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      Skrytaya ugroza Hyper Sapien: People from Another Star J'ai rencontre le Pere Noel The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Cyborg Legend of the Super Galaxy The Chrononaut Phenomenon: Divine Law Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Revenge of the Bimbot Zombie Killers Hvordan vi slipper af med de andre Fonotune: An Electric Fairytale Andy Colby's Incredible Adventure Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Interstellar Civil War: Shadows of the Empire The Ugliest Woman in the World Cacadores de Especies e o Simbolo Secreto This book will be essential reading for students and academics working in the areas of media and cultural studies as well as the sociology of culture.

      Douglas Kellner is George F. He is the author of Media Culture , Grand Theft , and many other books on contemporary theory, culture, and society. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechani- cal, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

      Media culture also provides models for everyday life that replicate high-consumption ideals and personalities and sell consumers commodity pleasures, solutions to their problems, new technologies, and novel forms of identity. Yet the terrifying spectacle of September 11 and its aftermath unleashed war and destruction, creating multiplying crises in the global economy and growing insecurity in everyday life. Every form of culture and more and more spheres of social life are permeated by the logic of the spectacle.

      Movies are bigger and more dazzling than ever, with hi-tech special effects expanding the range of cinematic spectacle. TV channels proliferate end- lessly with all-day movies, news, political talk, sports, specialty niches, reruns of the history of television, and whatever else can gain an audience.

      The music spectacle reverberates through radio, television, CDs and DVDs, computer networks, and extravagant concerts. Media culture provides fashion and style models for emulation and promotes a celebrity culture that provides idols and role models. Simpson trial, the death of Princess Diana, or the sex, murder, and related scandals of the moment. The megaspectacle has come, too, to dominate party politics, as its heavily dramatized presentations implode into the political battles of the day, such as the Clinton sex scandals and impeachment, the thirty-six-day battle for the White House after the election in , and the September 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent Terror War.

      Ever bigger and more encompassing corporate mergers suggest potential synergies between the Internet and media culture, and thus the information and entertainment industries. These interactions of technology and capital are producing fecund forms of technocapitalism and a technoculture, both of which promise that the new millennium will be full of novelties, innovation, hype, and instability.

      The new forms of war and politics suggest that perhaps there may even be a comeback for postmodern theory,2 which articulates breaks and ruptures in history and far-reaching novelties in the economy, politics, society, culture, and everyday life. There may also be a return to dialectical theory, as the interconnections between globalization, technological revolution, media spectacle, the Terror War, and the domains of cyberspace and the Internet become central to every sphere of existence, from the dramas and banalities of everyday life to the survival of the human species and life on earth.

      In the new millennium, media culture is more important than ever in serving as a force of socialization, providing models of masculinity and femininity, socially approved and disapproved behavior, style and fashion, and appropriate role models Kellner The celebrities of media culture are the icons of the present age, the deities of an entertainment society, in which money, looks, fame, and success are the ideals and goals of the dreaming billions who inhabit Planet Earth.

      As the human species prepares to embark on voyages into outer space, to explore inner space with the miracles of nanotechnology, and to remake the human species with biotechnology, the possibilities emerge that the media, consumer, medical, and other technologies of the present age will propel the human species into a posthuman adventure that may even exhibit the spectacle of the end of humanity in an age of spiritualized and transformative machines.

      Especially spectacular events, such as the Gulf War, the battle for the White House, or the September 11, terrorist attack and its aftermath, bring the TV day to a halt, with cable news channels suspending regular programming to cover the events of the minute. At the same time that corporate positioning and relentless mergers reduce the number of news sources and put them under more rigid corporate control, Internet sites propagate information and disinformation.

      Likewise, the study of Michael Jordan and Nike in Chapter 3 helps to illuminate global media culture and NBA basketball and how US sports have become glob- ally popular in the s, while sports deities such as Jordan have developed into worldwide celebrities. In Chapter 4 the megaspectacle of the O. Simpson trial in the mids provides a case study of the intersections of gender, race, and class in contemporary US society and the ways in which identity politics are fragmenting society into competing groups from which individuals gain their primary identity.

      It allows a diagnostic critique of worries about government conspiracies, aliens and terrorists, medical invasions of the mind and body, and mutations of the human in an era of technoculture and technoscience. A more TV- and media-savvy younger presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, used media spectacle to defeat the aging and disengaged George Bush in In an era of spectacle politics, reading political spectacles, such as the Clinton sex scandals and impeachment trials and the battle for the White House in November—December , can illustrate the broad patterns and trajectories of contemporary politics, culture, and society.

      Indeed, I will argue that these components of recent US political spectacle are inter-related and can best be read in the context of seeing how the cultural wars and presidential politics from the s to the present have played out on the stage of political spectacle.

      In Chapter 6, I provide a study of Presidential Politics, the Movie to discuss the vicissitudes of media and US politics from the s to the present. Two major spectacles delayed the publication of this book. I had undertaken to conclude my studies for book publication when in November I got caught up in the battle for the White House in the US presidential election.

      Election night provided one of the great media spectacles of all time, as the presidential election went from what appeared as a win for Al Gore, to an announced win for George W. Bush, to an eventual deadlock and the subsequent Florida recount wars, themselves grand political spectacle.

      I initially wrote up an account of election night that I felt would provide an excellent opening for my studies of media spectacle. The analysis of the battle for the White House became what I envisioned as a chapter in this book, and then eventually became a book in itself, Grand Theft Kellner , when I concluded that the media spectacle of the election and its aftermath was one of the great political battles and crimes of US history.

      Engaging the momentous spectacle as it unfolded, I produced another book-length manuscript, which I am now preparing for publication under the title of September 11 and Terror War: The Dangers of the Bush Legacy Kellner, forthcoming. Hence, I now have a media spectacle trilogy that I present as my gift to understanding society, culture, and politics in the third millennium. As the present text indicates, I did manage to complete my studies of Media Spectacle in a highly turbulent political and cultural situation.

      In some ways, postponing the publication of Media Spectacle while I worked on the major unfolding political spectacles of the era was fortuitous. The Michael Jordan sports spectacle that I have been following for some years took on added dimensions and pathos in —2 as Jordan attempted a comeback and as his failing marriage to his wife, Juanita, added a dimension of tabloid sex scandal to the Jordan saga.

      Hence, the Michael Jordan spectacle also emerges as more complex and contradictory as the millennium unfolds see Chapter 3. The O. Another round of celebrity sex scandal in his personal life also emerged as Simpson carried out a very public and tumultuous relationship with a lookalike of his murdered wife, Nicole.

