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Movies Sci-Fi Television Entertainment

17 Years Later, A New Season Of MST3K Premiers On Netflix 84

Launched in 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran for ten seasons on Comedy Central and The Sci-Fi Channel, with its last episode airing in August of 1999. But now Slashdot reader #5844 ewhac writes: 17 years later, Season 11 of MST3K debuted Friday on Netflix. A full season has been produced, including a stretch-goal Christmas special, funded by the highest-earning Kickstarter Film & Video campaign to date ($5.76 million) -- thousands of contributors are listed in the show's end credits, spread across all fourteen episodes.

The show remains true to its low-budget roots, relying almost exclusively on models and practical effects, including a very inventive new door sequence. The backstory for the new season is very swiftly established in the opening to Experiment 1101, as Jonah Heston (played by co-producer Jonah Ray) is abducted by the evil mad scientist Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and her sidekick Max a/k/a TV's son of TV's Frank (Patton Oswalt). Together with Gypsy (Rebecca Hanson), Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn), and Crow (Hampton Yount), Jonah quips his way through a barrage of bad movies, including Reptilicus, Starcrash, The Loves of Hercules, and The Christmas That Almost Wasn't.

In 2008 MST3K's original creator Joel Hodgson answered questions from Slashdot's readers, and said he was fascinated by the popularity of Creative Commons licenses. "For most of the public domain titles that we've used, it's a matter of the garbage not being taken out. Basically, they forgot to apply for a copyright so it in fact lapsed into the public domain."

17 Years Later, A New Season Of MST3K Premiers On Netflix

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It stinks!

  • by SolemnLord ( 775377 ) on Saturday April 15, 2017 @12:13PM (#54239987)

    I've watched the first three episodes so far, and the movie sequences are all pure Mystery Science Theater. Not legendary episodes (although holy crap, Cry Wilderness is bananas), but solid throughout.

    But the skits feel off. It's not the cast, they're fine off the bat and are finding a rhythm more and more. It's more that the show has more money now than it did before, and a larger crew to go with it. It takes away a lot of the DIY feel from the early episodes, but it doesn't really bring anything new to compensate. The skits feel really flat too, in the physical sense. Compare the "family" visit in 1102 with almost any skit set in Castle Forrester.

    Settling in, maybe? Here's hoping. It still feels like Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I'm happy about that.

    • by rworne ( 538610 )

      I felt the same way.

      Then again, I'm one of those old curmudgeons who felt the show "lost it" when Joel departed. Not that Mike's episodes were bad - they weren't, but I more personally connected with Joel's style on the show and missed it greatly. Who didn't go to the theater in the 70's and 80's and didn't appreciate this [slashdot.org]?

      On the newest series, the biggest shock was not the new host, but when Gypsy spoke. I don't know if that voice changed happened earlier in the older series (I never watched the SyFy run

      • by rworne ( 538610 )

        Wow. The link got totally mangled by the editor.

        Here's the original link [youtube.com] that was messed up. The old GCC Theater skit. I still laugh when I see it.

      • On the newest series, the biggest shock was not the new host, but when Gypsy spoke. I don't know if that voice changed happened earlier in the older series (I never watched the SyFy run), but when I did stop watching, Gypsy was still using that weird falsetto.

        That's new to this season. They brought in a new actor, Rebecca Hanson, to do the voice (and also be "Synthia" in the mads segments). I'm with you: it's very, very strange at first, especially with the new "from the ceiling" design. Hopefully we'll see more of the new Gypsy and they'll make the most of it.

        Also you should dig into the SyFy episodes. Seasons 8-10 have a ridiculous number of gems.

    • I never say MSTK epidoes in order. The entire backstory was always entirely confusing. Not that there was much backstory to start with, but for me it was almost irrelevant (except for the being who no longer had a need for physical bodies).

    • Rowsdowerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I don't get the sense that there's any animosity between them. In fact, Rifftrax has done a lot to help boost the new season of the show, including giving away Rifftrax videos to backers of the Kickstarter, and of course hosting a MST3K reunion show gathering together as many of the alumni who are still interested in doing riffs as they could get their hands on. I imagine that Rifftrax is enough of a full time job that they don't really have time to spare for the other stuff.

      I've also noticed that Rifftraxe

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Netflix is for Old People!

