MOVIE SIGN!
December 12, 2015 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Mystery Science Theater 3000 lives! Joel Hodgson has successfully raised close to $6 million on Kickstarter to reboot MST3K. Hodgson projects that the money raised will fund 12 episodes of the series' new incarnation. The reboot will star Jonah Ray as its new host/experimental subject; Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn as the new voices of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo; Felicia Day as Kinga Forrester; and Patton Oswalt as TV's Son of TV's Frank. Many more guest stars have signed on for cameo appearances, and guest writers will include Dan Harmon, Justin Roiland, and Avenue Q's Robert Lopez.

In the lengthy FAQ for the campaign, Hodgson explains his vision of MST3K as a potentially generation-spanning series that periodically refreshes and reboots a la Doctor Who and Saturday Night Live.
posted by overeducated_alligator (100 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is good news. I like it very much.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:35 AM on December 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


Very proud contributor, here. The only way I could be made happier is if they chose "R.O.T.O.R." as their premiere episode.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:43 AM on December 12, 2015


Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
posted by glaucon at 8:46 AM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


!!!
posted by isthmus at 8:52 AM on December 12, 2015


Jerry Seinfeld also said he would come on if it got funded which is cool.

I'm super happy for Jonah Ray. He sounds like such a solid dude on The Nerdist podcast and he has a sharp, quick wit coupled with an encyclopedic knowledge of useless trivia. So perfect for the gig!
posted by lazaruslong at 8:56 AM on December 12, 2015


I am pleased by this. I'm a bit confused about where these new episodes will be available to view once they are made, but I am pleased by this.
posted by hippybear at 8:59 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Super excited for this! It was really cool to see all of the reveals throughout the campaign, from the main players to the celebrity cameos to the contributing artists (list here).
posted by neushoorn at 9:00 AM on December 12, 2015


You can view MST3K on UStream. I self tortured myself with one of those horrid mid 60s beach party movies for a bit yesterday.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:08 AM on December 12, 2015


I was into this until Patton Oswalt got involved.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:10 AM on December 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


Exciting! Echoing hippybear - where will the new episodes be visible?

Club MST3K indexes many episodes with full length youtube links.
posted by erebora at 9:18 AM on December 12, 2015


You know what? I think this will actually end well.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:22 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Between this, Samurai Jack, Evil Dead and Twin Peaks, reboots are actually looking good these days.
posted by Edgewise at 9:24 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm in, as a Christmas present to myself. It will be interesting to see how this progresses and the release of the new episodes.
posted by achrise at 9:24 AM on December 12, 2015


Twelve episodes PLUS a holiday special!

The estimated delivery for the digitally distributed episodes is shown as February 2017, so I'm not expecting to see anything before then.

I feel like a lot of this is going to rest on how Jonah Ray inhabits the jumpsuit.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 9:28 AM on December 12, 2015


@lazaruslong

You know, I was super skeptical about Jonah Ray for a long time, mostly because of that incident with Tom Scharpling where he drunkenly tried to steal Tom's beer. However, Jonah seems to have redeemed himself and made amends with Tom, which makes him okay in my book. I'm actually not super familiar with him past that, so I'm very interested to see how this will play out.

Also, Scharpling has bigger fish to fry these days when it comes to people stealing things from him.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:31 AM on December 12, 2015


Great news and not just because Hampton is one of the funniest comics I have ever booked for a show personally. :D
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:32 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Joel run of MST3K got through suicidal PTSD many many years ago. I was also a huge fan of the TV wheel. I have my tapes and eternal regret of not taking up a friend on his offer of a harddrive with all of them a few years ago.

So I happily contributed and I'm thrilled with every goal they reach and 100% uninterested in watching a single new episode.

I am very much okay with things being over. Stuff ends. Stories end. People end. Creative teams tap their vein and move on. Jokes get old. Something else becomes more interesting. I wish more people with great projects set out with an intended stopping point, did their best work to get to that point and then stopped.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:32 AM on December 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


Jonah is OK, he's like a non-shouty Chris Hardwick. Baron Vaughn is brilliant. The fact that its new people and new movies means it will be much more enjoyable than most reboots.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:33 AM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was into this until Patton Oswalt got involved.

So, it's not just me? There's just something about him that I find extremely off-putting. I mean, I've laughed at some of his standup in the past, but his acting? Ehh.

