Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rebuild of Elmer Studios, year four

Year four of Elmer Studios was, admittedly, a slow one. With twenty-five episodes done (and a twenty-sixth in progress as of this writing) it was the slowest year so far of the rebuild. There were a number of reasons for that slow-down, however, which do merit some explanation. One of the biggest reasons was simple length of the fics involved, with the last year featuring almost entirely long ‘series’ fics spread over the course of many episodes. If you looked at it in terms of actual numbers of fics done, there’s surprisingly few. Even then, that’s still a good amount of work, and bringing us a lot further along than we expected when we started the Rebuild.

This last year featured a number of highlights and interesting moments, including fictive firsts, the return of old favourite authors, lost prequels and fanfic reboots. It also featured its own story arc for a portion of its run. Finally, it marked some significant milestones in the history of the (new) Elmer Studios.

One Hundred Badfics on the Wall

The biggest milestone for us was passing episode 300 (or 100, or 303 or whatever) of the “new” Elmer Studios. By anybody’s standards, that’s a good run; even in the good old days of the MSTing community, I’d be hard pressed to think that anybody reached 100. The fact that, strictly speaking, it was 251 (or 254…) makes it even more of an accomplishment. That alone also meant that we were now at two-thirds of the original Elmer Studios run, but in significantly less time.

Rebuilding Rebuilds that are not Rebuilds

Our celebration of episode 100 was done with a fic that was very near and dear to us, albeit one that was not actually a part of Elmer Studios history. Tales of the Red Knight Saber was one of the first MSTings that we read, and one of the very first with an entirely non-standard cast. It was what planted the idea that ‘we could do this’ in our heads. Using our own cast made more sense to us given that we had very little exposure to actual MST3K episodes at the time

If not for Red Knight Saber, and that MSTing in specific, Elmer Studios might have never happened. As such, our “rebuild that is not a rebuild” version is our own little tribute to that. Plus, and let’s be honest here, it’s actually a wonderfully bad fic; not enough to offend, just enough to be amusing.

unRebuilding its sequel/prequel/something ESPer Chronicles made a certain amount of sense as well, given that it was a part of the same continuity (Maybe) and sort of had similar themes and concepts. Like, say, a new grossly overpowered OC that was identical save for the name. Once again, it helped that the fic itself was inadvertently goofy and, as a bonus, was laden with awesome homoerotic undertones.

As an interesting side-note, while doing side-research I discovered that Bert “Skyknight” Van VIllet never ‘approved’ of his character appearing in either fic. He caused a stink about it and tried to demand that the author remove the fic and his character. Of course, given that this was all fanfic, he really had no leg to stand on.

The Horrible Secret of the Hanging Apostrophe

The year boasted a number of stand-out finds. Ordinarily, Zoids Chapter Two was the most prominent of them, being a fic that had been eye-balled back in the first Elmer Studios run but had never made it for obvious reasons. Long and featuring a classic god-mode over-powered centre of the universe OC, it was prime riffing fodder. Plus it also lead us to find more material that we will be using in future.

Another good find was Life’s Gunpla Battles Mk II, the replacement for a fic that was the replacement for a fic about a show about the fandom of a long-running franchise. It doesn’t get too much more metafictional then that. In many ways, it out-did its predecessor, becoming a long, morose tale of a character who seemed to genuinely hate their chosen fandom while seemingly being written by an author who felt compelled to write fanfic without enjoying it. (In fact, the only thing that could have been more Meta was The Ultimate Crime, which was a comic about the villains stealing that same comic)

But the real gem of the year was AYNGEL Project, the second in the Dyronverse trilogy that bridged the gap between DELTA Invasion and The Apocalyptic Battle. Or, rather, it would have had it not abruptly ended midway through a sentence. And while all efforts to find the rest of it have since come to naught, it still was a rich source of material.

In many ways, AYNGEL was the stand-out fic of the year. Not only was it more Tom Dyron (Which, as strange as it may seem, is actually welcome) but it helped to explain a lot about the ‘world’ of Apocalyptic Battle. It also served to bring us more of Steve, helping to cement his place as our least likeable (or most hated) character by pretty much out and stating that he was a creepy paedophile. On the other hand, his relationship with Tom proved to be a rich source of material, especially given all the naked wrestling. But in some ways, its greatest single legacy might be its lack of ending, leaving us to ponder what was meant to happen and, perhaps more importantly, where the hell it went.

In addition, AYNGEL saw us bring back our ‘villain’ in the form of Voice 2.0. Her clearly malicious and gleefully nasty nature made for a fantastic compliment to this fic. And, of course, we know that it’s not the only Dyron she still has at hand…

My God, B-Teams

This was another good year for the B-Teams. Their single greatest moment, however, has to be the conclusion of the long-running Girl on Fire, a Fanfic that seemed to stretch out over all eternity to the point where space and time seems to have no meaning any more. At several points, it seemed that the fic had been abandoned, going months between updates. And yet, it made it all the way through to its finale and, in the process, became the longest single fanfic we have ever covered in terms of wordcount.

And then we found its spiritual sequel…

Both Light-Flash and The Amazing Star Spider (Both by the same author) provided some interesting material simply because of the way they were written. Both fics are clearly ongoing, but by an author who has no clear idea where they are going or what they want to do. Inste

On the other side of the B-Team, comics continued to provide a lot of material. A rebuild of Robotech:The Sentinels Rubicon was perfect Voice 2.0 material, while also reuniting us with one of our most beloved of characters (And by that we mean the White Light of EEEEE). Likewise, a couple of digressions into nineties “Bad Girl” comics proved to be less ‘edgy and extreme’, and more ‘inadvertently goofy.’ In many ways, because Areala versus Razor tired so hard, it became dumber for it.

Things that don’t stink

It’s hard to call on the real stand-outs of the year. In many ways, AYNGEL Project was the most memorable fic of the year for simply managing to be so stupid in its efforts to seem tough and edgy. Plus, of course, it had Tom Dyron and some massive inadvertent but hilarious undertones which are always appreciated. In many ways, its lack of an ending proved to be an oddly fascinating twist, making the fic more strangely compelling for its lack of completion.

Conversely, Life’s Gunpla Battles Mk II was probably the most painful fic to work with of the last year. It became so profoundly miserable as it went along that portions of it became a hard uphill slog. And while the end results were amusing, it was definitely a hard-fought battle. Similarly, Leagueof Champions #6 proved to be harder going then expected due to a number of really icky plot elements that seemed to be starkly at odds with its intended tone.

The characters of the year would probably have to be Locke Cole and Kyrind Brandford from ESPer Chronicles and Tales of the Red Knight Saber. It wasn’t just that they were classic god-boy self-inserts or that they were basically the same character with the details (sometimes) changed, but the fact that they were both so damned stupid along the way. And, of course, an honourable mention also goes to the White Light of EEEEE for being the most strangely fascinating.

So what now?

That’s a good question. As mentioned, Episode 319 is currently in progress, and should be done soon. Following on from that, however, is going to be something entirely new for us. It’s very different and not our usual fare, but it’s definitely something that we’re looking forward to. So stick around, and enjoy the show.

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