Kickstarting the Satellite of Love: Help Joel Hodgson Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000

Not that Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever fully went away. Sure, my favorite television show of all time was canceled in 1999 after a 10-year run of nearly 200 episodes, but those of us who taped it kept watching (and circulating) those tapes, plus there were sporadic video releases, as well as the Cinematic Titanic, Film Crew, and Rifftrax projects by various members of the cast. (Rifftrax is still going strong, and I highly recommend their recent Megaforce riff.) Shout! Factory has also been releasing full sets of the show, and they’re also available in various places online.

But original series creator Joel Hodgson plans to create honest-to-goodness new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and he needs our help on Kickstarter to do it.

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Joel’s working to raise a minimum of $2 million to produce three new feature-length episodes of the show. Considering that in a lot of ways it’s starting from scratch, including building new sets and hiring a new cast and crew — that’s an important detail, that it would be entirely new people in front of the cameras — plus getting the rights to the movies in perpetuity, that’s not a bad deal for what will prove to be upwards of 270 minutes of new content. And if more millions can be raised, there will be more content:

Math is power!

The why of it is that there’s still plenty of bad movies left to riff, and lots of people who would like to see MST3K riff ‘em. No argument there. (Quite coincidentally, I’m currently in talks to bring my movie-riffing show Bad Movie Night, which I ended after its own 10-year run at The Dark Room this past March, to next year’s SF IndieFest, and possibly to return as a monthly concern after that.)

Something that makes me happy about Joel’s campaign to revive the show is that he doesn’t pretend Mystery Science Theater 3000 somehow ceased to exist after he left in 1993 and Mike Nelson replaced him as the host. For many years after, there was a “Mike vs. Joel” war among many online fans that even rivaled “Kirk vs. Picard” in sheer pointlessness. From the very start, the internet was full of pointless anger.

Anyway, here’s Joel’s joke about what will happen if they raise $1 billion:

Finally, if we raise $1 BILLION — stay with me on this one — we’re going to adopt a real live teenage boy and “Truman Show” him into believing he is the Pumaman!

The Pumaman was an episode from 1998, long after Joel left the show! That warms my ecumenical heart.

“Keep Circulating the URL” is Joel’s repurposing the phrase “Keep Circulating the Tapes,” which used to appear in the closing credits during the early years to encourage fans to trade recordings of the show for people who didn’t receive Comedy Central, at least until the producers’ lawyers made them stop.

Not to brag about my MST3K fan bona fides or anything, but I included that same exhortation in the closing credits of my cable access show kittypr0n from 2002-2003.

So give early — before the Kickstarter ends on Dec. 11, preferably — give often, and let’s bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 back already.

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