Mystery Science Theater 3000: 20th Anniversary Edition

this four-disc tin treat marks a major improvement over previous packages of the cult comedy show featuring space-stranded robots and their human host forced to sit through the world's worst movies, which they rip apart via constant riffs.

 "First Spaceship on Venus" and "Future War" are two great episodes, but the cheesy Seventies cheapie "Laserblast" is even better (because it's even worse). However, taking the proverbial cake is the unbelievably awful "Werewolf," thus representing one of the 10 or so funniest episodes in "MST"' s decade-long run.

However, it's the extras that put this one over the top. Foremost is an excellent three-part documentary on the show' s history, from its local Minneapolis roots to life on two cable channels and a feature film, and with all the principals interviewed. I'm a fan going on 16 years now, yet there's stuff revealed here that even I didn't know.

A condensed taping of the cast and crew's recent San Diego Comic-Con International reunion unveils more backstage nuggets, with comedian Patton Oswalt moderating (and often gushing with understandable praise).

Shout! rounds out its set with the films' original trailers (about the extent of bonuses Rhino could ever muster), mini-posters specially created for this release, and a Crow T. Robot figurine. My only "? and I mean only "? complaint is that all this was tough to remove from the tin. More, please.

 "?Rod Lott