Before you start I’m not condemning anything here. I know why it’s being done, that it has to be done, and the problem is with me personally, not what they’re doing. Are we clear? This is a ME problem, not a Best Brains problem!
The official trailer is out for the official launch of the newest home for Mystery Science Theater 3000, the online MST-only “Gizmoplex”, named for bad guy company Gizmonic Institute. The site will be the new home of all things MST3k, from the original series from Comedy Central and Sci-Fi Channel to the revival from Netflix to the brand new web-exclusive season. For most Mystery Science fans this is awesome. It’s possible they won’t have to worry about which network or service is airing one of their favorite shows. In theory I think it’s cool as well, and it’s certainly good for Best Brains, the production company that creates the show. And yet if I understand what’s going on correctly I’m going to be missing out.
Here’s where you want to go in order to see the new season. You can get the season pass now or wait an episode at a time. I don’t know which is cheaper but sometimes spreading the fee out is better for the weekly budget. The page also has links to their apps on various smart device and streaming device platforms so you can watch it on a TV or a chocolate bar…I mean smartphone. All of this is very nice. What’s more, until the new season starts in May you can watch the entire library of the classic show, though I assume the same rights issues that lead to them not being able to release certain episodes on home video or other streaming service in the past will still remain, for free. Here’s where I go out.
Unless they have a workaround for those movies they only had the rights to because they were on a particular network, like the late-night schlock movie shows that inspired Joel Hodgeson, you can already see these episodes on Shout Factory TV. (We won’t include the illegal uploads but they were the ones who encouraged “circulating the tapes” for those who didn’t have Comedy Central or Sci-Fi Channel) I don’t mind ads, but if I read this correctly once the season starts the episodes won’t be up for free at all on the Gizmoplex. I don’t know how this affects the deal to stream on Shout Factory TV both on the site and on their channels on ad-sponsored streaming services like Pluto and Stirr, among others. Also will they continue to allow Rifftrax, one of the projects that spun off of MST3K with Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy, to offer downloads of episodes from their run on the show. That means if you want to see the show and don’t have the funds now is the time to see it all in one spot.
And when the new seasons starts I won’t be able to see it at all. Not having Netflix the only reason I was able to catch the revival was on IFC, and I’m convinced they missed a few episodes so there are shows from “the return” and “the gauntlet” that I missed out on. Unless this season airs on TV despite the comment that it won’t air on TV in the trailer, I’m out of luck. Now, I know this is a business. Even sticking to public domain movies they have to pay for the new virtual sets as well as the Satellite and theater set, the actors, and the staff that put the show together. I’m not complaining, I’m just saying I’m not going to be able to see these shows so while I’m happy for MSTies who can support the project, and given how fast the Kickstarters for these three seasons have gone there are a lot plus others who will just pay for the stuff at this stage, I’m not going to have the funds to be part of it.
Really I only have one concern that isn’t personal and that’s the decision to have three hosts. I don’t know how they’re going to pull it off. Jonah is coming back and Joel himself will be doing some (I guess Mike was busy or there would be four) and then Emily, from the live road show, will take some on. I’m guessing there will be some in-story reason, and given the nature of the show it doesn’t have to be good as long as it’s amusing, but that means the current host will be overshadowed by the original while liveshow girl won’t have enough space to show what she can do in a regular show. The holiday episode is supposed to be such a bad film from Kinga Forrester and TV’s Son Of TV’s Frank that all three hosts will come together, along with the bots. Are the same bots teaming with all three hosts? Will there be multiple “clones” of the bots, and how will all nine (assuming they don’t need another Cambot or where the robots introduced for the Netflix seasons come in) plus the three human hosts are going to be a lot of people. Joel’s own spinoff project, Cinematic Titanic, didn’t have that many riffers at once. It could be a mess. It’s nice to give Emily a spot given that people are still iffy about going to live events with a lot of people, but this may or may not work out.
I don’t want to bum anybody out, and let’s face it. Fans with the money to join in or already are joined in thanks to the season pass or funding the Kickstarter are going to be excited no matter what I say and they should be. I would be, but I’m not going to be able to take part. Hopefully an option will come up for tight and no budget people like me but right now I’m happy for the others…I just can’t get excited for me.