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Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Joel Announces the End of the Netflix Era

In an email to Kickstarter backers, Joel announced:

As some of you might have guessed, we won’t be making new seasons of the show for Netflix. However, I want you to know that we’ve had a wonderful time working with the Netflix team, and will always be grateful to them. After all, they gave us the opportunity to spend the past few years aboard the Satellite of Love, and made it possible for new generations to discover the joys of riffing cheesy movies with your friends.

I couldn’t be more grateful or proud to our incredible cast and our wonderful crew for bringing this incarnation of the show to life, and hope that we’ll get the chance to continue collaborating on MST3K as we enter our next chapter.

And, I’m pleased to confirm that The Return and The Gauntlet – along with a healthy selection of classic episodes – will continue to stream on Netflix, bringing some of the show’s best episodes to cheesy movie lovers around the world.

Now, I know you might have questions about the future of Mystery Science Theater, but as you’ve seen over the last four years, we are just as dedicated to keeping MST3K alive as ever. And I want to remind you that there are still lots of options for us to explore in the years to come. This isn’t our first rodeo! So, while this might be the end of the first chapter of bringing back MST3K, don’t worry: it’s not the last chapter.

101 Replies to “Joel Announces the End of the Netflix Era”

  1. littleaimishboy
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s a WDT for you.

    “What should they do next?”

       11 likes

  2. michaelkz
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    says:

    I would not mind a new cast and if that were necessary.

       7 likes

  3. SmudgyTheBootblack
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    says:

    …Say Hello to the WWE Network Era! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sCTi31Z2jA (poor quality but yeah)

       0 likes

  4. Kenneth Morgan
    Ignored
    says:

    As I’ve posted elsewhere, I went through this with CC, then with Sci-Fi, and now with Netflix. I can take it. I’m grateful for the episodes we got, and I look forward to the next chapter of MST, wherever it’s based. Joel just has to say where the new venue is and I’m there.

    Just don’t let it be Disney+, please. The executive meddling would be a nightmare.

       21 likes

  5. Scott Strong
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    says:

    Sad to hear this. I’ve really enjoyed The Gauntlet. I hope whatever they do next will involve the current cast. I think they’re just starting to click.

       10 likes

  6. skrag2112
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    says:

    There’s more than one streaming service out there. They just need to find one that will let them do their thing and not get in the way.

       8 likes

  7. ron_mcadams
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    says:

    On the announcement:

    We’ve been in this desert before… and it gave us Cinematic Titanic, Rifftrax, ICWXP, and The Mads are Back. We’ve lost bigger networks than Netflix, and we still came back. We’re in the middle of a year long tour that is entertaining MSTies just-like-you this-very-evening. Even with the announcement, there’s never been a better time to be a fan of this medium.

    It’s not the end, it’s another beginning.

       12 likes

  8. Endoplasmic Reticulum
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    I can’t say I’m disappointed. The Return showed promise, but The Gauntlet showed so signs of fixing what was wrong with The Return, so I wasn’t optimistic that the third installment would be up to standard. Still, I’m glad for the experience. They showed that there are a lot of crappy movies out there that deserve to be mocked. The movies in The Gauntlet were relatively new and really terrible, so it sure looks like there’s no end of lousy stuff to watch. (I think Netflix is in the vanguard these days.)

       10 likes

  9. new cornjob
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    says:

    =THE= question… !!! ;0…

    “HOW MUCH???” ;0 for a S13?????

    KICKSTARTER… PATREON… etc, etc… :) BRING IT ON, JOEL & JONAH!! ;0 (only reason i didn’t this past season, ‘cuz i’m so far outta ‘netflix’ range, and waiting just now -two- more days to buy a set of ‘the gauntlet’ -i hope ;)- at the nearby walmart…)

    don’t stop. don’t ever stop the riffin’, mon frerez!! :) loved s11.. got to see s12’s ‘mac and me’, and did not disappoint my riffin’-tickle-bone!

    mst3k should -never- be stopped as a tv-viewable medium… it, just… shouldn’t.

