If you’re a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the popular comedy series featuring a man and two robots riffing on bad movies, then a new Kickstarter campaign might just be of interest to you.
Creator and host Joel Hodgson has set up the crowdfunding campaign, with hopes of bringing the series back from the dead. If all goes as hoped, there could be up to 12 new episodes coming in the future, and who knows, maybe more than that.
You can read more about the campaign and watch the Kickstarter video for it below.
Here’s the pitch:
Hello, People of Earth. Welcome!
I’m Joel Hodgson.
Once upon a time, a television series called MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 was born. We debuted on Minneapolis’ KTMA, local television, on Thanksgiving Day 1988, as the world was in the final throes of Teddy Ruxpin-mania. That was almost thirty years ago, but for some reason, people still seem to like the show – it’s a mitzvah!
Our show has had a long, strange run. Across a UHF channel, a cable network, cancellation, a feature film, then another cable network, the show lasted for 12 years, two generations of hosts and puppeteers, 2 Emmy nominations and a total of 197 episodes before we got canceled again “for good” in 1999. Sadly, it was just as Prince predicted.
But maybe that’s not where it all ends.
Starting today, we finally get a chance to bring back MST3K.
With your help, we can create a new season of MST3K, prove there’s still an audience, and maybe even convince a network to bring us back for more.
Some questions are then answered, one of which is why bring back MST3K now, 15 years after it was canceled?
The simplest answer is: until now, we couldn’t bring MST3K back.
I’ve been thinking about ways to re-animate MST3K for over a decade… and over the last 15 years, I’ve met thousands of you who said that you wanted MST3K back too. But two things have finally changed that make this the right time. And I’m not talking about the legalization of marijuana or the proliferation of water jet pack use.
1. Crowdfunding gives fans the power to get what they want.
In less than two years, I’ve watched fans use crowdfunding to bring back Veronica Mars, Reading Rainbow and Super Troopers – all cult favorites, like us – and it made me wonder how MSTies would respond if we had the chance to return. Now we’re going to find out… and then maybe LeVar Burton can finally stop acting like he’s so much better than us.
2. We had to work through some complicated legal issues.
Even though we’ve always wanted to bring MST3K back, it wasn’t that easy. Thanks to the Last Will and Testament of one eccentric old heiress, the rights were tied up for years. It took time to work those issues out, but with the help of my friends at Shout Factory, a special chokehold I perfected in WuDang that I like to call “The Persuader,” and a night I had to spend in a haunted house as a term of the old lady’s will, we succeeded.
This summer, we finally got all of the rights cleared up… and now, like Orpheus, we can now descend into hell to hang out with a couple of wisecracking robots.
This is all very exciting if you’re an MST3K fan, but making it all happen is a bit complicated. The goal that’s been set is a whopping $2 million. This isn’t unheard of—it has been done successfully before. And it’s looking very promising at the moment, with over $450,000 raised in its first day so far, and 31 days still to go.
But for this Mystery Science Theater campaign, hitting that $2 million mark only means three new episodes of the show. In order to get six episodes, $3.3 million needs to be raised. To get nine new episodes, $4.4 million must be raised. And to get the full 12 new episodes…you guessed it, the total raised has to hit a massive $5.5 million.
I’m no expert in film and TV production so I can’t say for sure, but $2 million to make just three episodes of a man and two robots watching and making fun of terrible movies, as great as it is, seems insane to me. But again, I have no idea what stuff costs. Maybe they really, really wanna riff on Jem and the Holograms and Universal is looking to recoup some of their losses. And it’s not like any one person has to pay that much, so if you’re a fan and you want to be a small part of the return of Mystery Science Theater, throw some money their way and see where it goes.
The high goal also has a second purpose as well: proving the fans still want more MST3K. If they hit the goal and soar past it, perhaps a TV network or online channel will bring the show back for more after the Kickstarter episodes come and go.
You can read more about the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Kickstarter including messages from both Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, see what the rewards are, and throw some coin its way if you so choose over at the campaign page.