflix hasn’t made an announcement yet about bringing it back for another season isn’t any cause for concern.
* Technically it’s 12, but since I have the original Volume 10 release as well as the “replacement” disc, my count is 11.