More importantly, it seems like a lot of the old guard were left in the dark. Frank Conniff didn't hear about the new Henchperson until the rest of us did, for instance. Ditto for some of the others guys like Trace Beaulieu. Sure, Joel doesn't owe them anything, and it seems like there's no real bad blood in either direction there, but as a fan of the old stuff it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:38 AM on December 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


While on one hand it looks like the old guard was left in the dark, at the end of the telethon, when everyone did a sing-a-long of the theme song, while everyone else was singing "a guy named Joel" only Joel was singing "Joel and Mike."

I don't know, it's really hard for me to think of Joel as anything but a super nice guy, I can't imagine him purposefully leaving out the old guard, especially since he seems to have made great pains to mention the old guard and how much he wants them back in almost every video he made for the kickstarter. Are the propositions he makes to them behind the scenes less friendly? I don't know, but it's just hard for to me to imagine soft-spoken Joel to be a jerk about almost anything.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:44 AM on December 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


While I was surprised with the total cast makeover, at this point I almost feel like characters changing is almost part of the MST3K aesthetic. And one of my favorite Rifftrax is the Dirty Dancing one, which doesn't have any MST3K allumni involved, so I know it can work.

I'm also excited to see what Rebecca & Steven Sugar's involvement results in.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 9:53 AM on December 12, 2015


So I happily contributed and I'm thrilled with every goal they reach and 100% uninterested in watching a single new episode.

Nothing personal, crush-onastick: I don't get you.

But seriously, I think it's been shown by way of Mike's successful run on the show, and the Sci-Fi Channel-imposed format changes, that the core of the show isn't the specific characters or jokes, but the premise itself. When Joel introduced Jonah and the others in one of the early updates, he mentioned that he'd always seen the show as something perennial like Doctor Who, where you could swap out the performers, writers, and other details over the years but still have a sense of conceptual continuity about it.

And with a property like MST3K, I think it was inevitable that it would one day be revived by its fans as both consumers and creators. We won't know what we really have until a year from now, but I'm optimistic that it'll be something that honors the original run without necessarily seeming like a retread.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:56 AM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I do often panic while making sandwiches, so that's fair.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:59 AM on December 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Cautiously optimistic.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:07 AM on December 12, 2015


Nobody gets me.

I'm the wind, baby.
posted by kyrademon at 10:11 AM on December 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


This was a no-brainer of a Kickstarter project to back. MST3K was extremely formative for me throughout my college years--it's directly responsible for some of my oldest friendships and my marriage.

The telethon was a delicious comedy of errors, plagued by technical difficulties. Dana Gould in full "Planet of the Apes" makeup as Dr Zaius as William-Shatner-performing-Rocket-Man doing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" was brilliant, and that magician they had at the end was great. Totally had Feelings when they started singing the theme song at the end, despite being annoyed as hell at the poseur band they'd had on earlier that clearly didn't know the words.

We've got Movie Sign! We're going to go on adventure, just like The Goonies!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:12 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The ramshackle-ness of the telethon was actually my favorite part. If anything, it proved they could still pull off the look and feel of 80s' television, now through the internet. The constant mic-cutting, feed going down, etc. (I'm not complaining, these are things I have genuinely missed about old television, the notion that things can go wrong and nothing is perfect. The fake ultra-professionalism of the modern TV era makes me ill.) As someone who worked in television news for a long time and was disappointed that it was boring and structured and not anything like Weird Al's UHF, the telethon actually made me hope for a future where "indie TV" stations broadcast online in a similar manner. Bringing us full circle back to the citizen funded UHF channels of yesteryear, all with their lack of professionalism and local celebrities and bad audio and broken feeds and yadda yadda. You know, back when television was full of regular people like you and me, not media professionals who have been taught to be "professional" every moment of the day.
posted by deadaluspark at 10:19 AM on December 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


Between this, Samurai Jack, Evil Dead and Twin Peaks, reboots are actually looking good these days.

I'm not sure how this fits into that list, but Amazon is going to bring back the live-action version of The Tick. So, that's a thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:25 AM on December 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


All of the old cast has been seemingly unanimous in their resentment of this thing since moment one. Those on social media have been supportive in the "I wish them all the luck in the world!" way while distancing themselves from it and being pretty open about their distaste for...something. I hate speculating and being all gossipy but with Josh Weinstein saying he's going to run a Kickstarter to see a dentist after biting his tongue all month (with hearty agreement from Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett and Mary Jo Pehl) and friend-of-the-cast Ken Plume near-openly antagonizing Joel for forgetting/excluding the original cast...it casts a pall over this whole thing.

