Creator Joel Hodgson and fans rally to fund a 14th season of movie riffing
Joel Hodgson, the creator of the beloved TV cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), is calling on fans to support the show’s current crowdfunding campaign. With the goal of raising $4 million, the campaign aims to fund a 14th season of the series, which features a human host and their robot companions hilariously mocking cheesy films. Despite the show’s revival in the mid-2010s and successful runs on Netflix, Hodgson and his collaborators are still relying on the support of their dedicated fanbase to keep the laughter going. As the campaign nears its end, a 48-hour Mega Turkey Day Marathon Telethon has been organized to showcase fan-favorite episodes and encourage last-minute donations.
The Challenges of Producing MST3K During a Pandemic:
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for the production of MST3K. While the show has always been a small-scale production compared to other TV series, the pandemic necessitated even smaller crews and limited physical sets. The absence of physical sets deprived the hosts and their mad-scientist captors of the opportunity to interact and perform sketch comedy or musical numbers. Although green screen technology has been a staple of the show, shooting entire episodes against a green screen took away from the authentic and immersive experience that the live sets provided.
A Return to the Show’s Roots:
If the crowdfunding campaign is successful, the 14th season of MST3K will mark a return to the show’s roots in more ways than one. Joel Hodgson, who reprised his role as the host in the previous season, will be passing the torch to Jonah Ray and Emily Marsh for the upcoming season. Despite this change, Hodgson’s connection to the show’s origins will remain strong. As part of the crowdfunding drive, Hodgson announced that MST3K will finally tackle Plan 9 from Outer Space, the infamous sci-fi film often regarded as the worst movie ever made. This choice holds special significance as it was the inspiration for the creation of the show itself. Hodgson’s decision to wait 35 years to riff on Plan 9 was driven by a desire to explore other “adorable” bad films and not simply focus on the most famous one.
Charting the Future of MST3K:
Joel Hodgson has been gradually passing on the responsibility of MST3K to a younger generation of performers, writers, and crew members. While he didn’t direct any episodes in the previous season, he entrusted the duties to a talented trio. Hodgson looks forward to eventually stepping away from the project he launched in 1988, confident that there is now enough evidence for others to continue making new episodes. Pending the successful completion of the crowdfunding campaign, work on the 14th season could begin as early as January 2024, with new episodes premiering in late summer or early fall of the same year.
As the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crowdfunding campaign reaches its final stages, Joel Hodgson and the dedicated fanbase are hopeful for its success. The campaign aims to fund a 14th season of the beloved series, allowing a new generation to experience the joy of movie riffing. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the show’s creators remain committed to delivering the unique blend of humor and nostalgia that has made MST3K a cultural phenomenon. With plans to tackle the infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space and other cinematic turkeys, the future of MST3K looks promising. As the Mega Turkey Day Marathon Telethon kicks off, fans eagerly await the opportunity to contribute and ensure that the laughter continues for years to come.