       3 likes

  10. new cornjob
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    says:

    new cornjob:
    =THE= question… !!! ;0…

    “HOW MUCH???” ;0 for a S13????? if i had two million to my name i’d spend a mill on it. (hit up some billionaires; i hear they have crazy mon to spare! ;0…)

    KICKSTARTER… PATREON… etc, etc… :) BRING IT ON, JOEL & JONAH!! ;0 (only reason i didn’t this past season, ‘cuz i’m so far outta ‘netflix’ range, and waiting just now -two- more days to buy a set of ‘the gauntlet’ -i hope ;)- at the nearby walmart…)

    don’t stop. don’t ever stop the riffin’, mon frerez!! :) loved s11.. got to see s12’s ‘mac and me’, and did not disappoint my riffin’-tickle-bone!

    mst3k should -never- be stopped as a tv-viewable medium… it, just… shouldn’t.

       0 likes

  11. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    new cornjob:
    =THE= question… !!! ;0…

    “HOW MUCH???” ;0 for a S13?????

    KICKSTARTER… PATREON… etc, etc… :) BRING IT ON, JOEL & JONAH!! ;0 (only reason i didn’t this past season, ‘cuz i’m so far outta ‘netflix’ range, and waiting just now -two- more days to buy a set of ‘the gauntlet’ -i hope ;)- at the nearby walmart…)

    don’t stop. don’t ever stop the riffin’, mon frerez!! :) loved s11.. got to see s12’s ‘mac and me’, and did not disappoint my riffin’-tickle-bone!

    mst3k should -never- be stopped as a tv-viewable medium… it, just… shouldn’t.

    What did you say?

       7 likes

  12. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:


    “HOW MUCH???” ;0 for a S13????? if i had two million to my name i’d spend a mill on it. (hit up some billionaires; i hear they have crazy mon to spare! ;0…)

    KICKSTARTER… PATREON… etc, etc… :) BRING IT ON, JOEL & JONAH!! ;0 (only reason i didn’t this past season, ‘cuz i’m so far outta ‘netflix’ range, and waiting just now -two- more days to buy a set of ‘the gauntlet’ -i hope ;)- at the nearby walmart…)

    don’t stop. don’t ever stop the riffin’, mon frerez!! :) loved s11.. got to see s12’s ‘mac and me’, and did not disappoint my riffin’-tickle-bone!

    mst3k should -never- be stopped as a tv-viewable medium… it, just… shouldn’t.

    Yeah, that’s what I THOUGHT you said.
    ;-)

       3 likes

  13. touches no one's life, then leaves
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    says:

    Would it address any of whatever the problem(s) might be to make it more “focused”? How about if they spent six episodes riffing a movie with many sequels along with five of those sequels? (not Japanese monster movies, though, they’ve “been there done that”) That way the movies themselves would be a series and might seem more “accessible” to, uh, something, and whatever, yeah, that’s the ticket. :-)

       5 likes

  14. mst3kme
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    says:

    Well, this is sad news.

    I’ve been a MSTie long enough to remember its previous cancellations.

    There was that Doug Herzog creep at Comedy Central who was smarmy and condescending about MST3K and us MSTies.

    There was Bonnie Hammer and Sci-Fi Channel who demanded only science fiction related movies and an ongoing storyline.

    Netflix never releases ratings, so who knows how well MST3K was doing.

    I wonder what’s next.

    Hulu is now owned primarily by Disney.

    Amazon Prime, maybe.

    Or perhaps back to cable.

    Jonah seems to be a really nice guy who has been befriended by the Rifftrax folks.

       5 likes

  15. Ray Dunakin
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    If they made new stuff and just went straight to DVD with it, that would be fine by me. Probably not as profitable as “streaming” though.

       11 likes

  16. profhackenbush
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    says:

    Sad that they’re not renewing,but can’t say I wasn’t surprised,since Netflix is known for doing this…
    If they bring it back,start over with a new cast and Mad..why not have the same cast that’s on their new tour? With a new host,of course..
    I wonder if they could go to Rifftrax and do a movie a week,perhaps?

