Over the weekend, I was thrilled to see that Joel Hodgson has launched a KickStarter campaign to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000, quite possibly the best television comedy of all time. (Take a second to check out the Kickstarter link here.) I can't tell you how excited I am that this might come to fruition. Some of my favorite TV memories involve watching Joel or Mike with the 'bots riffing on some of history's worst movies and short films. Back in the '80s and '90s, I was such a devotee that I went to great lengths to find early episodes, scouring nascent web forums and message boards to find like-minded Mysties, who might have an old VHS tape for trade. Those were heady times! To the best of my knowledge, I eventually watched every episode, and when the show went off the air for good in 1999, a hole opened up in my heart (and my schedule.)
A few dry years ticked by as the personnel went off to do other projects. We'd get an occasional riff event from different collectives with ties to the show over the next few years, but nothing official emerged until 2006. That year Mike Nelson launched RiffTrax, a clever concept pairing audio tracks with riff-able films from past and present. Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, former MST3K alums, joined the RiffTrax family soon thereafter. Cinematic Titanic, a troupe composed of former MST3K performers, was formed by Joel about a year later. His group has released DVDs and performed live over the past decade. It's been great that riffing never really died, but putting the Satellite of Love back in orbit with Servo and Crow on board just feels right. A void will be filled.
My understanding is that Joel's "comeback" project will likely be cast with new performers (comedian Jonah Ray is on board,) and Mike and the RiffTrax guys have said they aren't yet involved. Regardless, getting the MST3K brand back in motion is joyful news, and depending on how much is raised, Joel has promised anywhere from three to 12 new episodes. Shout Factory has pledged to release the finished products. This all sounds like cheery news, and if it comes to pass, it could be the best Christmas present we get this year.
Speaking of holidays and MST3K, I'm proud to annouce that Over Jupiter is now stocking a new item sure to be of interest to Mysties and Riffies (is that a thing?) It's a T-shirt adorned with the movie poster for Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The film is a delightfully bad Christmas b-movie from 1964 that was such a favorite of the original MST3K series that it's been recently mocked at live events by both RiffTrax and Titanic. The image is rendered in saturated green and red on your choice of short sleeve or long sleeve tees, with several color options. Use the code RIFFN10 to save 10%. Don't sleep on this; you'll need to get your order in by Dec. 8th to ensure USPS mail delivery by Christmas. See it and a few other holiday items here.
I hope this post inspires you to throw some dough toward the Kickstarter project. (Yes, I did.) If we all do our part, in the not too distant future, Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be back. (Update: Joel tweeted on Nov. 16th that the minimum goal of $2M has been met, which means ... MOVIE SIGN!)