Mystery Science Theater 3000 is looking to make a come back and this time they aren’t looking to any traditional network to get the episodes to fans.
Joel Hodgson, creator of the classic comedy series which sees an average guy marooned in space by evil scientists and forced by mad scientists to watch and make fun of old movies with his two robot pals, has taken to Kickstarter to launch a funding drive that would fund new episodes, as well as the creation of a specialty streaming service just for the show.
As explained in the Kickstarter page‘s introductory video, featuring Hodgson and the show’s current star Jonah Ray, in addition to the funding of new episodes, Hodgson plans on creating an online exhibition hub for the show called the Gizmoplex. The virtual online theater would be a space where the franchise could premier new episodes as well as host live screenings and community events. It would also allow fans to create and host their own MST3K watch parties.
The initial goal of the Kickstarter is $2 million which would allow for the creation of the Gizmoplex as well the funding of three new episodes. Additional goals would allow for the funding of more new episodes as well as the creation of Gizmoplex apps for cell phones, tablets, TVs and Roku and FireTV devices.
If the initial fan enthusiasm for the fundraiser is any indication, Hodgson will very likely reach all of the goals set, and maybe then some. In the first hour of the Kickstarter’s existence it had already received just over half a million dollars in pledges.
Hodgson successfully used KickStarter to revive Mystery Science Theater 3000 back in 2015, with a funding drive designed to launch a new season fo the show. The initial goal was to raise $5 million to to dun a new season of 12 episodes. In just over an hour from Hodgson announcing the project, the Kickstarter page has noted nearly $100,000 in pledges. Ultimately, fans would chip in a bit over $6.3 million, a new record at the time for a film or video KickStarter campaign, to restart the series. That level of fan enthusiasm attracted Netflix, who picked up the revival series, premiering a 14-episode season in April 2017.
The streamer would renew the show for a second season, subtitled “The Gauntlet” in a poke at the Netflix binge model, on Thanksgiving Day, 2018. Additionally, the revival of the series would spinoff a six-issue comic book miniseries plus three live tours.
Hodgson created Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1988 for local Minneapolis TV station KTMA, combining an idea he had for gently poking fun at bad old movies with a parody of locally hosted weekend movie shows. The shot was an immediate quirky hit with its local audience and was quickly picked up by The Comedy Channel, survived the channel’s merger with the similar-comedy themed Ha! network that produced Comedy Central, and would ultimately run for a total of seven season. Hodgson would leave the show midway through its fifth year, with Mike Nelson taking over the host/experiment subject duties. After the Comedy Central cancellation in 1996, the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) picked it up for another three seasons.
While the creative team behind the show has all gone on to do other projects, movie riffing has stayed close to their hearts and they invariably have found their way back to the form. Hodgson toured with several cast members performing a live riffing show under the title Cinematic Titanic, while Nelson launched Rifftrax with fellow castmates Bill Corbitt and Kevin Murphy. More recently Frank Coniff and Trace Beaulieu have been performing their own shows as “The Mads.”