As best as I can figure:

1) There's still a lot of resentment that the cast never shared in any of the profits from MST3K after the show ended. Mike wrote an open letter about his lack of involvement in the new project stemming from this fact. The blame for this has been placed at Jim Mallon's feet for so long that it's hard to come to terms that this is just as much Joel's doing as it is his.

1a) A lot of the good will Joel is trading on comes from the work of people who were never compensated for it in the way they should've been and the reboot has been set up so that this under-compensation remains in place.

2) The old cast was apparently not informed of this reboot or invited to participate until after the Kickstarter had launched.

I'm still not sure where all of Josh Weinstein's built-up resentment comes from. Was Cinematic Titanic set up in the same way and left the same bad taste in his mouth as the rest of the cast?

I wish there wasn't such weirdness around this thing that has meant so much to me for so long.
posted by unsupervised at 10:27 AM on December 12, 2015 [22 favorites]


1a) A lot of the good will Joel is trading on comes from the work of people who were never compensated for it in the way they should've been and the reboot has been set up so that this under-compensation remains in place.

AFAIK everybody from the show is getting money from the MST3K episodes now being sold by Rifftrax, which is good.

So, it's not just me? There's just something about him that I find extremely off-putting. I mean, I've laughed at some of his standup in the past, but his acting? Ehh.

I'm on the other side of this- I find his standup dull as dishwater but I liked him on, for example, Parks and Recreation and Bob's Burgers.

My main worry is that everybody involved so far seems to be way up nerd culture's ass. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm a bit anxious that the jokes are going to be way more nerd-pandering than they used to be. More obscure Minnesota jokes, fewer references to Star Wars, and I'll be happy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:36 AM on December 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


As someone who worked in television news for a long time and was disappointed that it was boring and structured and not anything like Weird Al's UHF, the telethon actually made me hope for a future where "indie TV" stations broadcast online in a similar manner. Bringing us full circle back to the citizen funded UHF channels of yesteryear, all with their lack of professionalism and local celebrities and bad audio and broken feeds and yadda yadda. You know, back when television was full of regular people like you and me, not media professionals who have been taught to be "professional" every moment of the day.

Sounds like you're the target audience for OSI 74, the new "Internet UHF" channel. It's the brainchild of syndicated horror host Mr. Lobo, and they've been streaming some gloriously unpolished outsider-TV programming on Roku for the last couple of months.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:46 AM on December 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


I was into this until Patton Oswalt got involved.


One moment that tells me he would be perfect for this is when during one of his stand up performances there is some weirdness in the audience (I think someone was urinating and someone started a fire) and he immediately does a riff about Ernest Borgnines first appearance in Escape From New York completely off-the-cuff.
posted by sourwookie at 10:51 AM on December 12, 2015


I think we're just playing at Kremlinology when we try and figure out what's going on with personal dynamics of the original cast. No one other than them knows the whole story.

Worth mentioning that Paul Chaplin IS involved.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:52 AM on December 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Semi-related; until I started listening to John Fugelsang's show on SiriusXM, I had no idea TV's Frank was on it. Hearing his voice was like a jolt of pure happiness.
posted by emjaybee at 10:53 AM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was into this until Patton Oswalt got involved.

Yes but you get to see him constantly tormented, so there's that.
posted by ckape at 11:01 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


@Strange Interlude

Damn, you nailed it. I'm exactly their target audience! I had been toying with the idea of doing something similar myself lately, although I have zero capital, so it's mostly pipe dreams. Awesome stuff, thanks so much for sharing!
posted by deadaluspark at 11:02 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Given as Jonah Ray is Hawaiian, I would accept some inscrutable Hawaiian in-jokes in place of the dead-pan Minnesota regional humor. I feel that Los Angelean regional humor is too easily mistaken for standard tv jokes to play, though.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 11:02 AM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Semi-related; until I started listening to John Fugelsang's show on SiriusXM, I had no idea TV's Frank was on it. Hearing his voice was like a jolt of pure happiness.

If grumpy lefty tweeting is your thing, Frank Conniff's twitter will appeal.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


More obscure Minnesota jokes, fewer references to Star Wars, and I'll be happy.

