There are few among us who would deny the brilliance of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was the kind of show that defined snarky witticism for a pre-Internet generation and in many ways set the standards for today’s brand of tongue in cheek mockery. Even today, 16 years after the last episode aired, fans can and will sit around and recount their favorite quips and laugh.
Started in 1989, Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K, grew from satellite TV underground phenomenon to cultural cornerstone over the course of its decade long run. Its simple concept—a guy trapped in space with his robot friends watches and makes fun of bad sci-fi movies—captured the hearts of geeks everywhere with its offbeat humor filled with witty one-liners that turned riffing on terrible movies into an art form. Fans have mourned its loss for years since its cancellation, but with your help there might be a few more trips to the Satellite of Love in the near future.
MST3K creator Joel Hodgson has announced his intention to bring the series back from the dead via a new crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The campaign is looking to raise funds to produce anywhere from three new episodes to an entire twelve episode season, depending on the amount of money raised. After just a few hours into the campaign, fans had pledged over $180,000 to resurrect the series, setting the stage for a triumphant return that people across the world have been begging for since the show’s cancellation.
As noted by Hodgson on the campaign’s page:
“Ever since MST3K was cancelled, I've felt the world is missing something. Or at least, the world in me. When all the ‘pistons were firing,’ I think MST3K offered a pretty good model for how to survive the cheesy movie you sometimes have to live through. If you have a few friends that you think are funny, and who share your worldview, riffing can make the whole thing tolerable. Is it too much to say that MST3K was about friendship?”
Hodgson famously left MST3K in 1993 during the show’s 100th episode in an attempt to keep the series alive, following a dispute with producer Jim Mallon. He was replaced by Mike Nelson, who hosted the series for an additional 97 episodes and one feature film. The series has become a cult favorite which lives on in DVD format. Both Hodgson and Nelson have gone on to produce other “riffing” series—Hodgson with Cinematic Titanic, Nelson with RiffTrax—both of which are hilarious, but neither of which have the same charm as the series that started it all.
While there has been pushback by many in the crowdfunding community regarding celebrities using their status to crowdfund passion projects, Hodgson hopes that, in addition to raising the funds necessary to produce the series once more, the crowdfunding campaign will prove that there’s still an audience out there for MST3K. After all, crowdfunding worked for Veronica Mars, Reading Rainbow, and Super Troopers, a fact Hodgson notes on his campaign page.
The campaign is seeking to raise anywhere from $2 million to $5.5 million in order to ensure the production of new episodes, which, given the support and desire of MST3K fans, shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. But, if it’s going to happen, Hodgson needs your help, and every little bit counts. If you’re one of the multitude who have decried the show’s loss, now is your chance to help bring it back.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Kickstarter campaign ends on Saturday, December 12th, 2015.