MST3K Returns: First Impressions (NO SPOILERS)
Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Experiment 1101
Written by Joel Hodgson et al
Directed by Joel Hodgson and Robert Cohen
First things first: this is not a review per se. Due to the fact that the new MST3K season is under embargo until its April 14th premiere on Netflix, I will not be discussing any specific details (plot, movie, etc). This is merely a list of impressions and final thoughts from someone who grew up with the show as to how the new season looks to be shaping up.
- First of all, it’s nice to see some familiar sights updated with nice model work. This looks to be a recurring theme throughout the show.
- Hello, unexpected celebrity cameo!
- I know it’s the first episode and all, but the opening scene does seem to run on a bit long.
- TV’s Patton looks WAYYY too good as Son-of-Frank, and Felicia Day’s Kinga Forrester is nicely villainous, if that’s not a contradiction in terms.
- On a related note, I still can’t get over the fact that this apparently means that both Dr. Clayton & TV’s Frank went off and had kids at some point (separately, one assumes). The mind boggles.
- Love the new door sequence. So many hidden details in each “room”. Seriously, get your freeze-frame trigger finger ready.
- New Tom’s (Baron Vaughn) voice is going to take some getting used to for me. Fortunately, Crow (Hampton Yount) sounds sufficiently Crow-y that I don’t notice his voice most of the time.
- Whoa, Gypsy’s voice and puppet have had some changes made. A different direction, but I like it.
- Love the Mads’ outfits. There is going to be so much cosplay inspired by this show. Calling it now.
- TV’s Son of TV’s Franks’ actual name revealed!
- The return of a certain beloved staple of the show? Yes, please.
- Hey, Gypsy popping in for a riff or two. I wonder if this will be a semi-regular thing?
- Looks like the house band is gonna be a thing. Nice.
- Speaking of music, the gang likes to burst into song during riffing.
- Lots of music in general, really. Just like the old days.
- Another thing that hasn’t changed? Movie comic relief is still pretty painful.
- They have little spoken”outros” where the commercial breaks would go. These are accompanied by music from the house band.
- They have created a new arrangement of the “Mighty Science Theatre” closing theme, this time with a full orchestra by the sound of it. Very nice.
- Pleasant surprise to see some familiar names in the credits.
Overall? Pretty good, really. I got a kick out of it, and once things got settled down and the story established, it was like we were right back in the old groove. MST3K fans are lucky in this respect, in that it has always been an evolving creature. A new voice here, a new character there. We’ve learned to take it in stride. The core of the show–its heart, if you will–has always been the same. It still has the same wit intact, and with Joel Hodgson at the helm, this will most likely continue to be the case.
In short, don’t panic. If the rest of the season holds up to the first episode, it should be great fun. It’s nice to have the old-new gang back again.
Thank you, Joel Hodgson, for making us laugh at crappy movies. Again.
Kelly Luck first started watching MST3K when it was still on The Comedy Channel, before it merged with Ha! to become Comedy Central. This means she has now followed the show across four separate networks. Her other SciFi4Me work can be read here.