Some good things have come to us this week – the start of baseball season, the raising of a World Series banner, some sunny skies and amazing temperatures this weekend. Spring is finally here! But if you thought the pleasant surprises of this week were over, you’ll be happy to find out how wrong you are as Mystery Science Theater 3000 makes its highly anticipated return on Netflix this Friday.
Created by and initially starring Joel Hodgson, Mystery Science Theater 3000 got its start on Minnesota cable access TV in 1988. If you’re unfamiliar, the premise of the show is that a human janitor and his two robot friends are trapped in a space station and forced by villainous “mads” to watch awful B-movies as part a fiendish plan. The show itself is us, the audience watching on television, watching them savagely make fun of the terrible movie they’re being forced to watch.
The show quickly gained a cult following as its fast paced, ridiculous, and heartfelt stabs at the worst of Hollywood soon made it known far beyond the Land of 10,000 Lakes. MST3K was picked up by Comedy Central a year later in 1989 and became a permanent fixture in comedy, due in large part to a cast full of talented, hilarious people, like later host Mike Nelson, and mads Trace Beaulieu and Frank Conniff who later went on to found Rifftrax.
A whole generation learned proper plot-hole poking form from Hodgson and his crew, and many today consider it a hallmark of the development of their own senses of humor. It was absurd, smart, quick, silly and low-budget and we loved it with all of our hearts. MST3K ran through 1999 and for many, it was a sad departure.
And though we’re at a point of saturation as far as “television comebacks” with things like Girl Meets World and Fuller House banking on your sense of nostalgia for a new chance at old times, and Disney continues to churn out live-action remakes of their vault of classics, it was hard to believe we’d really see Mystery Science Theater 3000 again.
Then in 2015, Joel Hodgson came through, announcing what would turn out to be a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that would bring the show back. And while there were questions, especially when it was announced that a new host, Jonah Ray (of Nerdist fame) would be accompanied by all new mads and robot voices, the campaign blew past its original $2 million fundraising goal at warp speed, eventually raising over $5.5 million and shattering previous Kickstarter records.
All of that fundraising, waiting, and anticipating has now come to a end and Mystery Science Theater 3000 will officially be back for everyone tomorrow, April 14, on Netflix, for a full 14-episode run. Backers like me received early access to the premiere episode this past Sunday and having gotten a sneak peek, I can firmly say that it was worth the wait. Jonah Ray, who was extremely vocal about his lifelong fan status, has translated his passion for the show readily into his new role, bringing yes, a younger point of view, but also the same lovable good nature Joel had. Baron Vaughn and Hampton Yount, who voice Tom Servo and Crow, easily toss out a barrage of shade and jokes that fit both the old show and the new at once, and Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as the new mads bring Jonah the pain at a perfect pitch.
The movie choice was on point for the show, and within five minutes of pressing play, we were beaming. If you were a fan before, we can see no real reason you won’t be able to make the Satellite of Love your home away from home again, and make way for 14 more screenings of the terrible, laughable flicks you secretly love to hate and love to openly mock. We couldn’t be happier, and we hope there’ll be years more to look forward to with Jonah and the new crew.
Check out the preview trailer below.