Will Circle Pines ever get a shout-out again? The world can only hope.
posted by Spatch at 11:31 AM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've never watched Patton Oswalt's standup but loved him as Constable Bob in Justified and of course, the Star Wars filibuster. I'm on board for the TV son of TV's Frank.
posted by Ber at 11:32 AM on December 12, 2015


1. In fact, they got the money for fourteen episodes total, having gone over the goal by quite a bit.
2. Joel did get a lot of the old guys on board with Cinematic Titanic, but that fell apart, I think, due to scheduling, and the fact that touring worked better than DVD sales.
3. One of the best moments of the night was when they had Penn Jillette, who I admit I'm not great fan of these days but was a prominent early booster of the show, say on camera in a familiar voice, just for old times' sake: "Coming up, it's Mystery Science Theater 3000, HERE-- on Comedy Central!"

But again, the lack of support from the old staff is saddening, and suggests there's still some hurt feelings. But they did make sure to mention the Rifftrax guys at least once last night, and Mike's said via Twitter that more riffing is good. And Mary Jo Pehl is back to doing Rifftrax now it seems.
posted by JHarris at 11:33 AM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


3. One of the best moments of the night was when they had Penn Jillette, who I admit I'm not great fan of these days but was a prominent early booster of the show, say on camera in a familiar voice, just for old times' sake: "Coming up, it's Mystery Science Theater 3000, HERE-- on Comedy Central!"

I'm so sad I missed that. He was the voice of Comedy Central back in the day.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:34 AM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why did they need 6 million dollars to make 12 episodes of something that started as, and never moved very far from being, a cable access show?

To pay for a Seinfeld cameo?
posted by dgaicun at 11:41 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Two million an episode does seems pretty steep. There is undoubtedly overhead just to get the thing up and running, though.
posted by Justinian at 11:54 AM on December 12, 2015


Two million an episode does seems pretty steep. There is undoubtedly overhead just to get the thing up and running, though.

Joel has described it on the Kickstarter page that the first 2.2 million was for three episodes (which includes the starting costs for getting sets built and such) and that each 1.1 million after was for an additional three, so figure it at about $400,000 per episode.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:57 AM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Joel breaks it down clinically in the FAQ, but the question is actually more rhetorical.

As I've already stated with Star Wars, these fanstroking reboots are not my bag.
posted by dgaicun at 11:58 AM on December 12, 2015


I expect that a good portion of that $250K per episode (from the breakdown in the FAQ) goes to actually securing the rights to the riffed movies properly, which they didn't so much worry about the first time around.
posted by ckape at 12:04 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm on board for the TV son of TV's Frank.

He really does look like him too.
posted by rosswald at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, in 1990 nobody knew about streaming or buying seasons of TV shows on DVD. At most you'd see the occasional VHS box set with 2 episodes of a show per tape, but those were rare and were so expensive both in terms of monetary cost and storage space that any given household *might* have one of them, if that.

(This is also, infamously, why Daria and WKRP in Cincinnati took forever to come to DVD, and showed up with a bunch of the incidental music replaced.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:06 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


As I've already stated with Star Wars, these fanstroking reboots are not my bag.

Great, thanks so much for letting us know.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:08 PM on December 12, 2015 [20 favorites]


BTW, what's the deal with Rifftrax? If Joel really wanted to be a dick about it (and I'm sure he didn't), is there a legitimate copyright lawsuit somewhere in there? The cast of MST3K have basically been making their living freelancing the show in the many years since it's cancellation.
posted by dgaicun at 12:16 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


This and Star Wars haven't been rebooted. They are just making more. Star Trek was more of a reboot.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


BTW, what's the deal with Rifftrax? If Joel really wanted to be a dick about it (and I'm sure he didn't), is there a legitimate copyright lawsuit somewhere in there? The cast of MST3K have basically been making their living freelancing the show in the many years since it's cancellation.

Anybody can just make and sell riffs. Rifftrax saves money by not including the movie and doesn't use MST3K trademarks or copyrights other than to note that the creators worked on it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:27 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Maybe this is business – that if you can put stars in the supporting roles, that's going to give it a larger audience and make fundraising much easier.
posted by zippy at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2015


The deal with Rifftrax is that it's pretty awesome. They do shorts, they do big-budget movies, they do insane things like Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny or Fun in Balloon Land. (Though I don't know if we've ever determined if corn is grass.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:42 PM on December 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


I expect that a good portion of that $250K per episode (from the breakdown in the FAQ) goes to actually securing the rights to the riffed movies properly, which they didn't so much worry about the first time around.

