It’s been a while since I’ve written about Mystery Science Theater 3000 (hereafter MST3K) which remains my favorite television series of all time. I wrote a review of the first episode of the revival series back in 2017, just after the show was picked up for distribution by Netflix after a record-breaking Kickstarter. Alas, like many great Netflix series, the new MST3K was dropped after two seasons. But this was not the end!
Series creator Joel Hodgson bet that the MSTie nation was still strong and that they could do the impossible again. Hodgson wanted to keep making MST3K for as long as the fans were willing to finance it and not have to worry about feckless executives getting in the way of the work. Enter the Gizmoplex – the world’s first streaming platform devoted to a single television series. Another Kickstarter yielded the needed funds and the 13th season of MST3K premiered in March 2022.
The story for Season 13 picked up roughly where Season 12 ended, with Dr. Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt) having somehow recaptured their test subject Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray). They also embarked on a new scheme to win streaming stardom and make money, constructing the first movie theater on the moon, dubbed… wait for it… the Gizmoplex. They were aided in this scheme by Dr. Kabahl (Baron Vaughn), a mysterious financier from the future, who gave the Mads access to time-travel technology.
As usual, the metahumor and technobabble is just dressing for MST3K’s core concept – funny friends poking fun at cheesy movies. The cast of funny friends grew larger, however, with the future audiences’ demand for a more diverse cast and maximum profitability requiring a female host. Enter Emily Connor (Emily Marsh), who was stranded in a Satellite of Love simulator with her own versions of robots Tom Servo (Conor McGiffin) GPC (Yvonne Freese) and Crow (Kelsey Ann Brady). They also captured an older version of original host Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson) to win that vital nostalgia market.
The new season yielded 13 episodes, with the new hosts Jonah and Emily getting five each, Joel tackling two episodes and all three hosts teaming up in the series finale. There are a number of notable firsts among this batch of episodes, ranging from the first 3D episode of MST3K (which was also the series’ first Halloween special) and a new Holiday special, which marked the first time multiple hosts riffed on a movie together.
I won’t spoil how the season ends, but it was a satisfying conclusion to an outstanding return. Best of all, Joel Hodgson has confirmed that Season 14 is in the not-too-distant future of the Gizmoplex and an announcement about how MSTies old and new can help make it happen will be forthcoming in January 2023! So if you haven’t had a chance to see the new MST3K, get your hinders in gear this holiday break and #KeepCirculatingTheURL.