Mystery Science Theater 3000’s New Season Is Coming to Netflix

The bad-movie-bashing comedy is returning with some fresh blood—but will it still be relevant?

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Jul 25 2016, 7:15pm

Photos courtesy of Shout! Factory

Grab a comfy chair, call your favorite robot friends, and fire up some shitty movies: 17 years after the official end ofMystery Science Theater 3000, in which a few kidnapped space-goers were forced to watch terrible films by evil mad scientists trying to take over the world, the cult classic TV show is reentering orbit. Variety reports that, following a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign to bring the show back that raised more than $5 million, streaming giant Netflix is set to air new episodes in the as-yet-undetermined future.

Along with members of the original cast, new acting additions to the MST3K universe will include Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day. The writing staff's growing too, with Dan Harmon (Community,Rick and Morty) and former Community star Joel McHale. Harmon's involvement is particularly promising; a highly creative mind absolutely obsessed with pop-culture artifacts past and present, his contributions to this new round of MST3K (which will run 14 episodes this go-round) could potentially serve to bring the show's format up to speed with modern times.

Will that be enough, though? The spirit of MST3K(funny people making fun of bad movies) has persevered during the show's absence in a few forms—includingRiffTrax, an audio-commentary service that features comedic contributions from MST3K's Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murray, and Bill Corbett. Since it launched in 2006, RiffTrax has never experienced the type of visibility that MST3K once had, a possible explanation being that the internet's turned everything into MST3K.

Indeed, it's easier than ever to offer your own jokes and jabs on terrible films to an audience, whether it be firing off Twitter missives or unloading your thoughts on a podcast. In 2016, there's nothing particularly novel about MST3K's conceit, and that's before taking into account that the current generation's collective embrace of nostalgia—a sharp turn from the cynicism and irony that marked MST3K's little corner of the 90s world—wields the alchemy to flip previously maligned cultural artifacts into beloved works of art worth poring over.

Is it worth making fun of bad old movies if, under the current cultural lens, there is no such thing as bad old movies? Perhaps it's an irrelevant question to ask: The return ofMST3K is, like so many things these days, the latest undeniable proof of nostalgia's power to resurrect dormant properties—which is no laughing matter.

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