Column by Steve Bennett
Posted by Steve Bennett on November 25, 2015 @ 3:21 am CT
But being a big Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan (when the online site Paste asked "Is Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Best Science Fiction Show of All Time" I didn't hesitate to say "yes"), I'm most grateful for the news that Joel Hodgson's Kickstarter has already raised enough money to make at least three new episodes of the show. To me, that's just shy of being an actual miracle. So naturally I was somewhat taken aback by the large number of supposedly hardcore MSTies (which is what we call ourselves) on Facebook whose comments were generally along the lines of that classic MST3K meme "It Stinks!"
Every aspect of the project, from who the new host would be to the ethics of doing a Kickstarter to whether other former cast members would participate in the new version, seemed to be met with a steady chorus of "mehs" and "fehs." It was as if they had all somehow completely bypassed anticipation and had gone straight into a protective posture of presumptive disappointment.
Not that I couldn't sympathize with them, at least a little. Recasting and contemporizing a beloved television franchise can be a perilous process; it's something that's very difficult to get right and very easy to get really wrong. I place in evidence the happily all but forgotten New Monkees and The All-New Captain Kangaroo Show. The latter was produced by Saban, yes, the Power Ranger people, in partnership with Busch Entertainment, a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch. That's right; this remake of a classic children’s show was brought to kids essentially by beer. They tried to get the original Captain, Bob Keeshan, to participate by dangling a promotion to Admiral in front of him, but after seeing sample episodes he rightfully wanted nothing to do with it.
Of course, there was also a good number of these fans convinced there shouldn't be a "new host," that the new show could possibly be any good unless it featured original host Joel or his replacement Mike. Of course everyone wants the old gang to get back together until they actually do; the results are almost universally both dismal and sad. I place into evidence such made for tv movie remakes/revivals as The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The-Fifteen-Years-Later Affair, Bring Me The Head of Dobie Gillis, The Patty Duke Show, Still Rockin' In Brooklyn Heights, Return to Green Acres, Get Smart, Again! and (of course) the legendary Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan's Island.
The ultimate goal of the Kickstarter is reach $5.5 million, which will guarantee a full 12 episode season. And I'm guessing that a lot of donations will be rolling in on Thanksgiving. Not only does it make the 27th Anniversary of the show, it’s also "Turkey Day," the third annual streaming event where starting at noon six classic episodes of MST3K will run with new segments with Joel and the 'bots. It's running on both the Official MST3K YouTube Channel and Yahoo Screen, and if you've never seen the series, well, watching it would pretty much have to be better than The Westminster Dog Show.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.