      It was also becoming clearer that the Simpson spectacle was a bellwether event in the transition to a time of tabloid journalism in which, during an age of new media, celebrity scandals and the megaspectacle of the day dominated the news cycle Chapter 4. The conspiracy theories concerning the Simpson celebrity murder scandal continued to proliferate and pointed to the growing role of media machination and manipulation in contemporary US society and culture.

      Although the popular TV series The X-Files declined in popularity in its last two seasons, culminating in an announcement in January that the program would be canceled at the end of its ninth season, the narrative trajectories of the last two seasons make it clear that the alien and conspiracy motif intersects in a major way with fears over cloning, the genetic engineering of human beings, and the creation of a new species that could surpass and eliminate human beings, thus bringing the adventures of the human to a close.

      I am thus able to provide an overview of the entire TV series and its relevance during an age of cloning and genetic engineering Chapter 5. Further, as I noted above, adding the election, the battle for the White House in the Florida recount wars, and the events of September 11 to my studies of contemporary politics found in Chapter 6 of this text provided an enrichment of our understanding of the role of media spectacle in the politics of our time.

      Simpson megaspectacle continues to be of major import and fascination in the present age. Thus, the theories and models of media spectacle developed in the present book should be handy for years to come. Since I make extensive use of Internet research sources I should make some comments about the application and citation of this material. As is well known, Internet sources often disappear as sites shut down, take material off, or change location.

      The Internet is a cornucopia of research material, although it must, of course, be used with caution. At the beginning of each chapter, I cite previous publication sources and express gratitude to individuals who contributed to each study. For the entire book, I would like to thank Rhonda Hammer, who read, discussed, and was often engaged in the research, as when we spent a year or more watching the O. Simpson spectacle go through surprising twists and turns.

      Finally, thanks to Mari Shullaw for commissioning the book, putting up with the constant delays signaled above, and giving me solid editorial advice and support throughout this process. And, now, on with the show … Douglas Kellner, Los Angeles, August Notes 1 I suppose that this is the place to indicate the US-centric nature of my subject-position and that I am interpreting the world from the lenses of decades at the University of Texas in Austin and then from the vistas of the University of California at Los Angeles.

      Of course, things look different from variegated class, gender, race, and regional positions. And yet, although the focus of my studies is on salient phenomena of US culture and their planetary proliferations, in a globalized world, technologies, commodities, cultures, ideas, and experiences rapidly circulate throughout the planet.

      In the last text, Media Culture, I maintain that the contemporary era is an interim period between a modern and the postmodern epoch. As I try to show in the present text, one of the features of postmodernity is the increasingly important role of media spectacle in the economy, polity, culture, and everyday life. The Internet-based economy deploys spectacle as a means of promotion, reproduction, and the circulation and selling of commodities.

      The forms of entertainment permeate news and information, and a tabloidized infotainment culture is increasingly popular. Political and social life are also shaped more and more by media spectacle. Media culture not only takes up always-expanding amounts of time and energy, but also provides ever more material for fantasy, dreaming, modeling thought and behavior, and identities. Of course, there have been spectacles since premodern times. Classical Greece had its Olympics, thespian and poetry festivals, its public rhetorical battles, and its bloody and violent wars.

      And, as Dutch cultural historian Johan Huizinga ; reminds us, medieval life too had its important moments of display and spectacle. In the early modern period, Machiavelli advised his modern prince of the productive use of spectacle for government and social control, and the emperors and kings of the modern states cultivated spectacles as part of their rituals of governance and power. In this opening chapter, I will provide an overview of the dissemination of media spectacle throughout the major domains of the economy, polity, society, culture, and everyday life in the contemporary era and indicate the theoretical approach that I deploy.

      It describes a media and consumer society organized around the production and consumption of images, commodities, and staged events. They include media extravaganzas, sporting events, political happenings, and those attention-grabbing occurrences that we call news — a phenomenon that itself has been subjected to the logic of spectacle and tabloidization in the era of the media sensationalism, political scandal and contestation, seemingly unending cultural war, and the new phenomenon of Terror War.

      As we enter a new millennium, the media are becoming more technologically dazzling and are playing an ever-escalating role in everyday life. Experience and everyday life are thus shaped and mediated by the spectacles of media culture and the consumer society. Capitalist society separates workers from the products of their labor, art from life, and consumption from human needs and self-directing activity, as individuals inertly observe the spectacles of social life from within the privacy of their homes ibid.

      The Situationist project, by contrast, involved an overcoming of all forms of separation, in which individuals would directly produce their own life and modes of self-activity and collective practice. The correlate of the spectacle, for Debord, is thus the spectator, the reactive viewer and consumer of a social system predicated on submission, conformity, and the cultivation of marketable difference.

      The concept of the spectacle therefore involves a distinction between passivity and activity, consumption and produc- tion, condemning lifeless consumption of spectacle as an alienation from human potentiality for creativity and imagination. The spectacular society spreads its wares mainly through the cultural mechanisms of leisure and consumption, ser- vices and entertainment, ruled by the dictates of advertising and a commercialized media culture.

      In the culture of the spectacle, commercial enterprises have to be entertaining to prosper and, as Michael J. Hence, corporations seek to be more entertaining in their commercials, their business environment, their commercial spaces, and their websites. Consequently, advertising, marketing, public relations, and promotion are an essential part of commodity spectacle in the global marketplace.

      Celebrity too is manufactured and managed in the world of media spectacle. Celebrities are the icons of media culture, the gods and goddesses of everyday life. Celebrities have their handlers and image managers, who make sure that their clients continue to be seen and positively perceived by the public. Just as with corporate brand names, celebri- ties become brands to sell their Madonna, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, or Jennifer Lopez product and image.

      In a media culture, however, celebrities are always prey to scandal and thus must have at their disposal an entire public relations apparatus to manage their spectacle fortunes and to make sure that they not only maintain high visibility but keep projecting a positive image. Simpson murder trials and Bill Clinton sex scandals dominated the media in the mid- and late s. As Gabler sees it, Ralph Lauren is our fashion expert; Martha Stewart designs our sets; Jane Fonda models our shaping of our bodies; and Oprah Winfrey advises us on our personal problems.

      In the world of spectacle, celebrity encompasses every major social domain from entertainment to politics to sports to business. Sports have long been a domain of the spectacle, with events such as the Olympics, World Series, Super Bowl, soccer World Cup, and NBA Champion- ships attracting massive audiences while generating sky-high advertising rates. Sports stadiums themselves contain electronic reproduction of the action, as well as giant advertisements for various products that rotate for maximum saturation — previewing environmental advertising, in which entire urban sites are becom- ing scenes to boost consumption spectacles.

