From modest beginnings on a local Minneapolis television station in the late 1980s to cable to a live tour, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has proved to be an enduring cult classic. The show—which features a captive audience of one human and several robots riffing on bad movies—was last seen on Netflix for a two-season revival in 2017 and 2018.
With the streaming service opting not to pick it up for a third season, creator Joel Hodgson and Shout! Factory are going direct-to-consumer with a Kickstarter that allows MST3K fans to fund new episodes without any meddlesome executives involved.
“A year in quarantine gave us a lot of time to think, and we realized two important things,” Hodgson said in a press release. “First, nobody’s virtual Zoom background is as amusing as they think it is. And second, that Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back because it's what the fans wanted. So, you know, it doesn't make sense for a network to decide the show's fate after each season. That should be up to the people we're making the show for. We want our fans to decide how long we keep going, and how many new episodes we make each year.”
The Kickstarter launched yesterday, April 7, 2021, with an initial fundraising goal of $2 million—which it has already surpassed. This means that the show will be able to produce three new episodes and a “Gizmoplex” online theater for premieres and watch parties—no network needed. If they can raise $3.3 million, six new episodes will be made, and a new app will be launched for streaming devices. $4.4 million gets nine episodes and 12 months of live events, while $5.5 million nets 12 episodes and 12 short films ripe for the riffing. New cast members from the Netflix seasons including Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt are expected to be involved.