The MST3K Reboot Makes It Feel Like MST3K Never Left

mst3k rap

On August 8, 1999, Mike J. Nelson and his bots finally manage to escape the Satellite of Love. A remote-control mishap sent the satellite plummeting to earth, where the crew narrowly avoided burning up in orbit. Once they landed safely, Mike rented an apartment, and the gang continued to riff on terrible movies.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiere doesn’t bother explaining what happened to Nelson, or why Crow and Tom Servo are back in space. Although the show does take the time to introduce us to our new villains, Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt), as well as our new host, Jonah Ray, the series picks back up as if no time had passed at all.

mst3k bots

After a brief introduction scene (featuring Wil Wheaton), Jonah, Crow, Servo, and even Gypsy move on to doing what they do best: cracking wise at goofy b-movies. By the time we see the gang together, Jonah and the bots are already pals, which seems like a wise call. There are no awkward introductions or explanations of concepts like “Movie Sign.” As the theme song says, it’s just a show, and MST3k is at its best when the viewers just relax.

The MST3K reboot isn’t exactly like the show of old, but it’s pretty darn close. The props and sets have the same low-budget charm that they’ve always had. The Satellite crew still participate in an invention exchange (something the original show abandoned in its 6th season). There are still wacky, movie-related skits. The cast even takes the time to read a few letters from fans of the show.

mst3k reptilicus

And of course, there are still endearingly low-budget movies. The crew’s debut movie is Reptilicus, a Danish-American monster flick that feels like it was made to be riffed on. It has everything a MST3K movie needs: hokey special effects, a ridiculous plot, dubious acting, and characters that were made to make fun of. There’s an overall-clad comic relief character that uses scientific equipment to inspect his lunch; this film is MST3K goldmine.

mst3k reptilicus

Jonah’s hosting style feels a little closer to Joel Hodgson’s than Mike J. Nelson’s; I expect that we’ll see a lot of prop-based humor that was ever-present in the show’s early season. With that said, he’s more than a clone of the hosts of old. Jonah Ray is a big fan of music, and that passion is definitely present in his comedy. In the first episode, we got some singing, a bit of beatboxing and a surprisingly educational (and catchy) number about international monsters.

Some shows have had pacing issues when they switched to streaming services. Thankfully, MST3K seems like it’ll fit in just fine on Netflix. While there are no longer commercial breaks, there are brief, fun interludes that keep the show moving right along (footloose and fancy free.)

mst3k commercial breaks

If you’ve ever enjoyed Mystery Science Theater 3000, you owe it to yourself to check out the show when it hits Netflix on April 14. The show has been off the air for more than 15 years, but when I tuned into the MST3K reboot, it felt like it had never left the airwaves. The new show makes a few tweaks to the formula, but it still has all the things that made the old show great. I’m looking forward to sitting through bad films and robot role calls all over again.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x