       5 likes

  17. new cornjob
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    says:

    say what?? ;0 yeah, that’s what i thought you said!! ;)

       0 likes

  18. new cornjob
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    says:

    can’t edit yourself, y’say?? ;0 got a billion dollars, y’say?? ;0 gonna sell it to disney!!;0

       1 likes

  19. yelling_into_the_void
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    says:

    So thing I heard (And I quote George Takei: “Oh, you read that on the internet? Then it must be true.”) is that shows on streaming services are only profitable to the company for about two seasons. After that they’re not gaining any more viewers and the cast & crew start asking for more money.

       4 likes

  20. new cornjob
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    says:

    Ray Dunakin:
    If they made new stuff and just went straight to DVD with it, that would be fine by me. Probably not as profitable as “streaming” though.

    maybe… maybe not. they don’t let those numbers out to the public… personally, i -am- waiting for the dvd release to buy. (and that’s not likely to give much allowance to NF… ;0)

       0 likes

  21. K J Morrissey
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    says:

    I thought this might happen when Netflix ordered a small number of episodes for this recent season. My take on this…screw these over the air and streaming services. Look, the Kickstarter was a big success – the fan base for this show is small but strong. The fans wanted the show back, and donated for its return. And as a bonus fans got the show back on the air. I say – back to Kickstarter but not for broadcast / streaming services. Donate money – get some stuff AND if enough is made on the Kickstarter, make new episodes to be released directly to the fans via digital downloads, DVD’s and Blurays. And after a set time period (6 months or a year) after that, then they can be offered to TV stations and streaming services. The fans get new episodes, and money can be made later on via sales. They did it with Cinematic Titanic. Another suggestion – do things like Rifftrax – Have live shows and broadcast them directly to theaters across the country, and then sell DVD’s and Blurays and digital downlaods of the shows.
    Just my 2 cents.

       11 likes

  22. CaptEoNinja83 .
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    says:

    Tv’s Son of Tv’s Frank put it best. “This stinks! And not in the joke way, it really does stink!”

    I’m up and down about this in so many ways.
    I’m glad Joel reassures us that he has no intention of letting MST end for good. That’s awesome, BUT I really love Jonah, Baron, Hampton, Felicia, Patton, and Rebecca and Hate the idea of starting all over with new people.

    If only Netflix MST had one more season so we could’ve had a decent amount of Jonah episodes to balance out “The Gauntlet” since that was too short a season.

    Joel should either sign up with Shout Factory or set up some sort of website of his own to release new episodes with maybe a Patreon account.

       7 likes

  23. CaptEoNinja83 .
    Ignored
    says:

    CaptEoNinja83 .:
    Tv’s Son of Tv’s Frank put it best. “This stinks! And not in the joke way, it really does stink!”

    I’m up and down about this in so many ways.
    I’m glad Joel reassures us that he has no intention of letting MST end for good. That’s awesome, BUT I really love Jonah, Baron, Hampton, Felicia, Patton, and Rebecca and Hate the idea of starting all over with new people.

    If only Netflix MST had one more season so we could’ve had a decent amount of Jonah episodes to balance out “The Gauntlet” since that was too short a season.

    Joel should either sign up with Shout Factory or set up some sort of website of his own to release new episodes with maybe a Patreon account.

    Also, Joel just seriously needs to release DVDS/Blu-rays of the Live Shows so that will help us during this withdrawal period! I WANT THOSE LIVE SHOWS DARNNIT!

       11 likes

  24. nomad
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    says:

    Hopefully Joel found that missing KTMA episode. That could be his ace in the hole. I know I’d give good money to a Kickstarter if it came with a bonus KTMA #3 download!

