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'Mystery Science Theater 3000' Returns, Thanks To Fan Support

Mystery Science Theater 3000

More than 25 years ago, Wisconsin native Joel Hodgson and a handful of other funny people launched a TV show on a UHF station in the Twin Cities. Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured Hodgson as the good natured Joel Robinson, who was sent into space by two mad scientists and sentenced to watch bad movies.

The show featured Hodgson in silhouette, riffing on the films with the help of two robots, Tom Servo and Crow.  It was popular enough that it was picked up by Comedy Central, where it ran for most of a decade before going off the airwaves. More recently, Hodgson and others from the original cast produced a similar, live theater version, called Cinematic Titanic.

But last month, Hodgson announced a Kickstarter campaign to reboot MST3K, as it’s known, albeit with a new cast.  The campaign almost immediately raised $2 million – enough for a handful of episodes.  It’s in the homestretch to reach $5.5 million, which would allow the team to produce a full season with 12 episodes. 

"People had always said to me if there's ever been a show that needs to use crowdfunding - it's Mystery Science Theater - just because the fans have been such a big part of it from the beginning. When we were on cable, they used to make VHS copies and send them to their friends and family all over the world," says Hodgson.

With the campaign closing in on reaching its goal, Hodgson wants the reboot to pay homage to the original show, but also bring in fresh faces along with new films to "critique."

"People really thought this would be a reunion show – they thought it was going to be kind of like Laverne and Shirley when they did those things and they’d sit in directors’ chairs and send up clips. I really felt like the show really deserved to be refreshed," says Hodgson.

For the Lake Effect team, "Mr. B Natural" is one of our favorites:


Joel Hodgson was born in Stevens Point and grew up in Fort Atkinson and Green Bay. Hodgson and others will host a livestream countdown of the last five hours of the relaunch campaign Saturday night.