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Almost there! MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 will return... and if we can get to $5.9MM, we'll get THIRTEEN new episodes of MST3K!
You did it: you brought back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! Thanks to you, MST3K shot FOURTEEN NEW EPISODES this year, including a new holiday special, and will return in 2017 on Netflix!
You did it: you brought back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! Thanks to you, MST3K shot FOURTEEN NEW EPISODES this year, including a new holiday special, and will return in 2017 on Netflix!
48,270 backers pledged $5,764,229 to help bring this project to life.

MST3K's new season will be on NETFLIX! Plus: the return of Pearl, Bobo and Brain Guy!

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Dear MST3K Revival League,

Joel here. How is everyone? I hope you all had a good weekend.

This update took a few days longer to write than I wanted, because I had a few personal matters come up just after San Diego Comic-Con, so I'm just getting home.

But, you know, even if you weren't able to "tune in" last Saturday night when we posted it, I'm hoping you've now heard the big news that we announced, because it seems like it got around pretty fast.

After going to a lot of meetings with a lot of networks, and talking with lots of board rooms full of open-minded executives, we've finally reached a deal I'm thrilled about:

I'm really happy to tell you that Mystery Science Theater 3000 has found a new home with our friends at Netflix!

Now, we just wrapped up this deal last Saturday – just a couple hours before our panel – so I don't have all of the details and answers for you just yet. But the most important thing I can tell you is that this is a really great outcome for our show. I'll tell you more in a second, but here are a few other specific details you might want to know:

  • WHERE: We've reached a deal with Netflix to distribute MST3K in what our lawyers call "the English-speaking territories," which means you'll be able to watch Mystery Science Theater on Netflix in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland. This is huge, because we’ve actually never been available outside of North America before.

(Now, if you're not in one of those countries, don't get too worked up yet. We're still looking at more international options. And no matter what, I promise: if your Kickstarter rewards include the new episodes, you will get them at the same time as everyone else, no matter where you live. We're not going to make you wait. You're not second-class citizens! You’re first class all the way.)

  • WHEN: The official announcement said that the new episodes will be released in "the not-too-distant future", and of course, I want to get them to you as soon as we can… but like I said earlier this year: I want to get these new episodes right, even if it takes a little longer to finish them. So, we don't have an official date yet, but we'll tell you as soon as we do.

Also, some of you are wondering what this means for your Kickstarter rewards, like the live-stream, the digital downloads of the new season, and the DVDs. But don't worry, my friends: We're going to do right by you. We made sure that Netflix knew about all of our Kickstarter promises, and made sure we'd still be able to honor them. So, even though the new season will be available on Netflix, it won't change when you get your rewards.

Why Netflix?

There are a lot of reasons that helped us decide Netflix was the best home for Mystery Science Theater, but I just want to tell you a few of the big ones.

I think one of the biggest reasons I'm glad we're on Netflix is length. See, MST is a lot longer than most television shows, because each episode includes most of a cheesy feature film. Back when we were first making MST3K, that wasn't a problem. In fact, it was really an advantage, because on KTMA, The Comedy Channel, Comedy Central and even Sci-Fi, there was a lot of unused airtime to fill up. So, having two-hour episodes was a good thing back then. But these days, broadcast and cable programming is really competitive, and it's a lot harder to keep one show on for two hours every week.

When we started talking to all of the different networks in December and January, there was a lot of enthusiasm about the show, but I think we figured out pretty fast that it would be best for MST3K to live on a digital platform. That way, no one would be worried about cutting the episodes in half or finding enough advertisers. Plus, the digital platforms are a little more comfortable with shows that are kind of weird, you know? Like, you don't have to be able to fit into quite as neat a box. That's good for us too.

Anyway, once we realized that Mystery Science Theater would work really well on a digital network, Netflix seemed like the best choice. They're kind of the 800-pound-gorilla in this space, and they've done a great job helping bring back some other cancelled shows. Also, I've been using Netflix for the past four or five years, and I think it’s great from a user perspective. And, even more important, lots of people already have Netflix – they're in over 80 million homes worldwide – which means that this gives us a really great chance for more people to discover our little show. And if more people start watching, it gives us a better chance of being renewed for more new seasons, which was always the goal.

Plus, Netflix is available in so many countries around the world, which made it easier to get the new episodes into a lot of those "English-speaking territories" at the same time, instead of trying to find a different network for each country. And you know, a lot of you wrote in over the last six months to tell us that you thought Netflix was the best new home for MST3K, so I felt pretty good about that, too.