  • US Only it seems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday April 15, 2017 @12:36PM (#54240061) Journal
    Seriously, this region crap has got to end.
    • Netflix typically signs up for global distribution rights when they do a "Netflix Original" like this. Maybe they got an offer somewhere that they couldn't refuse, but it wouldn't be typical.

      • by laffer1 ( 701823 )

        In this case, there's also the rights to the movies they show. It's probably a contractual issue.

  • Is the new MST3K really the new MST3K or is Rifftrax still the true successor to the series?

    Not seen the new ones yet, but I'm not really excited by the fact that the only person from the original still involved seems to be Joel, who I never found that funny.

    • It's hard to say. MST3K suffered from a great schism after Joel left, with many saying that Mike was the true bearer of the MST3K flame. I am an originalist and feel that Joel is the true founder, so I would say that the MST3K legacy belongs to him.

      • They both are.

        Mike was head writer even before he took over as host. Joel picked him as his successor.

        Both sides have made clear their goodwill to the other. Some of the mads have done rifftrax. They all got together for rifftrax live recently to promote the new season.

        The real villain of the story is Jim Mallon.

      • My personal feeling is that Joel too frequently let his pride get in the way of what was best for the comedy. He was in a straightman role but hated being the straightman because it often meant the jokes were at his expense. This led to him stepping on jokes by having to get in the final word after the actual punchline.

        Mike realized his job was to be the robot's buttmonkey and was fine playing the buttmonkey.

    • Little of both. The new host feels more like a Joel, mostly because Mike Nelson was head writer even before hosting. Mike is not involved in this project. I was more a Mike fan on the old series, but Jonah is really good. The riffs are much better than the filler bits, but that was always true in the Joel era for me.

      Rifftrax is a focus directly on commentary and has a whole new style (but familiar voices) and it's great that there are two entries in the genre, but this new show is firmly MST3K. Give bo

    • Lots of people from the original are involved. It's just that they're mostly involved as writers, rather than in-front-of-the-camera personalities (barring a few amusing cameos).

  • As of last night, there were NO torrents for the Netflix version. That seems to me to be a bad sign. Or the current seeders don't care.

    • As of last night, there were NO torrents for the Netflix version. That seems to me to be a bad sign. Or the current seeders don't care.

      Is torrenting Netflix originals really common? (I ask because I haven't looked on torrent sites for ages.) That's kind of Netflix's thing: "We're only marginally more expensive, and a whole lot more convenient than pirating."

      • As of last night, there were NO torrents for the Netflix version. That seems to me to be a bad sign. Or the current seeders don't care.

        Is torrenting Netflix originals really common? (I ask because I haven't looked on torrent sites for ages.) That's kind of Netflix's thing: "We're only marginally more expensive, and a whole lot more convenient than pirating."

        Beats me. I don't torrent any TV shows from Netflix, or TV from anywhere else really. Just an occasional movie.

    • One of the rewards was DRM-free, downloadable copies of the new episodes. Netflix kept this promise even after they picked up the show, and I can download copies at any time. So availability is not an issue.

      The thing is that Joel has been very clear about the show's future: despite the kickstarter's success, what will ultimately determine if there'll be a season 12 is how many people watch it on Netflix. And despite MSTies passion for sharing the tapes, I think they're just trusting Joel and going along

      • This is also why you don't tend to see a lot of Baen ebooks being pirated. Creator requests do carry weight with something this much-loved.

    • It's priced fairly. Watch the whole season for under $10 - and get access to a whole lot of content during that month. People don't pirate Netflix much because they don't feel the need to cheat.

    • by ewhac ( 5844 )
      I'll let you in on a little secret: As you can see from the Kickstarter page, people who contributed at a certain level and above were granted access to downloadable copies of the entire season -- all fourteen episodes.

      However, throughout the entire production and post-production process, Joel has sent out updates to all the Kickstarter backers explaining that, if MST3K proves successful, Netflix may pick it up for another season. But in order for that to happen, Netflix needs to see that the viewing nu

  • It was silly when it came out, with the mostly inane comments of the three front row clowns. It will probably be stupid now, but, hey, it does have its legion of fans.

"I'm not a god, I was misquoted." -- Lister, Red Dwarf

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