       3 likes

  25. mando3b
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    says:

    Like Endoplasmic Reticulum (it feels so weird to write that!), I’m not that disappointed, but also enjoyed the experience. Upon further contemplation, I thought The Gauntlet was actually a step back from S11: the cast started to gel, the Mads had more to do, but half the movies were unwatchable, and they made some other really dubious choices: extra robots who were more Henson-babies than Hodgson-worthy, all the meta-classic-MST pandering, etc. I really liked Jonah as host, though, and he would be a good start to a fourth iteration. They would need to make the ‘bots (esp. Crow & Servo) stronger, more distinct personalities, however: that was a hallmark of the classic series and they never got that right on Netflix.

       8 likes

  26. K J Morrissey
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    says:

    Well, there’s also ME TV and Decades that could show episode. ME TV might be best for new shows…the show Svenghoulie Saturday nights. It would fit right into their Saturday schedule.

       4 likes

  27. mst3kme
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    says:

    Rifftrax posted this link.

    https://www.rifftrax.com/mst3k-the-gauntlet-hd-bundle?utm_source=CTA&utm_medium=Video%20Hero

    Pre-order all six episodes of THE GAUNTLET at a special discount price with this Digital HD Bundle!

    NOTE: The Gauntlet will be available to download and stream on November 28th.

       6 likes

  28. michaelkz
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    says:

    Anything less than a proper TV production of some kind would just make MST3K look like it’s on life support.

       5 likes

  29. robertdenton
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    says:

    Netflix was a poor fit. They tried to force their binge model on MST3K and it didn’t work. I never loved these new episodes anyway. I hope they get it sorted out and land on their feet somewhere that “gets it”.

       8 likes

  30. The Original EricJ
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    says:

    That’s too bad, I was looking forward to Joel taking the same page from his Cinematic Titanic videos, and turning the last shark-jumped S13 into Jonah traveling on the “Deep Hurting Live Tour” (as script-planted at the end of “Ator”), with concert-videos of live theater shows resembling the MST3K Circus Tour. Which is why he experimented with giving the Circus show-style puppet host-segments.
    And which, like the CT Live and RT Live videos, would give us the benefit of a live-audience laughtrack, often picking up on those sweet “Wtf??” moments when an audience explodes at a strange moment on screen before the riff can even hit, and ended up a lot funnier than the claustrophobic studio-setup episodes.

    robertdenton:
    Netflix was a poor fit. They tried to force their binge model on MST3K and it didn’t work. I never loved these new episodes anyway. I hope they get it sorted out and land on their feet somewhere that “gets it”.

    I don’t think it was Netflix’s doing–The (gesture) “Gauntlet” sounded like Ol’ Man Joel, even as far back as S11, believing “Well, it’s the new Netflix era, ALL the kids are supposed to binge!”, just because he couldn’t adjust to a new world without cable networks.
    Like your dad trying to use Internet slang, most of us non-bingers just sort of facepalmed, and muttered “(Uh, not in front of my friends, please?)”

    Ie., pretty much the same reason we got that Asylum movie in S12.

       2 likes

  31. jjk50
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    says:

    It would be nice if they went back to basic cable. Some of us old-timers used to watch it on those TV sets plugged into the wall.

       11 likes

  32. The Original EricJ
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    says:

    This isn’t our first rodeo!

    …Yeah, but they’re not exactly Junior Rodeo Daredevils anymore, either (hot ‘n saucy, Texas style.)

       5 likes

  33. Terry the Sensitive Knight
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    says:

    mando3b: hey would need to make the ‘bots (esp. Crow & Servo) stronger, more distinct personalities, however: that was a hallmark of the classic series and they never got that right on Netflix.

    this is by far my biggest issue with the Netflix series, Crow and Tom lack personality
    my favorite sketch was Starcrash’s “World War Space” because it really felt like CC-era Crow

       7 likes

  34. Terry the Sensitive Knight
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    says:

    Overall I can’t say I’m surprised. MST3K has been canceled and picked up so many times over the past 25 years it’s crazy.

       4 likes

  35. Megalon
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    says:

    I’m disappointed — not just because Netflix cancelled the show, but also because I’m pretty sure the Netflix contract included a non-competition clause that will keep the show off other platforms for years to come.

    I’m afraid it’ll be a long time before we see more MST3k.