Given that MST3K's new corporate parent is a DVD/streaming company (Shout Factory), it makes sense that they'd go for buying the rights to movies directly rather than just relying on the broadcast licenses owned by whatever network they happened to be on. The whole reason they did all of those Sandy Frank/Film Ventures movies back in the CC days was because they were all on the same cheap syndicated programming package. The same goes for all of the Universal-library movies they did on Sci-Fi Channel. That's also why a lot of the CC episodes only got a limited number of airings, because they could only be shown X times before CC decided not to renew the film rights.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:51 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Worth remembering that the forerunner to Rifftrax was The Film Crew, which got killed thanks to some Jim Mall on blackmailing of Rhino.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I absolutely love MST3K, and a big part of that is the goofy 90s Midwestern weirdness. I used to watch it with my dad when I was a kid during the Joel years, and everything about it was really homey and unpretentious - I mean, I love that they read letters at the end of every episode and showed close-ups of the drawings kids sent them. It is and was, for me, like the TV equivalent of a cozy basement with, like, wood paneling and a super comfy, but kind of ugly couch.

Not to be ridiculous in making 90s references, but this reboot kind of reminds me of Wayne's World (the movie) - you know, where they've got this really great show that they make in their basement. And then they sign this contract and go to a big studio and there's a set that looks like a basement, but everything's really slick and weird and they can't relate to it at all.

I don't really know what to expect, because it's so far removed from what I associate with that title. At a core level, this will be about riffing on movies, and if it's not like the old show, I mean, it never could be that anyway, just because it's been so many years and so much has changed. And it is kind of weird to think of having a bunch of big celebrities show up ("wow, this movie is terr- oh hey, it's Jerry Seinfeld!"). But I don't know, it could be great, and I wish them the best.
posted by teponaztli at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


and go to a big studio and there's a set that looks like a basement, but everything's really slick and weird and they can't relate to it at all.

Haha, good analogy.

Great, thanks so much for letting us know.

This and Star Wars haven't been rebooted. They are just making more.

I'm not granting the distinction. I don't think Godfather III was a reboot, it was just a bad sequel that was made too many years after the mysterious magik mojo had slipped back into the creative ether. But the new Evil Dead show, Star Wars etc, etc, etc are some new breed of self-conscious fansturbating cosplay.

It's like everyone got pissed at George Lucas for trying to do new things in Phantom Menace, and sure those movies sucked, but this whole Force Awakens trend is something even worse in my opinion. It's being derivative on purpose, because old fogeys just want safe, familiar callbacks to the things they liked in their youth. So instead of attempts at real art, these are hollow commercial fandering re-enactments. Comforting, low calorie, nostalgic Thomas Kinkade landscapes of yesterday's entertainment.
posted by dgaicun at 3:15 PM on December 12, 2015


Doing new things was not the problem with the prequels. They were full of not new things like every main character besides Jar Jar. Being bad movies was the problem there. You can do old, you can do new, but quality depends on what you present to the audience when they sit down in that seat and give you their full attention. James Bond has been around forever. Some installments are good, some suck. The jury is out on Force Awakens.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:33 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Worth remembering that the forerunner to Rifftrax was The Film Crew, which got killed thanks to some Jim Mall on blackmailing of Rhino.

Wait, what? This is MST lore of which I am not familiar, any details to be had?
posted by JHarris at 3:42 PM on December 12, 2015


See John, I told you Mallon was evil!
posted by valkane at 3:48 PM on December 12, 2015


I think the Film Crew DVDs were on Netflix for a while--more about them and the evil movies handed down from Bob Honcho.

Looks like they're on YouTube now!
Hollywood After Dark
Killers from Space
Wild Women of Wongo
The Giant of Marathon
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:07 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was into this until Patton Oswalt got involved.

I feel you, I have issues with him too, but he and Joel are old friends, so I can see why Joel would want to tap him for the role. Besides, the mads are in what, 10 minutes of every 90 minute episode? It's not like it's gonna be All Oswalt All The Time.

