Mystery Science Theater 3000 was one of the most highly-praised and influential comedy TV shows of all time, a groundbreaking cult classic that launched multiple careers, turned scores of forgotten Z-list movies into beloved cult classics, inspired two generations of comedians and largely invented the movie/TV “riffing” comedy that now dominates the world of Internet video. So it was no surprise that creator Joel Hodgson’s fundraising project to revive the series became the biggest in Kickstarter’s history, with an A-list crew of comedians and writers already assembled and announced.
But one thing fans hadn’t been informed of was exactly where and how they’d be able to watch the now-planned 14-episode first season (the 11th in the series’ history) – until now:
Revealed during a panel at SDCC 2016, as reported by THR, the new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K) will be broadcast by streaming giant Netflix, with a tentative start date set for (in a reference to the series’ original theme song) “the not-too-distant future.”
So far, 14 episodes of the series are planned, with Nerdist personality Jonah Ray taking over as the new (human) lead of the series along with Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn as the voices of robot sidekicks Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot. Comedy icons Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt will portray the show’s new villains, Dr. Kinga Forrester and Son of TV’s Frank. Celebrity guest stars and special one-off episode writers are also expected to be part of the series’ new status quo.
The original premise of the series (beginning as a local access cable show in Minnesota before moving to Comedy Central from 1989-1996) found Hodgson as a hapless janitor trapped on an orbiting satellite by mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester as part of an experiment where he is forced to watch bad movies so that Forrester can find the worst film ever made in order to weaponize it and rule the world. To save himself, Joel creates two robot friends who help him endure the movies by making fun of the onscreen action, with the trio’s seated silhouettes seen at the bottom of the screen while films play out for the audience at home.
Hodgson eventually left the series for other projects, and was replaced as host by head writer Michael J. Nelson, who would shepherd the show through 5 more seasons, a feature film adaptation and a move to the Syfy Channel – where Trace Beaulieu’s Dr. Forrester and Frank Conniff’s TV’s Frank were replaced as villains by Mary Jo Pehl as Forrester’s evil mother as well as Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett as her minions, Dr. Bobo and The Observer. Following the show’s 1999 cancellation, Nelson, Corbett and Murphy would form the similarly-themed Rifftrax comedy troupe, while Hodgson and several other cast members formed their own act as Cinematic Titanic.
Further details of the series have been sparse, including what the new scenario for the series will be and which films will be featured. However, the Netflix news also comes with word that though most of the earlier cast members had declined to return, Pehl, Corbett and Murphy will apparently be part of the revival in an unspecified capacity to “reprise their roles,” though it’s unclear what that means as each played multiple recurring parts during the Syfy Channel era.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 will debut on Netflix.