      Of course, following major corporate scandals or collapses, such as the Enron spectacle, the ballparks must be renamed! The merging of sports, entertainment, and local spectacle is now typical in sports palaces. Films are hyped into spectacle through advertising and trailers that are ever louder, more glitzy, and razzle-dazzling. During the fall of , there was a cycle of spectacles, including Topsy Turvy, Titus, Cradle Will Rock, Sleepy Hollow, The Insider, and Magnolia, with the last featuring the biblical spectacle of the raining of frogs in the San Fernando Valley, in an allegory of the decadence of the entertainment industry and its deserved punishment for its excesses.

      This created fears that future US adventures involving the Bush administration and the Pentagon would meet similar problems. Television has been, from its introduction in the s, a promoter of consump- tion spectacle, selling cars, fashion, home appliances, and other commodities along with consumer lifestyles and values. Following the logic of spectacle entertain- ment, contemporary television exhibits more hi-tech glitter, faster and glitzier editing, computer simulations, and, with cable and satellite television, a diverse array of every conceivable type of show and genre.

      These events promise an unending series of deadly spectacles for the foreseeable future see Kellner, forthcoming. Fashion is historically a central domain of the spectacle, and today producers and models, as well as the actual products of the industry, constitute an enticing sector of media culture. Fashion designers are celebrities, such as the late Gianni Versace, whose murder by a gay ex-lover in was a major spectacle of the era.

      Versace brought together the worlds of fashion, design, rock, entertainment, and royalty in his fashion shows and emporia. When Yves Saint-Laurent retired in , there was a veritable media frenzy to celebrate his contributions to fashion, which included bringing in the aesthetic and images of modern art and catering for the demands of contemporary liberated women as he developed new forms of style and couture. The consumption spectacle is fundamentally interconnected with fashion, which demonstrates what is in and out, hot and cold, in the buzz world of style and vogue.

      In a postmodern image culture, style and look become increasingly important modes of identity and presentation of the self in everyday life, and the spectacles of media culture show and tell people how to appear and behave. Earlier, Krens had produced a Guggenheim show exhibiting motorcycles and showing plans to open a Guggenheim gallery in the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas with a seven-story Guggenheim art museum next to it.

      In , the Los Angeles County Art Museum announced that it would become a major spectacle itself, provisionally accepting a design by Rem Koolhaas that would create a spectacular new architectural cover for the museum complex. Contemporary architecture too is ruled by the logic of the spectacle, and critics have noticed how art museums are coming to trump the art collection by making the building and setting more spectacular than the collections.

      Major architectural projects for corporations and cities often provide postmodern spectacles whereby the glass and steel structures of high modernism are replaced by buildings and spaces adorned with signs of the consumer society and complex structures that attest to the growing power of commerce and technocapitalism. Popular music is also colonized by the spectacle, with music-video television MTV becoming a major purveyor of music, bringing spectacle into the core of musical production and distribution.

      Madonna and Michael Jackson would never have become global superstars of popular music without the spectacular production values of their music videos and concert extravaganzas. Both also performed their lives as media spectacle, generating maximum publicity and attention not always positive! Michael Jackson attracted attention in in a TV spectacle in which he reportedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to digitally redo the concert footage he appeared in.

      Indeed, one cannot fully grasp the Madonna phenomenon without analyzing her marketing and publicity strategies, her exploitation of spectacle, and her ability to make herself a celebrity spectacle of the highest order Kellner Moreover, hip-hop culture has cultivated a whole range of spectacle, from musical extravaganzas to lifestyle cultivation to real-life crime wars among its stars.

      Musical concert extravaganzas are more and more spectacular and expensive! Food too is becoming a spectacle in the consumer society, with presentation as important in the better restaurants as taste and substance.

      Magazines such as Bon Appetite and Saveur glorify the joys of good eating, and the food sections of many magazines and newspapers are among the most popular parts. Long a major component of advertising, eroticized sexuality has been used to sell every conceivable product. The spectacle of sex is also one of the staples of media culture, permeating all cultural forms and creating its own genres in pornography, one of the highest-grossing domains of media spectacle.

      In the culture of the spectacle, sex becomes shockingly exotic and diverse through the media of porn videos, DVDs, and Internet sites that make available everything from teen—animal sex to orgies of the most extravagant sort. For decades now, video and computer games have obsessed sectors of youth and provided skills needed for the hi-tech dot. These games are highly competitive, violent, and provide allegories for life under corporate capitalism and Terror War militarism. Grand Theft Auto 3 and State of Emergency were two of the most popular games in , with the former involving high-speed races through urban jungles and the latter involving political riots and state repression!

      While some women and game producers have tried to cultivate kinder, gentler, and more intelligent gaming, the best-selling corporate games are spectacles for predatory capitalism and macho militarism and not a more peaceful, playful, and co-operative world. Indeed, in , the US military developed a highly popular and critically acclaimed computer game, freely available to anyone online for downloading and playing upon registration with the US Army www.

      The Go Army spectacle provides at once propaganda for the military, a recruitment tool, and participation in simulated military action. As military activity itself becomes increasingly dependent on computer simulation, the line between gaming and killing, simulation and military action, blurs, and military spectacle becomes a familiar part of everyday life. The terrifying spectacle of fall revealed that familiar items of everyday life, such as planes or mail, could be transformed into instruments of spectacular terror.

      The al-Qaeda network hijacking of airplanes turned ordinary instruments of transportation into weapons as they crashed into the World Trade Center twin towers and the Pentagon on September Mail delivery evoked fears of disease, terror, and death, as the anthrax scare of fall and winter made ordinary letters threatening items. And rumors spread that terrorist networks were seeking instru- ments of mass destruction, such as chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, to create spectacles of terror on a hitherto unforeseen scale.

      Moreover, spectacle culture is moving into new domains of cyberspace that will help to generate future multimedia spectacle and networked infotainment societies. My studies of media spectacle will strive to contribute to illuminating these developments and to developing a critical theory of the contemporary moment. Hence, the cultural studies in this book will be rooted in critical social theory and will themselves contribute to developing a critical theory of society by illuminating key features and dynamics of the present age.

      The studies will illustrate, in particular, the dynamics of media spectacle and an infotainment society in the current stage of technocapitalism. To paraphrase Max Horkheimer, whoever wants to talk about capitalism must talk about globalization, and it is impossible to theorize globalization without addressing the restructuring of capitalism. Culture and technology are increasingly important constituent parts of global capitalism and everyday life in the contemporary world and permeate major domains of life, such as the economy and polity, as well as constituting their own spheres and subcultures.

