“MOOOOOOOM!!! MST3K is on Netflix!” screamed my 9-year-old with genuine happiness. I had told him prep for our big Florida road trip by looking for Netflix downloads. I figured he’d load up a couple cartoons, maybe some Puss N Boots he hadn’t watched yet…I didn’t expect him to look for cheesy sci-fi movies. My heart beat with nerdish pride.
You see, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is more than some off the wall sci-fi show to this family. We go back. Waaaaaaay back.
Rick and I discovered MST3K while dating back in college. We didn’t want to miss a single episode, so we did what any TV fan did in the 1990’s…we TAPED it. Yes, I was a grown woman when VCR tapes were rad. Hit the fast forward button, and we where still watching those tapes as poor newly weds. Yes they were funny, but we also couldn’t afford cable. And when the kids came along? Yep, we kept watching those tapes, because where else can you find witty and funny TV that’s safe for a little kid to watch with you?
Gradually DVDs took over our tape library. First we replaced movies we had taped from late nights on Ch. 11–who remembers having to cut commercials with the pause button? Then as our favorites started hitting the $5 bin at Walmart we updated the “store bought” tapes. But never the MST3K, those always seemed too hard to find or too expensive to replace. So we kept our trusty VCR around so we could watch those old, scratchy MST3K tapes.
I know we’re not the only MST3K obsessed fans out there. Other people have uploaded their tapes to Youtube, which allowed us to finally retire the VCR. Well, from the living room at least. We still keep one in the basement, just in case.
So Wait, what’s MST3K?
Ok, so I realize I’ve been yacking about Joel and the Bots like you’re a fellow Misty. Maybe you are, maybe you aren’t. For those who can’t launch into a hardy rendition of “They Tried to Kill Him with a Forklift!” lemme back up a bit.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 started out as a low budget UHF show. It starred Joel Hodgson as a guy stuck in space with a couple robots, forced to watch cheesy movies by a mad scientist back on Earth. Yes, it’s a weird premise, but the bulk of the show was Joel and the Bots (played by three great comedians) making fun of bad, mostly sci-fi movies. It was like watching late night TV with your crazy friends.
MST3K + Netflix = Best Day Ever
By the way, I’m a member of the Netflix Stream Team, and yes, I get my Netflix for free through this partnership. But none of that matters, because I am ECSTATIC to tell you that Netflix has picked up a revival of MST3K! It starts April 14!
But you don’t have to wait that long to watch MST3K! Netflix has secured the rights to 20 classic episodes, spanning most of the series 12 years. They’ve got Joel episodes, some Mike episodes and some from the end years where Dr. Pearl Forrester and Bobo are the villains. I wasn’t a big fan of Pearl taking over as the main Mad, but what the hey–it’s still MST3K.
NEW on Netflix
I haven’t gotten anything official from Netflix yet, but from the chatter online and this awesome new trailer, we know that Dr. Forrester’s daughter Kinga is the new Mad Scientist, and that Deep 13 has been replaced with a moon base. Her sidekick is Son of TVs Frank, who might be a clone? We’ll figure that out later. The new test subject is Jonah Heston, with Crow and Servo back in their original spots.
Now the real exciting part of all this is the behind the scenes stuff! Joel Hodgson is still the master mind behind the show. He launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money from the fans to get the ball rolling.
The 14-episode Netflix run will have some new people in front of the camera. The Nerdist Podcast’s Jonah Ray taking the lead role, with web series creator and actress Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester, the new mad scientist. Her sidekick will be none other than comedian Patton Oswalt, as TV’s Son of TV’s Frank. Elliott Kalan, Joel McHale and Dan Harmon are the new writers, but e two members of the original crew, Bill Corbett and Mary Jo Pehl, are back on the staff. We’ll get to see them do guest appearances on the show too, as Bobo and Pearl.