Joel Hodgson, the creator of cult-favorite B-movie snark fest “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” announced Tuesday that he is trying to bring back the show in the not-too-distant future.
Fans have already started donating money to a Kickstarter campaign, which has an initial goal of raising $2 million to fund three new episodes of the beloved show. “MST3K” aired for 12 years — first on a local Minneapolis channel, and later on Comedy Central, and SyFy (then known as the Sci-Fi Channel).
Hodgson has said that he will make 12 episodes if fans raise $5.5 million. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $500,000.
Hodgson talked with fans about the project in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread Tuesday afternoon, answering questions about the reboot’s cast and production costs. Here are some highlights; Hodgson’s responses are in block quotes. (Please note that some of the responses have been condensed).
Fans will meet the next host and Mad soon.
I’ve already talked with the actors I’d like to bring onto the show as the next host and the next Mad, and you’ll meet both of them in the next few days. In fact, the next host is in the video you’ve already seen… but I’ll give him a proper introduction. I’ll introduce you to the next Crow and Servo, too. We actually shot a few videos for the Kickstarter with all of them, since there was so much we wanted to talk about. Those will be out soon, and I can’t wait, because I’m really happy about all of them. I think they’ll do great.
This will not be a reunion show.
I want to be really careful what I say here, because I know this is important to everyone. But first, this Kickstarter is really about making NEW episodes of MST3K, not making more of the old episodes, even though I love them as much as everyone else.
Holy cow! WE JUST HIT $500,000! That means we’re already ¼ of the way to our initial goal to #BringBackMST3K for three episodes! Please keep spreading the word! Okay, where was I..
Mike’s not hosting it, and I’m not either. I think it’s important for the show to move on to it’s next host, just like it always would have if it weren’t canceled. That was always the idea for the show – it just wasn’t clear because two doesn’t make a pattern, and we got canceled before we ever had a third host.
I’ve invited everyone from the original cast to come back and participate creatively — to write, and hopefully to do cameos as their Mad Scientist characters. I don’t know yet who will and won’t decide to come back. I think we’ll know more after we see how this Kickstarter campaign goes. But this isn’t a reunion show either. To keep the show fresh, I really believe it’s important to keep bringing in new talent and keep looking forward.
The new version will feature new movies, as well as the older movies included in the original.
I think we’re gonna go after everything. But I have to tell you, I think movies from the 70’s and 80’s are part of what makes MST3K, MST3K. Those movies will be what feels familiar to people. There’s just so many of them! We’ll slowly work our way upstream. There are definitely some movies from after 1999 that are ripe for riffing.
The show’s “homemade aesthetic” will get a modern update.
I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch MST3K journey through time over the last almost thirty years, and I think one of the reasons it has is because we did almost everything “in camera.” To me, that means no computer effects and as little post-processing as possible. I intend to stick with this formula for the new shows, and yet, amp it up a little bit.
The way we made MST3K was the fastest way we knew how. We rapid prototyped robots and sets and props. It would be a mistake to not take advantage of CNC machines and 3D printers to accomplish our tasks this time. So, to answer your question, I still think it will look quaint compared to a movie like “Guardians of the Galaxy”, but I don’t want to arrest the look and keep it trapped in the nineties either, even though I love how it looked.
The Kickstarter goal will fund more than just the reboot itself.
First, about 8% of what we’re raising goes to Kickstarter and credit card fees.
About 30% of what we’re raising goes toward making and fulfilllng all of the rewards we’re offering. That stuff can get expensive!
That means that MST3K itself only costs about 65% of what we’re raising.
Plus, you’ll notice that the first three episodes cost a lot more than the other nine. That’s because there are a lot of “one time” costs involved in starting production. For example, we have to make props, design costumes and build sets. We also need special baby clothes for the robots. So all of that stuff adds up.
[Hodgson linked to this graphic to illustrate the cost breakdown]
Like its predecessor, the reboot will riff on “bad movies.”
I don’t like revealing what movies we’re riffing ahead of time because I think it kind of spoils the whole fun of MST3K. I CAN tell you that all of the new films will finally be widescreen (or academy aperture 1.85), but we’re still interested in maintaining their crappiness.
They’ll be BETTER bad movies, if that makes any sense. Or BETTER-LOOKING bad movies anyway.
Hodgson and his team aren’t yet sure where new epsiodes will air.
The answer is that we don’t know for sure yet. Part of the plan is to see how many people get excited about the Kickstarter campaign and want MST3K back, so that we can talk with broadcast networks and digital platforms about bringing MST3K back for another thirty years. There, I said it. Another 30 years.
I don’t know who it will be, but we’ve already gotten some excited phone calls today from people in Hollywood who are watching what’s happening. So it’s working! Keep Circulating the URL, and maybe the next season of MST3K will be beamed straight into your eyes!
One other thing. It’s really important to me that backers who help us make a new season get to ENJOY that season without spending more money, so all of the rewards above $100 include HD downloads of all of the new episodes with no DRM or copy protection. I just think that’s important. It’s the right thing to do. It’s proper.