I'm nervous, but I'm willing to remain cautiously optimistic.
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 4:45 PM on December 12, 2015


Whatever cynicism comes with the new Star Wars product mill, even if most of the movies are bad, it seems pretty likely that some of those movies will be good. It doesn't work in my opinion to look at these projects (whether Evil Dead, Twin Peaks, Mr. Show, Wet Hot American Summer, Star Wars, MST3K, etc) and boil them down to one set of motivations or approaches that either confer blessing, or automatically poison the well. There's no 1:1 formula for equating motivations to outcomes.
posted by anazgnos at 4:49 PM on December 12, 2015


The thing that upsets me about the failure of The Film Crew was that Mike Dodge played supposed CEO of Rhino Bob Honcho. Dodge was a writer for about one season of the show but everyone liked him. In MST itself he had exactly one on-screen role, as the A-Bomb, in Invasion USA?

Dodge died a couple of months ago.
posted by JHarris at 5:11 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Finally! A showing of "Prometheus" that I can really get in to !
posted by AGameOfMoans at 5:47 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Someone on Reddit pitched that Jonah should really be the Mad and Felicia should be in the Satellite. I think that might be right, though I'll watch the hell out of it anyway.
posted by gerryblog at 5:55 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, nobody from the cast of the original (or the versions 1.1 and 2.0 of the original run) will have an on-screen role... including Joel. I consider it to be Joel just pushing his Original Vision into version 3.0 with a whole new cast (albeit of less obscure performers). I see Joel as the Symbolic Figurehead of the whole thing, probably the first-listed Exec. Prod. but no way he will (or even will want to be) the Showrunner. I'm accepting it on those terms.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:22 PM on December 12, 2015


Why wouldn't he be showrunner? Who would helm the ship then?
posted by JHarris at 7:32 PM on December 12, 2015


I agree with foop, I think shout factory is just paying joel, somebody else is producing.
posted by valkane at 8:11 PM on December 12, 2015


I wish Joel was the showrunner, but I seriously kinda doubt it. I'm not saying he's not intrinsic, but he didn't do this, shout factory did. I wonder how much they paid Mallon. I mean, that was the stopping point. Joel walked away, and Mallon maintained copyright. So they had to clear with him first.

That had to have a lot of zeros behind it.

The beautiful thing is that we're talking about puppets. Million dollar puppets.
posted by valkane at 8:22 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, it's interesting to note that shout factory is rhino records 2.0.
posted by valkane at 8:31 PM on December 12, 2015


Shout Factory rocks my world.
posted by teponaztli at 8:33 PM on December 12, 2015


Metafilter mst3k club rocks this world.
posted by valkane at 8:50 PM on December 12, 2015


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit, I nearly died watching fun in balloon land. it broke me. I legitimately hurt for days. like... I wasn't even making sounds anymore I was just kind of wheezing. my boyfriend thought i was going to die.

I feel like, with both that and santa clause and the ice cream bunny, it's some version of stockholm syndrome; everything is so terrible and incomprehensible that, 3/4 of the way through, you reach a breaking point. the universe has lost all meaning and this movie has been happening for all eternity. you cannot leave but it doesn't matter. your life has become stock footage and body-less, ephemeral, and inconsistent narrators. where does reality begin and end? are you watching the movie, or are you watching another movie that's inside the other movie? how many movie layers down are you? is there a reason for any of it? you don't know until a person in a bunny suit comes inexplicably to the rescue of the children santa has forced to free his sleigh from the beach and it is the funniest goddamn thing you have ever seen in your life
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 9:35 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wait, what? This is MST lore of which I am not familiar, any details to be had?

Mallon threatened to pull MST3K DVDs from Rhino if they released The Film Crew eps.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:54 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aaaah okay.

I've always heard that Jim Mallon and Joel Hodgson were joint owners of the MST3K property. Has someone said that Shout Factory is now the sole owner? If they are, then why would Joel be on board?
posted by JHarris at 10:07 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, I know Hampton! Also, he's hilarious!
posted by biogeo at 10:09 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


With the MST3K rights in Joel's hands, I wonder if Shout Factory will re-release The Film Crew DVDs. Also, I was convinced that the new constantly-tormented assisant Mad was going to turn out to be Gypsy in a looooong dig at Mallon.

Also, with hurt feelings between Joel and the others, I wonder if it'll ever get to the point where Rifftrax releases audio riffs of the new MST3K? I'm imagining an MST3K logo with a single streak of blood on it. Who riffs the riffers?
posted by BiggerJ at 2:37 AM on December 13, 2015


With the MST3K rights in Joel's hands, I wonder if Shout Factory will re-release The Film Crew DVDs.