      It is now well documented that the knowledge and information sectors are key domains of our contemporary moment, although how to theorize the dialectics of the present is highly contested. The concept is negative and empty, failing to articulate positively what distinguishes the alleged new stage. Such concepts advance an idealist vision that excessively privileges the role of knowledge and information in the economy, in politics and society, and in everyday life.

      The new technologies are modes of information and entertainment that permeate work, education, play, social interaction, politics, and culture. In all of these domains, the form of spectacle is changing areas of life ranging from work and communication to entertainment and diversion. Previous forms of culture are rapidly being absorbed within the Internet, and the computer is coming to be a major household appliance and source of entertainment, information, play, communication, and connection with the outside world.

      This process has produced the most extensive concentration and conglomeration of these industries in history, as well as an astonishing development and expansion of technologies and media products. The merger itself called attention to escalating synergy among information and entertainment industries and old and new media in the form of the networked economy and cyberculture.

      There have also been massive mergers in the telecommunications industry, as well as between cable and satellite industries, with major entertainment and corporate conglomerates. The corporate media, communications, and information industries are frantically scrambling to provide delivery for a wealth of services. Consequently, the fusions of the immense infotainment conglomerates disclose a synergy between information technologies and multimedia, which combine entertain- ment and information, undermining the distinctions between these domains.

      The constantly proliferating corporate mergers of the information and entertain- ment industries therefore call for an expansion of the concept of the knowledge, or information, society into concepts of technocapitalism and its networked infotain- ment society. In this conception, the synthesis of global corporate capitalism and information and entertainment technologies is constructing novel forms of society and culture, controlled by capital and with global reach.

      The syntheses of entertainment and information in the creation of a networked infotainment society are part and parcel of a global restructuring of capital. Few theories of the information revolution and the new technologies contextualize the structuring, implementation, distribution, and use of information technologies and new media in the context of the vicissitudes of contemporary capitalism and the explosion of media spectacle and the domain of infotainment.

      The ideologues of the information society act as if technology were an autonomous force. They often neglect to theorize the interconnections of capital and technology, or they use the advancements of technology to legitimate market capitalism i. Gilder ; ; Gates ; More conventional and older sociological theories, by contrast, fail to grasp the important role of entertainment and spectacle in contemporary society and culture.

      Likewise, other theories of the information society, such as those of Daniel Bell , exaggerate the role of information and knowledge, and neglect the importance of entertainment and spectacle. Arguably, we are now at a stage of the spectacle at which it dominates the mediascape, politics, and more and more domains of everyday life. The result is a spectacularization of politics, of culture, and of consciousness, as media multiply and new forms of culture colonize consciousness and everyday life, generating novel forms of struggle and resistance.

      Digitization has deeply transformed culture, producing new modes of spectacle and new domains of technoculture. In the following sections, I will, accordingly, elucidate the methods of cultural studies that I am developing and their conjunction with critical social theory to signal the goals and context of this book. The turn-of-the-millennium period was one of dramatic technological revolution, exhibiting ever-expanding globalization with both celebra- tions and assaults on the bludgeoning global economy.

      There were intense cultural wars, which began in the s, between feminists and anti-feminists and those who would promote racial justice and an inclu- sive multiculturalism against those who asserted class, gender, and race privilege and who fought to preserve tradition and to oppose liberal social change.

      The US election already appears as a retro back to the future with the ascension of George W. Like those of Reagan and Bush I, the Bush II administration has used tax cuts for the rich and escalating military spending to destroy the budget surpluses that had accrued in the prosperous Clinton years, thus forcing cutbacks in government spending and social welfare.

      As the new millennium unfolds, the domestic US and global economy appears highly unstable and Western countries are threatened by new enemies within and without. Critics of the dramatic expansion of the media and their incursion into the new realms of cyberspace and virtual reality have worried about the obliteration of the real and the substitution of an ersatz, contrived, and manufactured pseudo-reality for the ordinary experiences of everyday life. Others fret that with the glut of information and entertainment citizens will become extremely distracted from the trials and travails of ordinary life and will increasingly seek escape in the realm of hi-tech entertainment.

      Yet other critics obsess about the vulgarization of culture, of its dumbing down and banalization in an era of special effects, spectacular media extravaganzas, tabloid journalism, and the glitter and glitz of competing hi-tech media. All of these critiques of media culture have been articulated many times before. Yet the expansion and technological development of media spectacle provide new life to these old fears, as well as growing worries that the Internet and cyberspace may generate.

      My conception of cultural studies involves critical interrogations of what key examples of media spectacle reveal about the contemporary condition, combined with critiques of the ways that certain media spectacles promote oppression of various sorts. Thus, while engaging the politics of representation and ideological critique in reading cultural texts, I also go beyond the texts to interrogate the context in which they are produced and received.

      This dialectic of text and context was developed by Walter Benjamin and T. Adorno in their conceptions of cultural texts as hieroglyphics or prisms that provide a source of critical knowledge of the contemporary era. So, too, can one interrogate the phenomena of media spectacle today in order to appraise the current forms of contemporary society, the prevailing dreams and nightmares, and the regnant values and ideologies.

      Following these models of critical theory, I closely examine some salient phenomena of media spectacle in order to provide insight into the vicissitudes of the contemporary moment. As I try to demonstrate, critical inter- rogation of cultural texts and phenomena can tell us a lot about the conditions of the world as we enter a new millennium.

      Reading the spectacle of some of the popular texts of media culture helps to provide insights into current and emergent social realities and trends. Popular texts seize the attention and imagination of massive audiences and are thus barometers of contemporary taste, hopes, fears, and fantasies. I then explicate the concept of diagnostic critique that guides my particular version of cultural studies. Mitchell has written a book on the history of dinosaurs Mitchell , highlighting our cultural awareness and construction of the species, and the different meanings attached to these strange beasts.

      Dinosaurs can be read as a polysemic spectacle that encompasses a wealth of images and meanings. The extinct beasts are a sign of radical otherness, of a species that no longer exists. Itself modeled after a UK TV series, the phenomenon reveals the global obsession with instant wealth and the transformation of knowledge into information.

      The CBS Survivor series, broadcast in summer , involved a dangerous endurance contest among sixteen contestants on a deserted island off Borneo and quickly became a major ratings success. On this show, contenders voted each other off each week, with the winner receiving a million dollars. The series outdrew the Republican convention and its concluding show was deemed by TV Guide to be the number one event of the television season January 8, Following the model of a wildly successful Dutch TV series, a group of volunteers lived in a house under the unrelenting surveillance of TV cameras.

