There's about a week left to support the latest crowdfunding campaign to revive cult-classic TV comedy Mystery Science Theater 3000. After a campaign in 2017 which broke a bunch of records and got them noticed by Netflix, the show ran for two years on the streaming service before being cancelled. There was a roadshow, and a hiatus for the pandemic, and now it's time to bring back MST3K. Creator Joel Hodgson is set on creating an immersive virtual experience through with fans can enjoy episodes new and old -- The Gizmoplex. Whether on the web or an app, the Gizmoplex is part of an ambitious new season of the series which, among other things, may bring back Hodgson as a host.
Bringing back the show without a network means less resources and fewer eyeballs on it, but it also means that Hodgson can go back to doing it with about as much control as he had when he and a group of his friends and collaborators first brought the show to local TV in Minnesota. Of course, the internet means everybody, not just locals, can get in on the fun.
More than 20,000 people have already pledged support for the show, amounting to more than $3.5 million. You can see the crowdfunding campaign here, and the trailer for their campaign below.
"Our goal is to do 12 new episodes," Hodson told ComicBook. "We don't even know how many we're going to do just yet, so it's really hard to predict when we're going to premiere, but when we have a new MST3K, that'll premier in the Gizmoplex. You'll be able to watch it during the premiere, and be able to watch it with your friends if they're also involved with it."
Hodgson said that, fresh off working with Netflix, he wanted to create a viewing experience that didn't just feel like a cheap knockoff of an existing streaming site.
"It'll have a different feeling than just for example, a Netflix with just more MST3K on it, because we'll be doing specific events during the premiere," Hodgson explained. "It should feel different, because it's just not a bunch of tiles where you click on them and you watch more MST; it should feel different than that."
The new season is set to feel different from anything that has come before, with more than one host -- including the first woman host in a MST3K TV show (albeit one who is already familiar to the fans, having traveled with the roadshow). It's likely that the "Gizmoplex" will, in part, explain how there can be two settings at once.
Hodgson admitted that it was nice to have the exposure that Netflix offered, with its millions of subscribers and dedicated PR team, but that ultimately Mystery Science Theater 3000 may be too weird for a major network or streaming service to sink a bunch of money into.
"I think Mystery Science Theater is unique in that it's 90 minutes long and advertisers don't really like that," Hodgson explained. "Where advertisers are at, is there they're most interested in understanding what a show is, and who's watching it and with Mystery Science Theater, cause it's long, it's hard for them to kind of visualize that. So they tend to go for other content."
He added, "We have a really strong fan base that is willing to help pay for this stuff, so people always kind of speculate, 'Geez, they should go to Disney+. Geez, they should go to Paramount+,' and you kind of go, 'but that's not really reality. If Paramount has the channel, they're going to want to sell their stuff, right? So they're going to want to focus on Star Trek, and all their big properties. And same with Disney+. I think what's meaningful is that, we represent a lot of shows that have been canceled, that have really robust fan bases that are willing to kind of do something like the Gizmoplex."
New Mystery Science Theater 3000 is coming soon. Keep your eye on ComicBook for movie signs.