Of all the Netflix reboots, MST3K seems like the most harmless concept. It's a tried and true formula. Making fun of bad movies never gets old, and a new season means new material. But which movies are in Mystery Science Theater: The Return? There are spoilers for every episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return ahead, please don't read on unless you're super sure that you can't resist.
The premise of MST3K — if you never found yourself glued to the screen watching it back in the '90s — is that an ordinary janitor has been trapped by two mad scientists on the "Satellite of Love" and forced to watch awful movies as an experiment. The scientists are trying to break him, but never seem to. Joel, the Janitor, built two robots that watch the movies with him. Their banter keeps him sane, and entertains us.
Honestly, it's unlikely that you've ever heard of any of these — unless, of course, you are an aficionado of B movies. These low budget (but not particularly artsy) films, often of the horror or science fiction genres, are the MST3K specialty. They became popular in the 1950s. Some of MST3K's original comedians created RiffTrax, which takes that banter to major blockbusters. But the series typically goes with movies that aren't even well-known enough to be cult classics. I wouldn't know anything about Merlin's Shop Of Mystical Wonders or Overdrawn At The Memory Bank without this show's original run.
The titles have been top secret, thus far. According to the The New York Times, the MST3K creators want audiences to come in fresh. However, now that the episodes have officially dropped, the movie curtain has been lifted. Read on if you dare, or want to know how to watch them without commentary when you finish the new episodes!
Episode 1 — Reptilicus
Episode 2 — Cry Wilderness
In this 1987 movie, a boy befriends Bigfoot... and there's also an escaped tiger.
Episode 3 — The Time Travelers
Not to be confused with The Time Traveler's Wife, this 1964 film involves portals to the future — something I wouldn't mind having in 2017.
Episode 4 — Avalanche
Even Mia Farrow and Rock Hudson can't save this 1978 disaster movie.
Episode 5 — The Beast Of Hollow Mountain
Honestly, I'm on board with this genre-bending movie from 1956. Cowboys and dinosaurs just make sense together.
Episode 6 — Starcrash
Well, it isn't Star Wars.
Episode 7 — The Land That Time Forgot
More dinosaurs! This time with World War I German soldiers! The '70s adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs novel is a reminder that I should probably only watch B movies, right?
Episode 8 — The Loves Of Hercules
This 1960 toga movie asks the question, "what if we added more damsels in distress to mythology?"
Episode 9 — Yongary, Monster From The Deep
While it's cool to see a 1967 monster movie made and set in Korea, that doesn't make it good.
Episode 10 — Wizards Of The Lost Kingdom
Well, it isn't Harry Potter.
Episode 11 — Wizards Of The Lost Kingdom II
Yes! Of course this movie had a sequel in 1989, and of course they watched it.
Episode 12 — Carnival Magic
Is this 1981 movie more about magic powers or monkey capers? Hard to tell.
Episode 13 — The Christmas That Almost Wasn't
Even a Netflix series can have a holiday special. This 1966 Christmas movie is about Santa not being able to pay his rent and facing eviction. Doesn't that get you in the spirit?
Episode 14 — At The Earth's Core
The final film in Season 1 has, you guessed it, dinosaurs! Also based on an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, the 1976 movie stars Peter Cushing, who we know best as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (and as a CGI zombie in Rogue One).
That's all for MST3K Season 1. But the best thing about B movies is that there are more than you can count already, and they just keep on coming. Here's hoping that this reboot continues and adds more low-budget gems to this list.