      The denizens were not allowed to have contact with the outside world, and viewers voted on which characters should stay or go, until only one remained and won a cash prize. CBS bought the rights to air a US version of the series and broadcast the show in summer Buffeted by the machines of publicity, there appears to be no losers, as those voted off return to instant renown and receive invitations to become TV guest hosts, VJs, or even to appear in Playboy though one contestant on the Swedish Big Brother committed suicide after his exile, and it is not clear what the long-term effects of celebrity withdrawal on participants in these experiments may be.

      Even PBS got in on the act in summer with its reality-based show The House, which featured another survival endurance trial, this time involving a family suffering without the amenities of the consumer society and technoculture in a Victorian-era British middle-class house.

      The Brits also produced a more civilized reality series, Castaway, which forced a group of people marooned on a Hebridean island to co-operate in order to survive the rigors of bad weather and isolation. These reality TV series and their websites seem to be highly addictive, pointing to deep-seated voyeurism and narcissism in the society of the interactive spectacle. As the United States began its retaliatory bombing in Afghanistan on October 7, the war news was suddenly interrupted by the spectacle of a videotape of Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network believed to be behind the attacks.

      Bush, and those in the West, who proclaimed the war against terrorism as a holy war between good and evil, civilization and barbarism. Books, artifacts, and products bearing his name and image sold around the globe. Needless to say, entrepreneurs everywhere exploited his image to sell products. Websites presented bin Laden porn, tasteless cartoons, and computer games in which the player could dismember the al-Qaeda terrorist leader.

      Documentaries and news reports circulated endlessly every extant image and all footage of bin Laden, portrayed in either negative or positive contexts, depending on the media venue. Viewing the countless video and other images of Osama bin Laden, one is struck by his eyes.

      The al-Qaeda terrorist leader never seems to look into the eyes of others or the camera when he speaks. Bin Laden seems to be in another sphere, above and beyond mundane social interaction. The Iranian leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini, by contrast, always had contempt, mixed with slight fear, in his eyes, which usually turned down and away from Westerners when he encountered them.

      George W. Bush is good at making eye contact with the camera, providing the illusion that he is speaking directly to the people, face to face, while bin Laden is staring out into space and speaking to eternity. To be sure, sometimes the camera catches a blank-looking Bush, his small eyes perhaps pointing to the littleness within. At other times, it catches his infamous smirk, which could reveal arrogance and contempt, or shows his eyes darting erratically from side to side, acknowledging insecurity and anxiety.

      The results for the West were disappoint- ing. Although bin Laden seemed to admit to foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks and gloated and laughed over the results, for the Arab world the tape was a fake. Such debates demonstrated acute differences in the hermeneutical capacities of audiences and critics throughout the world, vindicating the position long argued in British cultural studies that different audiences produce different interpretations of the text.

      Is George W. Bush a real president, or is he just acting out the sound bites fed him by his handlers, performing a scripted daily political act that he does not fully understand? Are the frequent warnings of terrorist attacks genuine, or just a ploy to keep the public on edge to accept more reactionary, rightwing law-and-order politics? Is the terrorist threat as dire as the US Department of Homeland Security claims or is it hyping threats to raise its budgets and power?

      While the —2 New Year spectacles and celebrations took place throughout the world, one could hope for a better year and future. The festival featured military and patriotic themes and projected war spectacle as the spirit of the new millennium. As unfolded, spectacle culture developed apace. The Super Bowl spectacle is arguably one of the biggest world sports events annually — with over million viewers on average from all corners of the globe. A hi-tech spectacle featured US troops watching live in Kandahar, and military personnel punching in statistical graphics, making the screen appear like a computer in a military system.

      As always, half-time featured a spectacle of music and entertainment, with Bono, Irish singer and U2 band member, just back from the World Economic Forum. Bono and Bill Gates had tried to persuade the world economic leaders of the importance of addressing the gaps between the haves and the have-nots, and caring about poverty, health, and the environment.

      A more somber performance provided a tribute to the victims of the September 11 World Trade Center bombing. Super Bowls are also spectacles for advertising, with websites collecting the ads and museums putting on the annual display. The ad suggested that the Pepsi generation now encompasses multiple generations with icons such as Madonna and Britney representing the Pepsi community.

      In other ads, Budweiser featured horses bowing to the Statue of Liberty and New York and a highly acclaimed spot in which a falcon swept down from an apartment to cop a Bud for a young man and his two female friends. Altogether ten Bud ads ran, sending the message that beer promoted fun and good times and that it was cool for young people to drink. While the past couple of Super Bowls had featured a bevy of dot.

      A highly propagandistic set of ads, made by the US government and shown as public service announcements, made a connection between drugs and terrorism, sending out a message that if you use drugs you provide money for terrorists. As for the game itself, it was a cliffhanger. Spirituality and faith in democracy are the cornerstones of our country. Other media spectacles, however, were producing rising anti-US sentiment. When George W.

      The ceremonies opened, however, with the usual hoopla and another major spectacle was under way as an estimated 3. Bring on the games and let media spectacle rule! The games, as it turned out, were a spectacle of scandal, nationalism, and contro- versy. A French judge broke down and confessed in a meeting that she had been pressured by a French Olympic group to award the medal to the Russians!

      When a Korean speed skater lost his gold medal to an American after being accused of a foul, tens of thousands of angry Koreans bombarded the Olympic committee with e-mail. Hence, nationalism and patriotism trumped the internationalism of the games and media spectacle triumphed once again. The spectacle was as outrageous as ever, with star-studded Hollywood royalty prancing along the fabled red carpet, wearing designer clothes and jewelry.

      Halle Berry was awarded best actress and appeared to have had an anxiety attack before she overcame her sobbing and thanked every black actress who had preceded her and all those who had helped her. Denzel Washington gained best actor award, just after presenting the iconic Sidney Poitier with a lifetime achievement award. The Academy Awards are also a celebration of victory, the primal US and global capitalist passion play.

      This is, after all, what media spectacle is all about. In this context, it is important to develop a critical theory of the spectacle to provide students and citizens with the tools to unpack, interpret, and analyze what the spectacles of the contemporary era signify and tell us about the present and the future. This project requires the connection of cultural studies with diagnostic critique.

      Media spectacle provides a fertile ground for interpreting and understanding contemporary culture and society because the major spectacles provide articula- tions of salient hopes and fears, fantasies and obsessions, and experiences of the present. Media spectacles also put on display the politics of representation, encoding current problematics of gender, race, and class. A diagnostic critique thus attempts to discern how media culture articulates dominant discourses and circulates opposing political positions around class, race, gender, sexuality, politics, and other crucial concerns of the present.

