In the not-too-distant future, fans of the science fiction comedy show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” may be seeing more of the cult classic.
“MST3K” creator Joel Hodgson has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to bring back the show. The initial goal is to raise $2 million by Dec. 12, which would enable those behind the show to create three new episodes of the program. The ultimate goal, however, writes Mr. Hodgson on the Kickstarter page, is to raise $5.5 million to create a full season of 12 episodes.
From Hodgson’s message, it doesn’t sound like there’s a network or streaming service to distribute the show in place yet. He points to the Kickstarter page as a crucial way to prove there’s a demand for the show.
“If we want a lot more MST3K, we need to work together to prove that there's still an audience out there that wants MST3K – and that this isn't all some pitiable delusion – so that we can find a network or online platform who will agree to pick up the show and keep it going,” Hodgson wrote.
At press time, the Kickstarter page lists donations of nearly $500,000.
Fans know Hodgson and Michael J. Nelson, who starred on the show as movie fans who cracked jokes about movies with their robot friends. Hodgson reportedly wants to bring back people who were involved with the original show, but it sounds like there will be new faces in front of the camera.
“Basically, I’m trying to blend the old with the new,” he said. “’Mystery Science Theater’ has already refreshed itself once with a completely new cast, so I think it deserves to do that again. The original cast is going to be invited back to write, produce, and do cameos as their mad science characters, and then there’s a new cast with new talent.”
“MST3K” originally aired on networks including Comedy Central and The Sci-Fi Channel before being canceled in 1999.
For Hollywood, Kickstarter has an innate attraction: financial backers don’t have to guess whether a certain property has an audience, they can find out immediately using the site. Those behind the UPN TV show “Veronica Mars” used the site to raise funds for a “Mars” film, and an online version of the PBS TV show “Reading Rainbow” also got funds through a Kickstarter page.
Some have objected when stars like Zach Braff and Spike Lee have used the site, however. These opponents argue that the celebrities could get funding without proving demand through a Kickstarter page. Mr. Lee said that perhaps his use of Kickstarter could make others aware of the site as a fundraising option. “I'm bringing people to Kickstarter who've never even heard of Kickstarter,” he said.