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The New Season of ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ Is Headed to Netflix

Mystery Science Theater 3000
Shout! Factory

If someone asked me to trace my personal development as a cinephile, I’m pretty sure that Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be one of the most important stops along the way. I grew up watching the show; it instilled in me an appreciation for pointless pop culture knowledge as well as an affection for so-called bad movies. Mike, Joel and the bots may have spent their time mocking ’70s and ’80s films, but there was always an undercurrent of good cheer and low-budget kinship that I admired.

It was great news, then, when Mystery Science Theater 3000 announced that it had wildly surpassed its Kickstarter goals for a new season — setting records in the process — and would be bringing 14 new episodes to an unnamed platform. With Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, and Patton Oswalt set to join the new cast, the prestige of the show had soared to unprecedented heights; as always, the good folks at Netflix were listening. The Hollywood Reporter reported last night that the first season of the rebooted Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be headed to Netflix, with new episodes set to land sometime in “the not-too-distant future.” According to the report, episodes would be available to residents of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

While I wish I could say my excitement for new episodes of the show has zero reservations, that’s not quite the case. I’m sure that the new cast members will do a wonderful job — just as I’m sure that the old cast members will relish another turn in the Satellite of Love — but the fact that the new season is premiering on Netflix leaves a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Fans were told that Mystery Science Theater 3000 could not and would not exist without their financial support, but first Shout! Factory and now Netflix seem to be reaping what the fans have sowed. Netflix in particular seems to be getting the best end of this deal; as the article notes, the media company has spent over $5 billion in original programming for this year alone. Must be nice to have someone else paying the production costs.

Still, reservations aside, I’ll be watching alongside the rest of you and hope that Mystery Science Theater 3000 still resonates for audiences at large in an era where anyone with an iPhone and a YouTube account can pretty much do the same thing. Fandom needs a little bit of good cheer now more than ever; here’s hoping the show reminds us that loving something and making fun of it are not mutually exclusive.

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