      Yet, cultural studies as a diagnostic critique not only engages in ideological appraisal of the texts and spectacles of media culture, but analyzes how they put on display social content, such as hopes and fears, circulate ideological discourses and political positions, and allow a diagnosis of contemporary pathologies, anxieties, political contestation, and ambiguities. For diagnostic critique, media culture also puts on display dreams and yearnings for a better world that provide utopian content that can be used for social critique and to mobilize political opposition see Kellner and Ryan ; Kellner Diagnostic critique engages social pathologies but also envisions healing and desires for a better world and social transformation.

      The media spectacles of the contemporary era are especially important for diagnostic critique. Barthes studied a range of phenomena from wrestling to soap ads, while dissecting their social functions and ideological meanings. The mythologies Barthes analyzed functioned to naturalize and eternalize the historically contingent forms of French bourgeois culture. Diagnostic critique also takes apart the mythologies of celebrity, sports, media culture, and politics, showing how they are socially constructed, infused with ideological meaning, and function to cover over social struggle, negative aspects such as excessive commercialism or exploitation, or the promotion of social justice.

      Driven by a demythologizing ethos, critical cultural studies wants to raise critical consciousness and to promote the construction of an alternative society. Furthermore, to paraphrase Paulo Freire ; , I am engaged in reading the culture and the media in order to read the world. A diagnostic critique uses critical social theory and cultural studies in order to teach students and citizens how to read their culture, how to see what media culture and spectacle reveals about the world, and how culture functions to shape desire, behavior, and identity.

      As I have argued before, it is important to overcome the dichotomy between seeing media culture as an all-powerful force of manipulation and as a mere popular entertainment that audiences can deploy for their own purposes Kellner Thus, my project combines media critique with media pedagogy, aimed at teaching how to read, analyze, and learn how the media both present a version of reality and also can be used to learn about social reality Kellner On this view, the texts of media culture help provide material for a diagnostic critique of the contemporary era whereby critical readings of popular artifacts and spectacles are interrogated to provide knowledge of the contemporary era.

      In Media Spectacle, I will accordingly engage in some close and detailed readings, contextualization, and analysis of the broad effects of major cultural texts and events deploying the methods of cultural studies, as well as use critical social theory to interrogate what the texts tell us about contemporary reality. While some critics talk incessantly about cultural studies as a historical phenomenon, or endlessly debate the method and concepts of cultural studies, I do cultural studies through dissection of the production of texts, textual analysis of its meanings, and study of their effects and resonance, deploying a multiperspectivist approach.

      The conception of cultural studies as a diagnostic critique thus combines using social theory to interpret and contextualize phenomena of media culture with developing close readings and situating of cultural texts to elucidate contemporary culture and society.

      By contrast, envisioning society and culture as contested terrains articulates the openings and possibilities for social transformation, and the potentials for resistance and struggle, as well as providing a critique of ideology and domination. While the politics of representa- tion are engaged with criticizing racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, and other forms of oppression, I also attempt to discern more liberating representations and social forces struggling against domination. Criticizing domination and arguing for a more egalitarian and just social order envisages progressive social transformation.

      This involves, in part, educating individuals to resist cultural manipulation and to become media literate. Thus, I am also interested in the promotion of media literacy, the pedagogy of learning how to read cultural texts critically and politically, and the use of culture to understand and democratically transform the world. I would therefore identify my project with that of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire ; who wants to develop literacy to teach people to read the word and through reading the word to read and transform the world.

      Consequently, a diagnostic critique uses culture to analyze the conditions of contemporary culture and society and to provide instruments of social change. It seeks to reconstruct disciplinary practice, drawing on a wealth of disciplines from textual analysis to political economy. And it seeks to transform society, providing a critique of domination and subordination and valorization of forces struggling for social justice and a more democratic and egalitarian society. Seeing cultural studies as a diagnostic critique and transformative practice thus seeks those phenomena that best illuminate contemporary society and that provide either obstacles or forces of social progress.

      The key texts of the Situationists and many interesting commentaries are found on various websites, producing a curious afterlife for Situationist ideas and practices. For further discussion of the Situationists, see Best and Kellner Chapter 3 ; see also the discussions of spectacle culture in Best and Kellner , upon which I draw in these studies.

      Moreover, while entertainment is certainly an important component of the infotainment economy, it is an exaggeration to say that it drives it and is actually propelling it, as Wolf repeatedly claims. Wolf also downplays the negative aspects of the entertainment economy, such as growing consumer debt and the ups and downs of the infotainment stock market and vicissitudes of the global economy.

      Reports indicate that in a typical US household, people with broadband Internet connections spend 22 percent more time on all-electronic media and entertainment than the average household without broadband. He thus ignores mergers in the culture industries, new technologies, the restructuring of capitalism, globalization, and shifts in the economy that are driving the impetus toward entertainment.

      Gabler also does not address how new technologies are creating new spheres of entertainment and forms of experience and in general describes rather than theorizes the trends he is engaging. The soon-to-be Governor of Texas, and future President of the United States, sold the new stadium to local taxpayers, getting them to agree to a higher sales tax to build the stadium, which would then become the property of Bush and his partners. Bush and his surprising success in politics, see Kellner and the discussion on Bush Jr.

      The 13th Floor portrayed a virtual reality gadget whereby players are transported to recreations of other times, places, and identities, experiencing full bodily fears and pleasures. Theoretical grounding, in turn, for the investigations is found in past works, such as Kellner and Ryan , Kellner a, b , Best and Kellner ; ; , Kellner See Kellner b and Best and Kellner In other words, we need to theorize both the novelties and differences in the current social restructuring and the continuities with the previous mode of societal organization.

      Such a dialectical optic is, I believe, consistent with the mode of vision of Marx and neo-Marxists such as those in the Frankfurt School. It is interesting from the perspective of globalization that recent hit TV formats have come from Europe to the United States.

      It appears in these cases that it is precisely the crassest and most commercial aspects of global culture that crosses borders the most easily. The Big Brother series continued to be a popular popcult phenomenon into ; see the collection of studies in Television and New Media, Vol.

      For a now classic analysis of the Super Bowl spectacle, see Reel Reel 93 timed the actual football action, from quarterback snap to whistle ending the play, and found that the four-hour spectacle contained a mere seven minutes of actual football action! Media culture and the triumph of the spectacle 33 21 On the concept of a multiperspectivist cultural studies, see Kellner By this, I mean cultural studies that analyze the circuits of production, textuality, and reception, deploying a dialectic of text and context to provide critical readings of media texts and that use the texts to illuminate the contemporary era.

