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Time Chasers

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If you can see a person's eye boogers, you're too close.
  — Mike

821 - Time Chasers
Air Date November 22, 1997
MST3K Director Michael J. Nelson
Running Time 90 Min
AKA Tangents
Movie Director David Giancola
Year 1994
Cast Matthew Bruch
Bonnie Pritchard
George Woodard
Peter Harrington
Preceded by 820 - Space Mutiny
Followed by 822 - Overdrawn at the Memory Bank

The Movie


Physics teacher and amateur pilot Nick Miller (Matthew Bruch) has finally completed his quest of enabling time travel, via a Commodore 64 and his small airplane. After being inspired by a television commercial for GenCorp, he uses a ruse to bring out both a GenCorp executive and a reporter from a local paper. To Nick's surprise, the reporter is Lisa Hansen (Bonnie Pritchard), an old high school flame. One trip to 2041 later and Gencorp's executive, Matthew Paul (Peter Harrington), quickly arranges Nick a meeting with CEO J.K. Robertson (George Woodard). Impressed by the potential of time travel, Robertson offers Nick a licensing agreement on the technology.

The following week, Nick and Lisa meet at the supermarket and go on a date to the 1950s. However, another trip to 2041 reveals that GenCorp abused Nick's time travel technology, creating a dystopian future. In an attempt to tell J.K. about how GenCorp inadvertently ruined the future. J.K. dismisses the eventuality, and states that there's enough time to worry about how to fix it before it happens. J.K. sees Nick as a threat to GenCorp, and due to the association with the U.S. Government, considers Nick's actions as treason. Nick and Lisa escape GenCorp and spend the remainder of the film trying to reverse the damage to the future.

Matthew Bruch in Time Chasers

When J.K. catches wind of this, he and Matt try to shoot down Nick's plane, killing Lisa in the process while Nick jumps out before the plane crashes. This ultimately culminates in a fight in 1777 during the American Revolution, the deaths of the present Nick, Lisa, Matt, and Robertson, and the destruction of the time machine before the original demo, thus ensuring that the majority of the film's events never happen in the first place. The film ends with a past Nick (now aware of the danger of his time machine) sabotaging his demonstration, and doing a pitch of how an elderly skydiver would be a better ad campaign for J.K.'s company. Furious about being misled, J.K. fires Matt. Nick deletes the 8 5¼" floppy disks that make time travel possible. At the end of the film, Nick talks to Lisa in the supermarket as he did in the previous timeline.


  • Director David Giancola was only 20 years old when he shot this movie with a miniscule budget of $150,000. The licensing fees paid by Best Brains for its use in this episode helped pull the original movie out of the red.
  • The movie also goes by the name, "Tangents" [1]
  • According to David Giancola, Castleton College provided several free t-shirts for the film with the idea that they would be hot sellers after being featured in a movie. The demand for the t-shirts didn't come until a few years later, when the film premiered on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
  • J.K. Robertson's office is actually the foyer of a local opera house. [2]
  • Crow's comment that a minor character (played by Vicky A. Bourn) looks like Friends cast member Lisa Kudrow was mistakenly accepted as fact by many MSTies, and Kudrow was listed in the film's cast on the Internet Movie Database for several years. [3]
  • As Nick and Lisa are walking in an alley in dystopian future Vermont, you'll see some nearly-destroyed posters attached to the wall. One of them is for Back to the Future! Nick also has a picture of Marty, Doc and Clara from the third movie's poster art in his house. It's in front of a window in his computer room.
  • The Time Chasers cast and crew had a reunion party to view the premiere of the MST3K episode. While some knew what to expect, some were not pleased at the "savaging" of the original film. Opinions differ, as some took to offense, while some "drank too much beer".
  • If you're interested, you can visit Mr. Giancola’s Edgewood Studios website here.
  • David Giancola said that Best Brains planned to use Peter Harrington, who played Matthew Paul in the film, in a cameo role, but Harrington's schedule didn't allow for this to happen.
  • The movie receives a 3.5/5 star rating in the Video Movie Guide, making it one of the highest-rated MST3K films. And it won a Gold Award at the Houston International Film Festival in 1994.

