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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Review

Andrew Cathey, Writer

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From 1988 to 1999, the sci-fi cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000, often shortened to MST3K,  ran on Comedy Central and later on the Syfy channel. It focused on Joel, and later, Mike, who replaced Joel after season 5, who is trapped on a space station called The Satellite of Love. He is on this space station because of the insane Dr. Forrester and his assistant Frank. While on the ship, Joel uses spare parts to make his robot companions Tom Servo, voiced by Kevin Murphy, and Crow T. Robot, voiced by Bill Corbett. With Tom and Crow in tow, Joel is forced to watch “Z” grade horror, sci-fi, and fantasy movies for Dr. Forrester’s newest experiment.

With 199 episodes spread across 10 seasons and one feature film, Mystery Science Theater 3000 became an instant cult classic with it’s generally goofy tone, bizarre and memorable characters, and comedy that came from the cast mocking every schlock title that came before them.

In November 2015, series creator Joel Hodgson created a Kickstarter campaign for revival that would produce a total of three episodes on a budget of $2 million, with stretch goals producing more episodes. The campaign ended on December 11, 2015. It raised $5,764,229 dollars with a total 48,270 backers. The show would later be picked up by Netflix with the series airing on April 14 of this year.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return has a brand new cast with Jonah Ray, famous for his roles in Maron and Hidden America, starring as Jonah with Felicia Day, from The Guild, and Patton Oswalt, from Magnolia and The King of Queens, starring as Dr. Forrester’s daughter and Frank’s son, respectively.

Many shows that get a revival struggle to capture its original tone and feel. The Arrested Development and Gilmore Girls revivals couldn’t support their original series’ weight, but MST3K still retains the original’s scrappy, home-made charm. Any changes that were made help the show transition from its original low budget, low production quality roots to a larger, more professional show.

Nikolas Kay, a senior, says “From what I’ve seen I’ve liked it. It’s weird, but it works.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return improves on the original’s formula, while managing to set itself up as a new cult classic for a new generation.

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Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Review