      A multiperspectivist approach also deploys a multiplicity of theories and methods of interpretation to provide more many-sided readings and critiques. It is also an important form of cultural pedagogy that educates people into standardized fast-food consumption and ideological conformity. It is increasingly resisted and presents a spectacle of political contestation and opposition to globalization, as well as projecting an icon of global mass culture.

      The commodity spectacle promotes corporate commodity goods and services through a multiplicity of media and sites. Increased mobility, social fragmentation, and a situation in which young people had discretionary income helped generate an inviting environment for fast-food joints in the United States. Young people sought their own spaces and could hang out in hamburger havens. In turn, mothers were freed from the necessity of cooking meals at home every night, as more and more women worked and as the ethos of the service economy spread from class to class and region to region.

      And parents could rationalize the activity on the grounds that they were saving money and getting a good deal. Whereas previously people raised and cooked their own food, as advanced industrial societies evolved activities such as food production and consumption were themselves mechanized and rationalized.

      McDonald emerged, as well, during a time of processed food, in which science, technology, and industry entered into the food production process. These processes allowed families to renounce food production and to go and consume dinners in fast-food emporia. It was a period of transformation of the traditional family in which mothers were not expected to cook dinners from fresh produce every night and members of the family could go out dining alone or in combinations.

      It was an era of an increased pace of life in which pressures from work and multiple leisure activities cut into long-established activities such as dining, which could be speeded up to correspond with a quickened pace of life and the multiplication of the activities of everyday life.

      The factory farms that produce potatoes and meat are industrial units that utilize pesticides and other chemicals that are highly polluting. The strength of the analysis is the light that such focused perspectives shed on general social dynamics and the mapping of the macrostructures of contemporary social organization. The limitation is that the Weberian-inspired analyses often generate a one-sided and limited optic that needs to be supplemented, corrected, and expanded by further critical perspectives.

      While Ritzer applies the McDonaldization model to production and consumption, he largely emphasizes consumption and thus downplays the ways in which McDonaldization has revolutionized production — despite some references to Taylorism and Fordism Ritzer 24—7, passim. For, in addition to being a model for societal rationalization processes, McDonaldization is a key component of an expanding global technocapitalism in which world markets are being rationalized and reorganized to maximize capital accumulation.

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      Production stayed in Minnesota, hiring mostly local comedy talent like Beaulieu who also voiced Crow T. Robot and J. The first five seasons in this status quo, referred to by fans collectively as "The Joel Era," is seen by many as the Golden Age of the series overall. Interestingly, however, at this point it's also the most different-feeling in terms of the eventual majority of MST3K episodes and the myriad "riffing" comedy-series especially in the YouTube era.

      Despite the pretense of the bad movies being "torture," Hodgson's easygoing style and unassuming presence - partially the result, Hodgson would later explain, of being ill at ease on camera - gives the proceedings an affectionate tone. It's easy to see the creator's own lovingly hand-made cardboard and hot-glue aesthetic as being a creative cousin to the strange shoestring oddities being riffed, rather than an oppositional force.

      Perhaps the most famous episode of the Joel Era, Manos: The Hands of Fate, was a no-budget horror opus independently produced by a Texas small businessman in order to win a bet, and went unseen by almost any living person for decades before Hodgson and company unearthed it and transformed it into a new cult-classic. In terms of s basic cable programming, Hodgson's creation was a monster hit: Unquestionably Comedy Central's signature original series in the era prior to South Park and The Daily Show.

      A darling of critics and offbeat comedy fans, nominated for TV awards, winner of a Peabody, syndicated in bite-sized hour-long format as "The Mystery Science Theatre Hour" and possessed of a grassroots fanbase-explosion that would have likely produced an avalanche of merchandise in today's fandom economy. And while producer Mallon was aggressively maneuvering to expand the show's imprint to conventions, a better deal with Comedy Central and even a feature-film adaptation, the attention and pressure of a regular series were seemingly disagreeing with Hodgson's constitution.

      To the shock of many fans, Joel departed the series midway through Season 5 during the riff of the Joe Don Baker cop movie Mitchell with "Joel Robinson" finally managing to escape the Satellite of Love, albeit unintentionally and with an assist from Gypsy , with longtime head-writer Michael J.

      Nelson stepping in as the series' new regular host "Mike Nelson. While the core setup of the series remained the same and there are plenty of fans for whom the longer-serving Nelson is the preferred MST3K frontman , the "Mike Era" established itself as an ever-so-slightly different creature fairly early on.

      A quick-witted snarker with a classically "TV handsome" profile, obvious comfort as an on-camera personality and particular gift for obscure celebrity impression, Mike brought a markedly different energy to the proceedings than had Joel's laid-back straightman.

      The biggest change, though, was in the relationship of the main characters. Whereas Joel behaved more as an affectionate but occasionally-exasperated sitcom father figure to Tom and Crow, Mike and The 'Bots operated on a more equal footing: A trio of "best bros" somewhere between The Three Stooges and a drivetime talk-radio team.

      That new tenor carried over into the movie-watching segments, but the overall sensibility of the commentary remained fairly consistent with what fans had come to expect from the series - unsurprising, considering that Mike had been the head writer for most of the Joel Era as well. Core MiSTies remain strongly divided on every change the show has undergone not only Mike vs. Joel, but also a radical shift in lighting-design from the brightly-lit Joel Era to a darker "mood light" aesthetic adopted midway through Mike's tenure , but it's a testament to the series as both a strong concept and an ensemble production that MST3K not only survived, but thrived following the departure of its original creator - at least for a while.

      MST3K was the "crown jewel" original program that helped Comedy Central weather the lean early years when its lineup consisted of little otherwise than low-budget sketch series, stand-up comedy reruns from the HBO library and re-runs of obscure sitcoms like the failed pre-fame Jim Carrey vehicle The Duck Factory. But as the channel rose to cable prominence, the "bread and butter" of cable comedy had shifted from the weird and offbeat to "edgier" answers to topical, ripped-from-the-headlines network fare - and a 2 hour with commercial breaks puppet show about cheesy movies, staged in such a way that channel-surfers might think it was "only" a cheesy movie and skip right by, was essentially the polar opposite of what advertisers wanted.

      The 6th season drew lackluster ratings, thanks in no small part to a shifting time slot and claims from Best Brains of unfriendly leadership from new Comedy Central programming head Doug Herzog, who was the driving force behind a push for the network to move away from "niche" productions like MST3K overall. Herzog would ultimately cancel the series, though fans were at least able to enjoy an abbreviated final season wherein Doctor Forrester was joined by his equally-evil mother Pearl Mary Jo Pehl after the departure of Frank Conniff, with TV's Frank ascending to "Second Banana Heaven.

