If 2016 was the year of sequels and reboots, 2017 is the year that our old favorites straight-up came back, or at least got to resume where they left off. Already we’ve seen the return of Samurai Jack, just one month from now we’re getting more Twin Peaks, and, oh, Lasagna Cat. Don’t forget Lasagna Cat.
And now, thanks to the magic of Internet fandom and crowd-funding, a new season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 has come to Netflix, ready to provide us with more deliberately corny sketches followed by a human plus his robot friends commenting over a B movie aboard their space station. Alas, and I may step on a few toes when I say this, MST3K is probably the comeback I was the least excited for, mostly because I never felt like the series needed to continue and also because the last people to have portrayed the main characters – Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett – moved on to do RiffTrax, thus giving the fans a quencher all the same. Therefore, this new season feels more like it belongs in reboot territory after all and not only because Mike is no longer our host and the robots are all re-cast. I’ll bet you the J. Elvis Weinstein fans are angrier today than ever.
Some who did return, however, are people before the Mike era, such as show creator Joel Hodgson (even if actors from later seasons are slated to cameo), here to pass on the torch to a new generation of riff-ers and evil scientists supplying said riff-ers with torturous films. Jonah Ray is our host, Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn voice Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, and the son of Dr. Clayton Forrester’s henchman TV’s Frank is played by Patton Oswalt. Forrester himself apparently had a child too (presumably before he was turned into a Star Child by an enlarged VHS tape), played here by Felicia Day.
The film that Jay and the bots are forced to watch is Reptilicus, a Danish monster movie that Cinemassacre covered a long time ago – this is all I know about it, aside from the fact that it involves a dragon-like puppet and green slime.
The episode is technically not bad and I had a good time watching it. I didn’t find Felicia Day terribly funny and some of the riffs were, expectedly, weaker than others (the pacing was also off, with a new joke being made before the punchline of the last one had sunk in) but it was lovingly put together, with the campy special effects, obscure references, and all that. I suppose I just feel like I haven’t really wished for this day the same way I’ve longed to see the ending for Twin Peaks and Samurai Jack. Like I said, we’ve already had RiffTrax and Joel himself even tried out an idea called Cinematic Titanic, but considering the reception of the latter show, I guess it makes sense he’d want to tread safer waters in the not too distant future.