Looks like they're still in print. You can also stream them with a Hulu subscription or for absolutely stinkin' free on the Shout Factory TV website and app.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:02 AM on December 13, 2015


According to Vulture, (MeFi's own) Adam Savage is also on board for special effects.
posted by Guy Smiley at 6:32 AM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, with hurt feelings between Joel and the others, I wonder if it'll ever get to the point where Rifftrax releases audio riffs of the new MST3K?

Actually, we aren't sure what the feelings are between Joel and the others. Publicly, the former Brains have been cordial. Mike wished the new show well. Joel made sure to mention and Mike when they sang the old theme song.

I have heard that everyone is actually friendly with each other behind the scenes, but maybe that's old news. Maybe it's all business? Maybe the old staff members just don't have time to participate in this? I mean, RiffTrax is doing well, that easily explains Mike, Kevin and Bill. For Trace and Frank, maybe they just want to branch off? Frank is doing podcasts now and appears once in a while in other things. I can see them just not being able to schedule in a new show.
posted by JHarris at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Actually, we aren't sure what the feelings are between Joel and the others. Publicly, the former Brains have been cordial.

See Unsupervised's comment above. He hates speculating and being all gossipy, but I love speculating and being all gossipy, so here's the thing: these are all talented people but they were all Midwesterners outside of the NY/LA entertainment complex who otherwise would not have led lives of acclaim outside of MST3K. They were all blessed with a lucky amount of fame from this uniquely grassroots show, but not the lucrative lifelong tenures of (say) The Simpons cast. Joel (the one with the most potential to have other successes) tried to move on to some different projects, but they didn't pan out. All the rest have more less tried to make MST3K their life career, by doing quasi-copyright infringing sideprojects for the large and devoted fanbase. I would be surprised if it provided any of them with more than a basic middle class livelihood. Certainly less than most entertainment industry people that are known entities (e.g. Gilbert Gottfried net worth $6 million; Carrot Top $75 million.)

So what you can sense from much of the former cast is an ambivalence towards this reboot where on the one hand they express well-wishing towards Joel (who I’m sure inspires their admiration and gratitude), but a certain amount of resentment that they are excluded from the project and the money.



"J. Elvis Weinstein ‏@JElvisWeinstein Dec 11
Tomorrow I launch my Kickstarter to pay for the oral surgery I need from biting my tongue for the last month."

"Frank Conniff ‏@FrankConniff Dec 10
How come Star Wars didn't have to do a kickstarter for its reboot? Hardly seems fair."

"@BillCorbett will you be returning as Crow in the new MST3K episodes?"
"Bill Corbett ‏@BillCorbett Dec 10
Doesn't look like it. Seems @TraceBeaulieu and I are way too old to do puppet voices. "

"Trace Beaulieu ‏@TraceBeaulieu Dec 11
MST3K has gone all Hollywood. Has it finally jumped the snark?"

"J. Elvis Weinstein ‏@JElvisWeinstein Dec 10
My mom died 10 years ago today. She would not be rooting for the Kickstarter of "that fucking puppet show" I dropped out of college to do."

"@JohnFugelsang @FrankConniff any chance of hearing Joel on TME talking MST3K this week, with the Kickstarter wrapping up?"
"Frank Conniff ‏@FrankConniff Dec 8
His interest in being on our show is about the same as his interest in having MST3K cast be part of the reboot. "

"@BillCorbett Well you guys said you didn't want to be involved anyway"
"Bill Corbett ‏@BillCorbett Dec 10
"Produce a quote please? "

"Mary Jo Pehl Retweeted
Trace Beaulieu Retweeted
Ken Plume ‏@KenPlume Dec 11
Priorities, y'know. “@muskrat_john: Happy that the MST3K reboot now has the money to hire absolutely everybody except the cast of MST3K.”"
posted by dgaicun at 10:40 AM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


It seems odd that several joined Joel for Cinematic Titanic, and now things have gotten to that point. Maybe Joel found himself having creative differences that he didn't foresee as CT went along, and he didn't want to risk the same thing happening with MST?

And yeah, some of the celebs being on like Seinfeld, Jack Black, and Neil Patrick Harris just doesn't seem to fit the show's style. I'm pretty neutral on those guys but I can see fans being pretty turned off.

But seriously, I think it's been shown by way of Mike's successful run on the show, and the Sci-Fi Channel-imposed format changes, that the core of the show isn't the specific characters or jokes, but the premise itself.