      The series even aired a proper finale, wherein the Satellite of Love drifted to the edge of the universe and Mike, Tom, Crow, Gypsy and Cambot transformed into noncorporeal energy beings - finally escaping the ship as Doctor Forrester undergoes a -inspired cosmic-rebirth complete with a giant VHS copy of the still-undiscovered Worst Movie Ever Made standing in for The Monolith into a Starchild - all designed to give fans a sense of closure should efforts to get the series picked up on another network not come to fruition.

      However, it wasn't the only "last chance" said fans would have at seeing the concept play out in its then-present form Directed and produced by Mallon whose aggressive push to turn the series into a theatrical franchise was later said to be among the main points of creative disagreement that had led to Hodgson's departure in Season 5 in , concurrent with the 6th and 7th seasons of the series, Mystery Science Theatre The Movie was a troubled production that despite strong reviews and an overwhelmingly positive response from fans served as something of a harbinger of the series' end on Comedy Central, where it struggled to "fit in" with increasingly edgy programming demanded by the network.

      Shot on more expensive but still deliberately cheap-looking sets, and making no reference to the earlier continuity of the series re: Joel or TV's Frank, the film otherwise takes the form of a standard episode - albeit one focused on a slightly higher caliber of "bad movie" in the form of the Universal Studios sci-fi mini-epic This Island Earth. The film was originally set up to be made at Paramount Pictures, but fell apart when the studio insisted that a movie version should drastically reduce or remove entirely the movie-watching segments in favor of a plot-driven "origin story" for Mike and The 'Bots.

      Universal picked up production instead, but ultimately dumped the film on the Grammercy Pictures subdivision for a largely unpromoted run in only 26 theaters in the U. MiSTies are nothing if not loyal, and a massive grassroots campaign to get the series picked up on another network eventually gained the attention of the newly-launched Sci-Fi Channel today called "Syfy" which, like Comedy Central back in the day, was looking for original programming to help it transition away from being a primarily re-run driven operation.

      Outwardly, Sci-Fi rolled out the red carpet for a new MST3K, granting it a giant presence on its original website and running specials to catch new viewers up to speed with the legacy of the franchise - though were not, however, able to air the original episodes see below. However, behind the scenes the road to a new season was slightly bumpier. For starters, Trace Beaulieu declined to return for an 8th season.

      Not only did that mean finding a new voice for Crow T. Robot comedian Bill Corbett eventually won the role , it meant that the series would have to make do without Doctor Clayton Forrester the last remaining link to the founding season , and the decision to elevate Mary Jo Pehl's Pearl Forrester to the status of new main villain was immediately controversial among fans, many of whom had not warmed up to the character during her tenure in the abbreviated Season 7.

      Additionally, the Sci-Fi Channel initially pushed the creators to shake-up the formula of the host segments, asking that the series establish an episodic continuity to encourage regular viewership and allow for new characters to appear - and most notably of all, the network mandated that they only riff on movies from the science fiction genre. As such, the 8th Season is easily the most unusual in terms of presentation. The basic format of riffs and interstitials remained unchanged save for the new single-genre focus, but outside The Theater the characters were now engaged in a series of comedic adventures.

      Drawn back to the Satellite and their physical bodies by unknown forces, Mike and The 'Bots find themselves now centuries into the future, at first confronting an Earth turned into a Planet of The Apes parody and later visiting and accidentally destroying other worlds and even taking a time-travel trip to Ancient Rome - pursued all the while by a similarly time-displaced Pearl Forrester, who aims to continue her son's bad movie experiments aided by her henchmen Dr.

      Bobo an ape scientist played by Kevin Murphy and Brain Guy aka "The Observer," a parody of Star Trek -style "advanced being" aliens, played by Corbett, who carries his own brain in a glass dish. Odd-season-out or not, Season 8 was a solid initial success for Sci-Fi and MiSTie fans received it with overwhelming positivity, eventually embracing Pehl's more fleshed-out characterization of Pearl and anointing Bobo and Brain Guy as new fan-favorites. Sci-Fi would relax its upper-level interference for Season 9, loosening the "sci-fi-only" mandate for movie subjects and allowing the host segments to settle into a more traditional framing with the villains now operating out of "Castle Forrester" rather than continuing the "space chase" storyline.

      But the showrunners would still never again have the kind of freedom the series had enjoyed in the early Comedy Central days - it was eventually clear that things had seemingly run their course. MST3K would air for two more seasons on the network with Frank and Joel even making in-character cameo returns to celebrate the first episode of Season 10 , with several episodes from this Sci-Fi channel run now recalled as some of the series' very best both by longtime MiSTies and new fans who discovered it in its second run.

      But the quirky series eventually ran into many of the same problems that had scuttled its original run changing network leadership, the amount of airtime it took up versus the scale of its ratings compared to other fare and this time there was significantly less of an active attempt by the creators to boost fan campaigns for another relaunch.

      In the episode-proper, The Satellite of Love crashes back to Earth as Pearl Forrester calls it quits on the experiment. Mike and The 'Bots ultimately survive, with the final scenes showing him, Tom and Crow Gypsy having become a successful entrepreneur sharing a small suburban apartment and settling in to watch a movie - which happens to be The Crawling Eye, the first film riffed in the first Comedy Central season.

      You may find yourself wondering how a show that aired episodes over an 11 year period can still be considered something of a niche cult item. Star Trek , after all, only needed three seasons worth of constantly-syndicated material to accrue the pop-fandom by which all others must be judged.

      But new fans can't "discover" a series if they can't find it, and for a long time the bulk of Mystery Science Theater was all-but unviewable either in reruns or on home video. The series was always going to be a hard fit for syndication owing to its plus-sized length, hence why Comedy Central chopped up a selection of popular episodes into the MST3K Hour format and managed to syndicate them to limited success.

      But the biggest hurdle was the fact of how the series was produced. As you might imagine, licensing movies for rebroadcast can be expensive - even for old and not very well-known films. He tries to convince Lembach to stay a little longer. He bribes him with pie and a trip to Shenanigans. Lembach is staying! Meanwhile, in Castle Forrester, Pearl learns more about her family history.

      Apparently odd experiments run in the family. Luckily, Crow resuscitates him by shaking his hand. Segment 5: It's Grant Day! In Castle Forrester, Pearl has after a gentle reminder by Brain Guy and Bobo rediscovered her mission: taking over the world. MST3K Explore. SOL Crew. Robot Gypsy. The Mads. Explore Wikis Community Central. Register Don't have an account? Nelson Season Premieres. Edit this page. History Talk 0. Something hurtful. Something lancing

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