The Episode

Host Segments


Crow visits Young Mike

Opening: Tom (and Crow) want(s) Mike to use the phrase "Lost In Space", so that they can reenact Lost In Space.

Intro: Mike docks the SOL with The Widowmaker and has an unusually neighborly chat with Pearl, Crow joins in.

Segment One: Tom sends Crow back in time to convince Mike not to take temp jobs in order to make his life better. The blonde, irresponsible slacker Mike of the past proves difficult to reason with.

Segment Two: Crow returns and finds Mike's abusive brother Eddie (also played by Michael J. Nelson) there instead. Servo has now become Eddie's nervous Yes-Man and ashtray. He says that Mike's band ("Sex Factory") was actually doing very well, when Mike got hit in the head, by a girl fan's big hotel room key, and died. Says he got that job since that 'sleepy eyed guy left.'


The Alternate universe created by Crow

Segment Three: Crow returns to the past and convinces Crow not to go through with his plan.

Mike & the Bots reenact "Lost in Space"

End: Crow wants Mike to say 'Gilligans Island', but backfires. Mike chats up Pearl again, and realises that another Crow is in 80s Wisconsin, working at the cheese factory he used to work at.

Stinger: "Matt, it's time for you decide if you're gonna be one of my team players or not."

Guest Stars

Quotes & References

Crow: I thought Night Court was on.
Night Court was a popular show from the 1980s - early 1990s about an urban city judge and the comedic cases he encounters.

Mike: Co-starring Bruce Springsteen's little brother, Wayne.
The actor shown very closely resembles a young version of New Jersey rock musician, Bruce Springsteen.

Mike: We could send Bob Saget to meet Charlemagne.
Charlemagne was the first Christian king of the Western world and ruled until 814; Bob Saget is a modern day comedian known for starring in Full House and telling very dirty jokes during his comedy routine.

Mike: Come to Martin's. WHAT UP?!
"WHAT UP?!" was Martin Lawrence's catchphrase on his 1990s sitcom Martin.

Crow: They're in Dar es Salaam!
Dar es Salaam is the largest city and former capital of Tanzania.

Servo (singing): "When you get caught between the moon and New York City"
A (butchered) lyric from "Arthur's Theme," from the 1981 film Arthur, starring Dudley Moore.

(A blonde, overweight extra is seen pacing in the background.)
Crow: I see Drew Carey's nemesis Mimi survived the Apocalypse!
Mimi Bobeck was a character from The Drew Carey Show, known for wearing colorful dresses and making cheap shots at Drew's weight.

Servo: You're gonna give me all your Soylent Green, man!
Soylent Green was a popular dystopian film of the early 1970s, starring Charlton Heston.

Crow: Michael Moore in 30 years!
Michael Moore is a famous (if not infamous) film director whose controversial documentaries includes Roger and Me, Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 911.

Servo: What, is this "Ironweed" all of a sudden?
Ironweed was a 1987 award-winning film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Mike: That guy needs chinderwear.
A reference to the Mads' invention from episode 505 The Magic Voyage of Sinbad—underwear for people with cleft chins.

(Camera pans to a large, bearded Minuteman soldier.)"Dr. Demento, Patriot."
Barret "Dr. Demento" Hansen is a radio host known for playing funny or silly songs on his show The Dr. Demento Show.

Tom: "Avante and quit my sight, young executive"
Parody of quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth

(A man rides on a horse, directing soldiers.)
A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
A quote from Shakespeare's Richard III.

(Nick is trying to foil Robertson's attempts to jump back to the present inside the transport.)
Nick: You wanna fly!? Let's fly!
Crow: I gotta million of em,' hot-cha-cha-cha!
A parody of the vocal stylings of the late actor Jimmy Durante.

(Nick is steadily taking his time climbing down from a tree that the transport crashed into.)
Crow: He's climbing an Ent!
Mike: Ommm, hum, get off me.
A reference to Treebeard and the race of Ents from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Video Release


  1. IMDB
  2. IMDB trivia
  3. Wikipedia: Time Chasers

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