Joel Hodgson is crowdfunding a new, twelve-episode Mystery Science Theater 3000 season via Kickstarter.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 was a beloved TV classic inspired by a simple premise: A janitor and his robot companions watch terrible, real-life B movies and crack jokes for the entire runtime. The series quickly found a devoted fanbase, and ran for twelve years before cancellation. Sadly, due to various licensing issues, the MST3K team has been limited in the number of episodes it could re-release on DVD. But series creator and actor Joel Hodgson has found a great solution – make new episodes! Which is why he’s started the “Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000” Kickstarter campaign, seeking over $5,000,000 to produce a new season of feature-length episodes.
MST3K originally ran for 197 episodes across multiple television networks before it was finally cancelled in 1999. While its cast and creators have reunited for successful follow-ups like RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic, they’ve never quite been able to secure enough funding to bring back the original series. So Hodgson is bypassing the producer model entirely, turning to fans to secure the licensing rights for more episodes.
“So the fanbase becomes the new evil overlords?” Tom Servo says in the Kickstarter pitch video. “Why it’s actually a new dimension of horror!”
Obviously, there are still some challenges ahead. Licensing agreements are a difficult beast, meaning a new MST3K season would need some serious cash behind it. The campaign’s $2 million minimum would allow for three full-length episodes, but additional funding would let Hodgson unlock a complete twelve-episode run. That’s also the point where Hodgson can better negotiate producer interest, fueling new MST3K episodes well into the future.
Of course, the MST3K Kickstarter campaign will have its own stretch goals and rewards. Outside of T-shirts, mugs, posters, and other merchandise, a few backers will be able to keep the Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot figures used in specific episodes. But for the majority of fans, I suspect $5 million will be worthwhile just to see the old gang riff on B movies once again.