       5 likes

  36. touches no one's life, then leaves
    Ignored
    says:

    If they restricted themselves solely to public domain films, that would at least cut down expenses (and I presume money is at least part of the problem). Back in the thirties and so on multiple Hollywood production companies released scores of films per month just to get something, ANYTHING, on the screens, and way more often than not no one ever expected those films to be seen again. The same probably holds true in some other nations (and, after all, filmmakers who outright steal footage from U.S. films aren’t in all THAT great a position to complain about copyright issues).

    I’m sure that many copyrights failed to get registered, but even then, as time went on, copyrights failed to get RENEWED. There are probably plenty of public domain not-all-that-good films, in nearly any genre, waiting to be riffed. They just have to be found. Just as MST3K found its obscurer films to begin with. Only now they have armies of internet-savvy fans to do the work for them. ;-)

    mando3b:
    They would need to make the ‘bots (esp. Crow & Servo) stronger, more distinct personalities, however: that was a hallmark of the classic series and they never got that right on Netflix.

    They were trying to re-create character dynamics that originally evolved over YEARS. That’s always going to be tricky. It’s like how they expected immediate chemistry between Kinga and Max. That’s Not How Stuff Works.

    CaptEoNinja83 .: Also, Joel just seriously needs to release DVDS/Blu-rays of the Live Shows so that will help us during this withdrawal period! I WANT THOSE LIVE SHOWS DARNNIT!

    Are we even certain that they’re recording the live shows? Cinematic Titanic didn’t record all of THEIRS and if “The Mads Are Back” have released ANYTHING on physical media, well, I haven’t seen anything about that.

    Also, is Incognito Cinema Warriors XP even in production any more? What’s the deal THERE?

       3 likes

  37. Say No To Yes
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    says:

    Probably a long shot to hope for, but I really wish any new episodes would have Joel as host, with Trace back as Crow and Kevin as Servo, along with Mary Jo, Frank and Josh as the mads, and Bridget too. Kick the show back into “old school” mode. I know this is probably unrealistic, but a person can dream, can’t they?
    :)

       8 likes

  38. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know much about how new shows, tv or otherwise, get started these days. What I do know is that the way Joel and Company did it all those years ago is no longer possible. MST3K was the result of its time and place as much as the creativity of a small handful of energetic and creative people. How do you duplicate something so unique?

       14 likes

  39. michaelkz
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    says:

    jay:
    I don’t know much about how new shows, tv or otherwise, get started these days.What I do know is that the way Joel and Company did it all those years ago is no longer possible.MST3K was the result of its time and place as much as the creativity of a small handful of energetic and creative people.How do you duplicate something so unique?

    This is a good point. Perhaps it is time to truly MST3K fade away.

       4 likes

  40. littleaimishboy
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    says:

    K J Morrissey:
    ME TV might be best for new shows…they show Svenghoulie Saturday nights.

    BER-wyn???

       4 likes

  41. DiscoJer
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    says:

    jay:
    I don’t know much about how new shows, tv or otherwise, get started these days.What I do know is that the way Joel and Company did it all those years ago is no longer possible.MST3K was the result of its time and place as much as the creativity of a small handful of energetic and creative people.How do you duplicate something so unique?

    I dunno. As others have pointed out, Svenghoolie exists. While he’s more a standard movie monster host, there’s some overlap. I think people are too caught up in the internet today to realize there is still a world outside it, besides just streaming. And besides Hollywood. While I sure they probably didn’t cost much because they liked doing the show, people like Johan Ray and Patton Oswald are are still somewhere between A and B tier celebrities. MST3K was really born out of local, upper midwest stand up comedy. I’m sure there are still comics there.

       2 likes

  42. Cornjob
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    says:

    Crap

       2 likes

  43. Kenneth Morgan
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    says:

    michaelkz: This is a good point. Perhaps it is time to truly MST3K fade away.

    Not yet, it ain’t.

       6 likes

  44. michaelkz
    Ignored
    says:

    Kenneth Morgan: Not yet, it ain’t.

