With everything that’s happened to me this year it should be no surprise that I’m out of so many loops it’s a surprise my pants stay up. Or would be if I didn’t wear jogging pants or shorts at home. (It gets warm in BW Attic HQ.) So while I’ve hear they were doing another Kickstarter with the goal of creating a new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the show that inspired riffers and even some reviewers, I haven’t had the chance to really talk about it.
The history of this show is known to probably every diehard fan, known as MSTies, but here’s the short version for the casual and the curious. Comedian Joel Hodgeson created one of those shows where a host on a cheap set would show and make fun of some movie on a late Saturday night. Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark, got her big break there and hosts like Svengoolie continue the format. Joel created something different. With the backstory of a scientist and his two robots being forced to watch terrible movies while trapped on a space station, the show would change to a working stiff forced by a mad scientist and his assistant in doing so. Over time the working stiff and “Mads” would change but the formula would soon leave local television to Comedy Central and later Sci-Fi Channel. Eventually the show would make a grand return on Netflix, though I’ve seen all except one or two of season one on IFC. It has fans around the world, its own Pluto TV channel, and some of the cast spun-off into a similar project called Rifftrax, just without the skits that made MST3K popular.
Netflix only made two seasons and outside of a few live shows and streaming specials the series has gone dormant again. Joel is apparently not ready to see his creation disappear, and started a new Kickstarter where he’s finally planning to get around the issue of network cancelation.
The Gizmoplex sounds like a good idea…provided it’s not a paid subscription service because then I won’t be able to see it. I can’t even afford the previous host. Of course if they go with ad-sponsored they could go back to using the skits as bumpers. One thing I noticed with the IFC airing is that due to Netflix not using ads the skits just seemed to be there out of a sense of tradition. Even IFC couldn’t place them properly with their ad breaks. Plus it would be a way to continue funding the Gizmoplex without another Kickstarter. They might still need one for a new season, but not to continue the site. They could even partner with Shout Factory to host the old episodes. Rifftrax also offers the old episodes on their site. Then you’d have all of the MST shows on one site, plus the extras they bring up here and in a later update on the campaign.
Having written all that I noticed a recent update on the Kickstarter page discussing what the Gizmoplex will be, a virtual theater where you can interact with other watchers and various other features. It talks about as yet undermined rental and purchase fees for any classic or return MST3K episodes they still have the rights to the riffed movie for, though I don’t know what will happen to new episode. Old episodes can be found legally thanks to Shout Factory TV and Rifftrax plus the DVDs from Shout Factory proper so I don’t know that this is needed but I’m sure they came to their choice from a proper business model. As much as they want their focus on the show you do have to consider the business side of things. With that notation added, here’s the video update I mentioned.
I don’t know. Jonah looks a bit too gamey. Of course outright rejecting cannibalism I can only guess. Plus Crow doesn’t have a stomach.
Anyway, the extra shows would keep the series in people’s minds throughout the year. The bonus short would still draw people to the site if they get an update in their RSS feeds or emails, and if they host through YouTube or something we would see updates there. Having all the extra hosts though…I’m curious about. Since they aren’t doing live shows it’s nice to give Emily something to do as she did a good job before. You don’t want to lose that talent. With things opening up though I don’t know why they couldn’t shoot in the studio but I am also curious to see what they do with the idea of keeping everyone in separate locations. It would save on set design costs.
As of this writing the Kickstarter campaign has blown through the proposed $5.5 million as well as the updated total of $6.3 million, meaning not only will Joel return for two episodes (will he also voice the guy who flushes them the movies again?) but there will be a total of 12 episodes this season, 12 shorts, and 2 holiday specials. (I think we can assume one will be Thanksgiving given their history.) And they’re still taking late additions if you want in on all those perks. You can also watch streams on the official YouTube channel with even more updates on what’s coming. I’m still suffering that YouTube backlog so I hope to get there eventually but if you’re a fan of the series you have more reasons to be excited. I am.