I gave Mike a shot after Joel left, but couldn't make it to the following season. Personally, I'd rather watch a show with Joel, the bots, and the mads that didn't involve riffing on bad movies, rather than the opposite. I just loved the relationships and family dynamics. The throwback to old children's shows. The skits, reading letters, invention exchanges, and the arcs that went through the whole episode. And it wasn't that random people were talking back at the screen, it was the characters doing it.

And Joel seemed so talented it's kind of a bummer that his later projects never panned out. But it's cool that he at least seems to be doing this for the fans who have probably been asking him for this for years.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:09 AM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Isn't an all new cast the easiest way to avoid kvetching about which version of the bots and mads were the best and should be included in the new thing? Everybody's got their own opinion. There are people who prefer Corbett's Crow or the post-Frank and Clay mad segments. This way it's all new and no arguments.

I do wish they could have found a way to fit in the old cast and writers as "Consulting Producers" or in the writers room or something.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:44 PM on December 13, 2015


And yeah, some of the celebs being on like Seinfeld, Jack Black, and Neil Patrick Harris just doesn't seem to fit the show's style. I'm pretty neutral on those guys but I can see fans being pretty turned off.

On the contrary! All three have a certain degree of history with Joel/MST3K, either as fans or creative collaborators.

Jerry Seinfeld and Joel go all the way back to their early standup days; Joel was a co-writer on Jerry's first HBO special. Neil Patrick Harris is on record as a MSTie going back to at least 1992 (he was interviewed for the "This Is MST3K" making-of special), and worked with the Rifftrax guys as a guest-riffer on "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Jack Black probably comes to the project through his association with Dan Harmon & Rob Schrab's MST3K-influenced video website Channel 101; Schrab was also a contributing writer for MST3K, and Joel helped fabricate props for Schrab's "Robot Bastard" short film from 2001.

In any case, I'll assume that the extent of their appearances are going to be as Hexfield Viewscreen guests, or as random visitors to Deep 13. They'll pop up for a minute or two, probably disguised as some character or another, and that'll be it.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:46 PM on December 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Did the show ever have a celebrity guest before? I mean, besides Mike Nelson impersonating one.
posted by teponaztli at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2015


Leonard Maltin.
posted by JHarris at 1:23 PM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I googled some of those quotes from twitter, to see who else has been ogling the drama with the popcorn bag in hand. Reddit has a long thread, but it's little but unanimous tut-tutting at the former crew. Must be that "thanks for letting us know" cattiness that fanchildren emit when any external negativity seeps into their dopamine misted fanbubbles.

You never have to reboot discord, it never stops being entertaining.
posted by dgaicun at 1:32 PM on December 13, 2015


Oh gosh, I am so wounded. You've certainly put me in MY place.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:35 PM on December 13, 2015


For Trace and Frank, maybe they just want to branch off? Frank is doing podcasts now and appears once in a while in other things.

Trace and Frank are doing some live riffing, too.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dana Gould in full "Planet of the Apes" makeup as Dr Zaius as William-Shatner-performing-Rocket-Man doing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"

That's something I would very much like to see.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:34 PM on December 13, 2015


That's something I would very much like to see.

If you can imagine it, it is so!
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:14 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


So what are the RiffTrax guys doing? Tomorrow they're having an encore showing in theaters of Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny! And here's Kevin Murphy and, um, "special guest," singing a new Christmas Carol....
posted by JHarris at 10:15 AM on December 14, 2015


I contributed in the first few hours, spent a month checking for updates and new totals, and watched most of the countdown party on Friday.
So so so happy about all of this, and so proud that Joel is getting his due.
posted by Theta States at 11:00 AM on December 14, 2015


Also excited to know that Wayne White will be contributing something to this.
posted by Theta States at 11:15 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also excited to know that Wayne White will be contributing something to this.

Waitaminit, what!? How did I miss this? This is truly the best news ever.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:57 PM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Waitaminit, what!? How did I miss this? This is truly the best news ever.

IIRC he might have a contribution to the set design! Seems appropriate. :)
posted by Theta States at 6:43 AM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Evidently Hampton Yount, Jonah Ray, and Baron Vaughn are all on the most recent episode of The Dana Gould Hour. (One of the best-produced podcasts going, always a delight and source of my constant urge to rewatch Ed Wood.)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:07 PM on December 24, 2015


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