    Why not? A reboot with no home and a cast that would never have a chance properly gel, is that what you want MST3K to be now?

       4 likes

  45. Kenneth Morgan
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    says:

    michaelkz: Why not?A reboot with no home and a cast that would never have a chance properly gel, is that what you want MST3K to be now?

    I want it to be funny, and it has been through all four venues. Why stop now?

       5 likes

  46. Terry the Sensitive Knight
    Ignored
    says:

    jay:
    I don’t know much about how new shows, tv or otherwise, get started these days.What I do know is that the way Joel and Company did it all those years ago is no longer possible.MST3K was the result of its time and place as much as the creativity of a small handful of energetic and creative people.How do you duplicate something so unique?

    that’s another good point, the Netflix series seemed overproduced compared to the small-time feel of the original show

       14 likes

  47. Ray Dunakin
    Ignored
    says:

    Terry the Sensitive Knight: that’s another good point, the Netflix series seemed overproduced compared to the small-time feel of the original show

    WAY over-produced, IMHO. To me it seemed like there was too much stuff being done just because they had the money to do it, that didn’t really add any value to the core purpose of the show.

       16 likes

  48. Eddie J Miller
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    says:

    I love the idea of MST3K being on METV after Svengoolie! Maybe even have some crossover where Svengoolie and the Bots interact, or make Berwyn the new Mad! How about riffing some of the old TV shows on METV, put a couple of episodes together like they did on Master Ninja. Can you imagine riffing The Love Boat for example?

    K J Morrissey:
    Well, there’s also ME TV and Decades that could show episode.ME TV might be best for new shows…the show Svenghoulie Saturday nights.It would fit right into their Saturday schedule.

       5 likes

  49. michaelkz
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    says:

    Ray Dunakin: WAY over-produced, IMHO. To me it seemed like there was too much stuff being done just because they had the money to do it, that didn’t really add any value to the core purpose of the show.

    Yes.

    I like the METV idea. It would bring the back down to its UHF/Comedy Central roots. However, Svengoolie is the only original program they produce and is relatively simple. I don’t know if the owners would consider spending even a modest amount of money on MST3K.

       0 likes

  50. It’s not going to happen again until Joel gets chopped, channeled, and Hooker headers and Thrush pipes installed.
    His need to create a complex universe/back story/matrix for the show worked, somewhat, when it was a tiny, indy production on an obscure UHF station in a small market, because it was unexpected.
    But, enough is enough.
    –The open is not only not funny, it’s incomprehensible unless you saw S11E01, and memorized it.
    –The bit with putting the canisters in the wheel of time, or whatever the f that is, is as stupid and pointless as the similar bit on Cinematic Titanic.
    –The Skeleton Crew isn’t funny or charming in concept or execution. Playing the songs from the old show is a great idea, but Paul Chapin tootling them on a recorder in the corner would be far funnier and far less confusing to a new viewer.
    He should have learned something from The Film Crew. A complex, frequently annoying and always irrelevant back story wasn’t funny.
    He should have learned something from Cinematic Titanic. NOTHING outside the riffing was even remotely amusing.
    He should have learned something from TV Wheel, for that matter.
    He should have learned something from the ongoing presence of Rifftrax.

    PEOPLE COME HERE FOR THE FUNNY.

    WE may not be here for the funny, BUT LET’S FACE IT, GUYS, WE’RE OLD. The original show, recall, had a serious following of kids (and for those of you who’ve mentioned Svengoolie, EXACTLY). What nine-year-old is going to buy into, not the idea of people making fun of movies, but the ball of confusion that the Return shows presented that in?

    BTW, I thought the movie selections were about three-quarters brilliant. I thought every ep had some write-them-down hilarious riffs. The best line I’ve ever heard from any MST-related show, ever, since the beginning of time, was Patton Oswalt’s quiet, wincing read of, “Ooh. The sled crashed.”

    But my GOD did I want to throw something at the screen every time that “Somebody needs my help…” line played.

       12 likes

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