And listen, I know there are probably still more questions about how this will all work, and what it will mean for the show. We’re still working through some of those details with Netflix, but as soon as I know more, I’ll tell you. For now, I just wanna say this again: I think this is a really, really good thing for us. I think Netflix will be a great place for Mystery Science Theater, and if they see enough people are watching the new episodes, I think it's really likely we'll be able to make more new seasons. So, I'm really happy about this, and I hope you are too.

But that's not all... I've got some more good news for you! 

During our panel last Saturday, I was really happy to finally announce something we've been working on for a while:

The wonderful Mary Jo Pehl, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett have agreed to visit and help out with the new season of MST3K!

Now, looking at some of the questions and comments on Facebook and Twitter, I think there was a little confusion about what this meant, so I'll tell you exactly what I announced at Comic-Con:

  • Mary Jo Pehl will guest star as Pearl Forrester. 
  • Kevin Murphy will guest star as Professor Bobo. 
  • Bill Corbett will guest star as Brain Guy.

And, to show our new team how the pros do it, Mary Jo and Bill have also joined the writing team for some of the new episodes, to make sure we've still got that "Original MST3K Flavor."

I'm really excited to have them back writing and on set with us, so it's great that we were able to make this work with their schedules. We're also in the process of working with other original cast members to see if we can get more of them to come back, because my goal has always been for all of the original cast to make it back to MST3K. If it doesn't happen this season, then hopefully it will happen in Season 12...

Now, there's a lot more fun stuff to show you and talk about from Comic-Con, but I want to write a little more about all of that, so I think I'm going to roll out the rest of it over the next few updates.

Before I finish, though, Ivan asked me to remind everyone:

All Kickstarter Reward Order Forms are due NOW, so if you haven't filled yours out, please finish it right now.

I guess we can't start making all of your rewards until we get most of the forms filled out, and there are still about 4,750 missing. And listen, I'm really pleased with all of the stuff we're making for you, so I want to make sure you get everything you paid for as soon as we can. Also, I think Ivan's going to go a little insane if we don't get this done... so, you know, help a brother out!

Okay. Have a good week, everyone.

Cheers & Thanks, 

Joel

 

D-Boy, Steve Barman, and 328 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Bibi Sandstrom on January 27, 2017

      Noooooooo! I spent so much money and I won't get to see MST3K because we aren't on or purchase or are members of (however that works) Netflix... we don't do streaming. Heck, 3.5 years ago we only had dial-up, so now we have the cheapest - and slowest - DSL, and can't stream much less watch a video. What can be done for us cheap slowpokes with our combo VHS/DVD players and our landlines and our Model Ts? OK, my "new" car is actually from 2004 so I'm in the new century for that anyway :)... but ... help?

    2. Matt on August 28, 2016

      Thumbs Up all the way Joel! Bring Trace & Frank in for some writing! They seemed kinda sad about it when I saw them doing their touring show in Austin last week. The whole audience (filled to the brim with MSTies!) made sad "awwww" noises. They deserve to work on this new version, even just writing, and the fans would feel the love. P.S. - Whats J.Elvis up to? :)

    3. Wendel Schwab on August 9, 2016

      MST3K being on Netflix is excellent! Good choice guys, I can hardly wait!

    4. Jeremie Lariviere
      Superbacker
      on August 8, 2016

      great update, thanks! Netflix is awesome!

    5. Thom Verratti on August 6, 2016

      @Ms. Peach and I'm sure many others down the chain: agree, agree, agree. Binge watching is nice to have as an option for shows with a storyline; part of the amazingness that is MST3K is waiting for and being surprised by that horrific movie experiment each week. Having to "wait" 14 weeks? That's nothing -- we've all been waiting 884 weeks and counting for the next experiment. (That was unexpectedly easy to calculate -- the 17th anniversary of the "last" episode airing is coming up in two days -- it was 8 August 1999.) Anyhoo -- +1 for a staggered release.

    6. Nate on August 3, 2016

      Yes! Stoked to see the old crew again (* I loved the reunion show). Also, I think Netflix was a fine choice.

    7. FanTom Servo on August 3, 2016

      @Jacob, The Netflix arrangement is completely separate to the Kickstarter Rewards. Downloads, I'm guessing, will be through VHX, which is where the current downloads are. They will be Downloadable and DRM Free and you don't need Netflix to watch them. Further series most likely will be funded via Netflix and available through that option including the current season and everything else Netflix offers. Other forms of release, download or DVD/Blu-Ray for Season 12 and beyond have not been discussed or at least not outlined to us via Joel or anyone else, but if and when, I'm sure Joel will let us know.

    8. Jacob Eichenbaum on August 3, 2016

      I'm a bit confused. For those of us that are supposed to be able to download the episodes and don't have Netflix, are we expected to buy a subscription to Netflix just so we can download the episodes? If so, that seems like we aren't getting what was promised for the amount pledged.

