'MST3K' Could Have A Long Life On Netflix

by Kayla Hawkins
Darren Michaels/Netflix

If you love a TV series that was gone too soon, now there's a good chance that it could come back, even if it's been years. Just look at Mystery Science Theater 3000, the original bad movie commentary series. The riff-off show is finally back in a new incarnation. The show's long-awaited comeback, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return, will go live on Netflix on Apr. 14, with a new cast bringing the late-'80s/'90s cult comedy classic back to life. The show is revived for 14 new episodes, but will there be more Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return?

Another season hasn't been announced yet. But Netflix usually makes its renewal announcements rather quickly, so keep an eye out in the weeks following the premiere date for any word. The long-running comedy has a big built-in fanbase — the streaming service has proof from the MST3K Kickstarter campaign that those fans were willing to pay $6.3 million in order to see another season from original creator Joel Hodgson. Hodgson is the one who ultimately made the final call to bring MST3K back to Netflix. He explained his decision to his backers in a MST3K Kickstarter update from August 2016, when the news first broke that the series would be returning.

One major factor swayed his opinion: time. "I think one of the biggest reasons I'm glad we're on Netflix is length," Hodgson wrote on Kickstarter. "See, MST is a lot longer than most television shows, because each episode includes most of a cheesy feature film." While the old episodes generally clocked in at two hours, with plenty of time for riffing, Hodgson explains that things have changed. With "Peak TV," there's not as much empty time networks are looking to fill. "These days, broadcast and cable programming is really competitive, and it's a lot harder to keep one show on for two hours every week [...] I think we figured out pretty fast that it would be best for MST3K to live on a digital platform. That way, no one would be worried about cutting the episodes in half or finding enough advertisers," Hodgson said.

Ultimately, Hodgson argued on Kickstarter, the show's best bet for additional episodes lies with Netflix. He wrote, "Lots of people already have Netflix – they're in over 80 million homes worldwide – which means that this gives us a really great chance for more people to discover our little show. And if more people start watching, it gives us a better chance of being renewed for more new seasons, which was always the goal."

So, in his presumably expert opinion, MST3K's place on Netflix could easily mean more episodes. So when Season 12 debuts, get thrilled to sit down and throw popcorn at the parade of bad movies and hilariously goofy commentary on your screen.