Nine months ago, fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 heard the call from creator Joel Hodgson to help contribute money to bring back the TV show for a new generation of riffers and amateur movie critics.
Last night, Joel appeared at San Diego Comic-Con to announce the show would be on Netflix sometime next year, and all 14 episodes would be available at once. Here’s my video of that announcement and the introduction of the new cast. The panel lasted about an hour, but this is the first 12 minutes. A complete version is expected from Joel soon.
The new crew was all over Comic-Con, including an appearance at Camp Conival at Petco Park. The response was incredible, as fans wanted to know about what to expect when the show returns sometime next year.
The show will have a Whedonverse connection, as Felicia Day (Dollhouse, Dr., Horrible, The Guild, etc.) will be Kinga Forrester, the new evil mad scientist plaguing the new crew (Jonah Ray, Hampton Yount as Crow and Baron Vaughn as Servo) with bad movies. Hodgson said he chose her because she “embodies evil” or thought so when he met her at a con in Salt Lake City. Her intro video at the MST3K website proved it.
However, world domination won’t exactly be on Kinga’s mind. “I think she’s super ambitious and she’s super trying to live up to something,” she said at Camp Conival, “and I think that’s what sets her apart.” She’s also trying to turn the MST brand into a billion dollar industry somehow.
What about the bots, Crow and Tom Servo? Have they changed over the years? Yount thinks they have, although they’re mostly the same bots we’ve come to love, “You have to keep in mind that these guys have been on the Satellite for like the last 15 years watching all of our pop culture,” he said. “So, they probably got even more messed up notions of how the world works.”
Later at the Comic-Con panel, Vaughn had his thoughts about it. “All you can do is try and, like, service the characters that have already been pretty, like, concreted out,” he says, “Like, they act in kind of a specific way and you just try find find new avenues to, like, branch out.” Joel also said later that day that Gypsy would have a few nips and tucks, including a smaller head, so she can be featured in more host segments, and the Invention Exchanges will be back, since Jonah is a gear-head.
Joel also says the new movies look great, with excellent widescreen prints. The acting, cinematography, direction and such…still very bad. “They’re just incapable movies sometimes,” Ray says. “They reuse a shot of a guy walking across a field for 15 seconds four or five times in a movie, and you’re like ‘Watch out for snakes again?'”
At the Comic-Con panel, Felicia also talked about dealing with bad movies.”I would reach times when I’m like ‘well, it’s time to get a Mountain Dew because maybe chemicals would make it funnier’,” she says. Does it work? “I definitely type faster,” she admits.
However, Joel says riffing on movies is just all in good fun, because that’s how the show can is sustainable. “You are kind of companions with the audience” he says, “and when you think about it nobody wants to be friends with assholes, so its kind of like you have to be kind of a little nicer than that, I think.”
After all, as the cast points out, they’re a puppet show.
However, there’s no mention of Patton Oswalt, who is expected to be Kinga’s henchman, TV’s Son of TV’s Frank. He’s cut back on his role because of the death of his wife, but he’s left a tweet with the words “See you guys in September, Hold tight.” Fans are hopeful he’ll be a worthy lackey to Kinga’s reign of terror.
They also listed some of their favorite episodes, including Cave Dwellers, Laserblast, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Joel says he’s noticed movies, especially bad ones, makes viewers react differently, and draws something out of them. “Sometimes you get pissed off, sometimes you just want to lash out at it,”, he says, “sometimes you love it and you want to be friends with it. All these things happen, so it’s really interesting.” That may explain why some people think Castle of Fu Manchu was a much more painful movie than the best of the worst (according to most fans), Manos, The Hands of Fate.
At the Comic-Con panel, Joel also revealed that the Mads from the SyFy years, Pearl Forrester, Observer and Bobo, (Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy) will make cameos in the new season. And there won’t be any shorts this season because of the length of the new movies being targeted.
He also showed some pictures of what some of the teach would look like. Below is the new Cambot, and something called a “backjack.” Apparently Jonah will be a truck driver in space in the intro until he’s transferred to bad movies.
Joel also said Charlie Ericson, who helped write the theme and the “Love Theme”, will be working on new arrangements for both. They plan to start filming sometime in the fall, and it’s possible the new episodes will be ready early in 2017 aka the not too distant future.
Until then, we can really just relax, until the Satellite of Love flies again.