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MST3K Return Marks Revival of Iconic Series

MST3K(04.25.2017) By Jared Martin — In the early nineties Mystery Science Theater 3000 cultivated a cult audience with its charming DIY aesthetics, a wide breadth of pop culture references, and most importantly, some of the worst movies ever made.

After successful runs on Comedy Central and SciFi the show was cancelled, and the series remained dead for years. However, following a successful Kickstarter funded by MST3K’s devoted fan base the series has returned on Netflix.

This revival manages to capture the same spirit as the original series, with just as many awful movies, sharp jokes, and cardboard effects. The show features an all-new cast, led by host Jonah Ray, who provides the same laid back feel as the original. Patton Oswalt and Felica Day co-star as the mad scientists who experiment on Jonah with bad movies, and they’re entertaining additions to the cast.

Comedians Baron Vaughn and Hampton Yount have taken over the roles of the series’ beloved robots Tom Servo and Crow, and while the change in voice is noticeable, particularly in the no-longer-sultry-voiced Tom Servo, they do an admirable job delivering the jokes.

As for the jokes, they’re just as sharp and varied as they’ve always been. The writers seem to have just as vast a wealth of pop culture knowledge to pull from as the writers of the original.

The jokes fly out at a much quicker pace, however, as hardly a minute goes by without some small joke, and while not all of the jokes are winners there are still just as many good ones as there ever were.

Of course, the movies also provide plenty of material, with no shortage of awful movies made in the 70s and 80s to watch and crack jokes about. On a particular note the second episode features the film Crying Wilderness, which is every bit as amazingly, bafflingly bad as classic MST3K movies.

While the revival retains the strengths of the original series, it also holds on to a lot of its weaknesses.

The segments outside of the movie are still rather weak, and sometimes the jokes are a little too obscure. There are also a few odd cutaways to a screen with announcements by Patton Oswalt that seem like they’re set up for commercial breaks, but with the show on Netflix they feel completely unnecessary.

Whether or not you enjoy Mystery Science Theater 3000 depends on how you feel about bad movies, but if you enjoy watching them or the original series this revival will definitely appeal to you. It’s a bit of a niche idea, and it always has been, but in the realm of bad movie watching, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is still the king.