In the not too distant past there was a guy named Joel Hodgson, trying to reboot Mystery Science Theater 3000. He hired an all-star cast, consisting of Felicia Day (Kinga Forrester), Patton Oswalt (TV’s Son of TV’s Frank), and Jonah Ray (Jonah Heston), as well as Tom Servo (Hampton Yount) and Crow T. Robot (Baron Vaughn). In order to fund his TV show, so he could finally just relax, he required a princely sum of $2 million, which was easily surpassed.
Pushing forward with the Kickstarter and subsequent add-on campaigns, as of Saturday, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 reboot had already notched up over the $5 million mark. As the 10 p.m. PST cutoff time approached, Joel streamed classic Mystery Science Theater episodes, later holding a live telethon with cohorts such as Jonah Ray. And as the clock ticked down, not only did the campaign hit its goal, it soared past it.
According to the official MST3K Twitter, thanks to more than 48 thousand fans, the show surpassed the $5.9 million needed for the bonus episode, climbing to a whopping $6.3 million on Kickstarter. It also cruised past Veronica Mars and Super Troopers 2 to become the largest crowd-funded online video of all time. Hodgson announced that, in addition to the special holiday episode (a la Santa Claus Conquers the Martians), the MST3K team will write up a 14th episode. Hodgson was especially vocal about the real purpose of the campaign:
“This isn’t just about making one new season: it’s about convincing a ‘conference table full of executives’ to give our show a home, so that we can make a lot more seasons.”
Now that Mystery Science Theater is back in action, fans won’t just be able to enjoy their favorite riffing robots (and captive host). They can also look forward to an array of fun cameos. So far, possible blips on the Satellite of Love radar will include Jack Black, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Hader, and Neil Patrick Harris, among others. The show will also have some stellar guest scripters, including Dan Harmon (Community), Dana Gould (The Simpsons), and Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty).
Fans of the series have been making do with some of the original cast and writers’ amusing post-MST3K work, such as Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic. And while both those incarnations are hilarious, due to their comedic pedigrees, nothing can really replace the tried and true shadowbox movie screen and mile-a-second witticisms of the cult series. So it’s with a joyous heart that fans can now look forward to a full run of Mystery Science Theater 3000. All that’s left to do is break out the projector, prep the Satellite of Love, and oil up the robots.
Of course, there are still a lot of questions about the renewed series. Even with a savvy cast and impressive guest writers, will the new SOL crew conjure the chemistry and magic of the original? It’s also uncertain where the reboot will dwell, and fan opinions seem torn between a return to broadcast TV and online streaming options. Wherever MST3K reborn lands, it’s great to have it back.