Originally, I had planned to write another iteration of kaiju of the week starring a flying turtle, but something too juicy not to write about just dropped on Netflix. Talk about a blast from the past! Both the original Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and a new version of the cult series called Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Return are now available on Netflix.
I showed both of my little brothers the show, neither one of them having any clue what they were in store for. The youngest just looked at me blankly and asked what the heck we were watching. The 18 year old seemed to respond to it more favorably.
The show is a bit of sci fi television cult classic, the original iteration running for six seasons before being cancelled then being picked up by The Syfy Channel for another three. The show followed intergalactic janitor Hodgson as he was forced to watch the most cringe worthy B movies the world had to offer by a villainous scientist. In order to cope with his torture, Hodgson built himself a crew of witty robotic allies(Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, Gypsy and Cambot). As they watch the film along with the audience, the robots and Hodgson lampoon the movie with their own commentary. Periodically through the showing, the crew takes an intermission from the movie in order to do some sketch comedy before returning to the film.
The show was never a big draw as far as viewership is concerned. The show earned its audience through word of mouth, home video release, and the early days of internet chatter. The show has been well remembered by geeks everywhere for its contributions to nerd culture before being a sci fi loving dweeb was the popular thing to do. So much so that when creator Joel Hodgson started a campaign to revive the series on Netflix via popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter in 2015, the campaign reached its goal of 2 million dollars for a 12 episode run within a week of launch.
The Return features some big names within the internet nerd bubble such as comedian Jonah Ray of The Nerdist Podcast playing the central protagonist, actress Felicia Day of The Guild and Geek And Sundry fame playing the arch villain, and comedian Patton Oswalt of the sitcom King of Queens as her bumbling henchman. The series also features cameos from Neil Patrick Harris, Wil Wheaton, Mark Hamill, and Jerry Seinfeld.
I was a bit disappointed with Netflix in regards to the original series because they don’t have all the episodes within its epic 10 season run. Instead they have compiled a collection of 20 episodes. It’s still worth a look through, especially for those who enjoyed the old series and would like to revel in nostalgia before moving on to the new series which has 14 episodes in its first season. Some of you may even recognize the film they watch in their pilot episode from this very blog. Featured in my first edition of Kaiju of The Week, the crew lampoons the Danish kaiju film Reptilicus. If you wanted to check out the movie, but didn’t know where to watch it, you can now check it out on episode 1 of Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Return! Talk about timing.
Do you have fond memories of Mystery Science Theatre 3000? Are you hyped for the show return? Let me know in the comments below.