Fact: Mystery Science Theater 3000 can help save our sanity during the COVID-19 lock down. We will get to what–and why–that is later. But first, a warning to those Millennial readers who like to reminisce about how back in the day they invented the snark zeitgeist on early versions of 4Chan /b/, Reddit and tumblr: Nope. Sorry, M’s. Yours rocked. But it was all derivative…
From snark TV to cult classic
“Mystery Science Theater: a warmhearted, fiendishly smart two hours of arcane pop culture references and vintage drive-in cheese, designed to get [circa late 1980s and 1990s] viewers to appreciate the sublime ludicrousness of life and art…It’s always been artisan-crafted, with a dorky kind of love: a snarky little show made by a few, for a few.”
–Rolling Stone Still relevant. HERE.
A brief history of the MST3K…
“Mystery Science Theater 3000” originally aired on Minneapolis UHF station KTMA-TV starting in 1988 before is was picked up by Comedy Central and then the Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy). The original series ran for 10 seasons and 197 episodes before going off the air in 1999.
In 2015, series creator Joel Hodgson and Shout! Factory launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the show back. The campaign ended up raising more than $6.3 million, [then the largest Kickstarter project ever] which allowed them to produce 14 new episodes for the show’s eleventh season, including a Christmas special.” -Variety
In 2017 Netflix picked up Mystery Science Theater 3000 for two seasons, but after revamping the show, in November of 2019 decided not to continue. So last month (March, 2020) the last show aired on Netflix.
If you didn’t see the backer update, I announced today that #MST3K is not doing a third season for Netflix. It’s not the end of MST3K, It’s just the end of the first chapter of bringing back MST3K.
— Joel Hodgson (@JoelGHodgson) November 27, 2019
Where its at since being canceled by Netflix last Fall…
If you aren’t lucky enough to have the original episodes on VHS tapes (we do) and a working VHS player (nope) then you can buy a DVD version (Mystery Science Theater 3000 https://mst3k.com) or you may want to catch many of the classic episodes live on YouTube. Mysties can also watch the most recent Netflix versions (airing from 2017 to early 2020); currently the 2018 season of MST3K is available to watch via their streaming service.
From Underground to Lock Down
As watching MST3K is the sans pareil activity to do with friends (if they don’t dig it, why do you have them around?), if you have the bandwidth, streaming the episodes is a primo activity to do together while on video conference during the coronavirus lock down. In fact, virtual Mystie Parties and social distancing may be the perfect combo tribute to Joel locked up in a confined space, orbiting without a clear end in sight, void of human-to-human contact, and forced to connect with bots to save his sanity.