    9. Missing avatar

      nrs on August 2, 2016

      p.s. actually turns out, not too kidding about the "voucher" idea... can put a "redeem by" date on it maybe a couple years down the road. it's the unfortunate side-effect of certain kinds of redeemables/giveaways; some of them can't be found or contacted again. go by last-best-provided info when you can, and keep a record of them somewhere safe and offline, of course! :)

      but man, i am so in love with the idea of mst3k action-figures now; like the lego ideas i'd seen lately... would be neat if 3d-toy-printing is up to that standard!

    10. Missing avatar

      nrs on August 2, 2016

      re: no-reply fulfillments? send 'em a recreation of the old 1977/8-kenner's "star wars" action-figure vouchers! :) (omg, if someone like kenner could make mst3k action-figures.)

      and, dude! your layout of the current digi-vs-traditional-cable outlays is brilliant and on-the-mark. -you're teaching a class- at this point man with this campaign! :)

    11. Missing avatar

      nrs on August 2, 2016

      "...You’re first class all the way." -secret-agent J

      you are too, mahman, mahman mahmaaaaaiin man.

    12. FanTom Servo on August 2, 2016

      The difficult thing, of course, is to buy the additional 13 TVs so that all episodes can be watched at the same time. Come on guys, some linear thinking here.

    13. Robert Kowalczyk on August 2, 2016

      All the terrificness just keeps getting more terrific! Also, thanks for the Reunion Show. It was, um, what's the word? TERRIFIC!

    14. ginger j fitts on August 2, 2016

      Principal Joel wants those Reward Order Forms or else you get detention in Deep 13.

    15. karena kalinevitch on August 2, 2016

      Please, I need a Mike Nelson Torgo cameo really bad.

    16. Mary "Piggy" Peach on August 2, 2016

      I am likely to subscribe to Netflix solely because of Joel.

      I do wish, however, that they don't dump the whole season at once. Joel, and this whole Kickstarter campaign is about taking the time to get it done right. I think that philosophy should be mirrored by releasing the episodes weekly. It would be a great idea if they could release one new episode per week, along with one or more "classic" episodes per week on Netflix. That way it gets a chance to build some momentum.

      Besides, MST3K is not like most other episodic shows. There may be a story arc in the host segments, but the movies themselves are one-offs. We saw how the story arc aspect went all higgledy-piggledy when the shows were re-run during the Sci-Fi years. MST3K does not really lend itself to binge watching.

      I think the show would lose a touch of mystique if it materialized all of a sudden as a glut of instant gratification. Part of the success of the show in the early years was how precious each individual episode was. I'd like to keep it that way, my precioussss

    17. Missing avatar

      Jesseca Trainham on August 2, 2016

      Netflix works for me! We'd been thinking about getting Netflix again, and this clinches it. Looking forward to the reboot!!!

    18. Iron Curtain (Chiptunes) on August 2, 2016

      @Jason: If we don't, it's no biggie: they're available on YouTube and (to my knowledge) neither Shout! Factory nor Joel asks any of the episode-circulators to take the episodes down. That may change, though.

    19. Jason Samuels on August 2, 2016

      Are there plans to bring selected episodes of seasons 1-10 back to Netflix in addition to the new episodes or will the focus be entirely on new episodes? I was wondering if this was going to be similar to how SCI-FI only ever aired the 48 episodes made specifically for their network. I think it would be best to have as much MST3K on Netflix as possible, but I don't pretend to be an expert on which option will ultimately result in more new seasons.

    20. Missing avatar

      G R Robertson on August 2, 2016

      I will give a big 'humph' the first time someone here in the UK tries to tell me about this 'new' show on Netflix while my DVD shelf is buckling under over 37 box sets !! Seriously it'll be great although i don't have Netflix and still want the new show on DVD, preferably region 2 !!

    21. Vince Vazquez
      Superbacker
      on August 2, 2016

      Huzzah! I cannot wait for this! Every piece of news from this revival seems to just be even sweeter and sweeter! :D

    22. James Venes on August 2, 2016

      @ABOhiccups: If you didn't pledge at least $85, you will have to subscribe to Netflix or purchase the DVD set when it's out. Anyone under that cutoff was always going to have to do something more to actually see everything, whether the shows ended up on some sort of cable/satellite channel, digital streaming, or something physical.

    23. Mike Pikowski on August 2, 2016

      Hey Joel,
      great to hear you got a new Home For MSTK3K :)

      As i am a Person living outside the English speaking territory(Germany) maybe you could tell Netflix that they should consider doing a German Translation for the New Episodes ?!

      Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie was the only one we got in Germany and it was doing really well here!
      Oliver Kalkhofe and Oliver Welke gave their Voices for the main Cast(Crow and Tom).

      And they told us(the fans) that they would love to make a german Version of the Series(the old as there was no new one in that time), if someone is willing to make it happen(some Network).

      Maybe you can give Netflix a hint that there is a target Audience in here who would love to watch it and that the German Movie Guys would be open for giving their voices again.

      Either way i would love to watch it even if it´s in english only.

      Whish you all the Best

      Mike

    24. ABOhiccups on August 2, 2016

      Oh man! Do I really have to subscribe to Netflix?

    25. Theron Trowbridge
      Superbacker
      on August 2, 2016

      Thank you for the commitment to your backers. Too many Kickstarter film projects get distribution and suddenly the backers become third-class citizens.

      Super exited to see the new shows - Netflix is a perfect home for the show!

    26. TVsFrank on August 1, 2016

      @W.R. Knapp. I believe Elliot Kalan, the head writer for our beloved MST3k revival, has said himself he is ready to get away from the kind of writing he did on the Daily Show. But, go give the podcast The Flop House a listen. He's been doing it with another still current writer for the Daily Show and a very funny 3rd friend for years. It's about them watching a movie that flopped, either commercially or critically, and then they record their podcast right afterwards. It is hilarious, they all obviously have a love of movies and pop culture minutae, but they just about never mention anything to do with politics. And even then it'll be more a pop culture reference, not an expression of political philosophy. I don't think we need to worry, all the people involved with this revival just want to make fun of bad movies. I think they understand MST3k is a place we go to in order to get away from all that other stuff.

    27. Dave Brogden on August 1, 2016

      Netflix should be a fine home. As a bonus offer, it should reduce the need to nonsensically edit down the cheesy films -- the episodes can run for however long as they need to run. Yay!

    28. Mark Wiesner on August 1, 2016

      I am eagerly looking forward to the new episodes! Please keep us updated on the release dates!

    29. Missing avatar

      Johnathon Powell on August 1, 2016

      ... Oh and please give us a release date soon, I'm trying to time my whole series rewatch so that I watch Diabolik the night before the new season is released.... I've got a schedule to keep here people! :-)

    30. Missing avatar

      Johnathon Powell on August 1, 2016

      @V R Observer was what his people called each other, Brain Guy was a nickname from Pearl et al.

    31. Iron Curtain (Chiptunes) on August 1, 2016

      @Wyatt: I can't speak for Joel, but if you go back and watch some old MST3K episodes (like on YouTube), you'd find that the here and there are sprinklings of riffs with a liberal/progressive/democratic bent. If that continues to be the case, I'd hazard to guess it has more to do with honoring MST3K tradition and less to do with the fact that the former Daily Show head writer is on board (and quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if I found out that he's sick of political humor).

    32. Missing avatar

      W. R. Knapp on August 1, 2016

      Great news, Joel! Very excited about the return of MST3K. I have only one concern. Please don't let it get real political for one party or the other. After all, fans of various political affiliations donated to help bring about this wonderful project. I've seen too many shows that took a certain political angle and they lost viewers because of it. Of course, there are bound to be some current political personality references here and there -- it has to be edgy. But hopefully all of your fans can feel at home and enjoy the show and escape there, totally immersed and without being dragged out of the experience by partisan politics. Really looking forward to watching on Netflix! Can't wait! :)

    33. Pam B Natural
      Superbacker
      on August 1, 2016

      I cannot love this post and you guys enough. Seriously.

    34. Sarah Patton on August 1, 2016

      Great news all around! Hoping you can get Josh to come in for an episode, and explain the mysterious disappearance of Dr. Erhardt.

      How long can we still purchase items from the add-ons? I'd like to get the blu-ray set, but I won't have the money until mid-August.

    35. Iron Curtain (Chiptunes) on August 1, 2016

      @DZ I can't speak for Joel or Ivan, but from my experience of backing Kickstarters (and in regards to Film and Video in general), Downloadable files usually precede DVD and Blu-ray. The reason is Optical Discs need menus, mastering, extras, package design, etc. whereas computer files don't. That's why computer files could be next-day whereas optical discs have to have some preparation.

    36. Missing avatar

      DZ on August 1, 2016

      I have a question that has not been clearly addressed: From Ivan's and Joel's comments, it seems that each DRM-Free downloadable episode will be available at the same time as it airs on Netflix (or perhaps slightly before).
      .
      What about the Collector's DVD/Blu-Ray? Will that only be available once the entire season is out?
      .
      I was under the impression that the episodes were going to be made, packaged into a season, and *then* eventually licensed/sold to some outlet for release, but that the entire thing was going to be made available to backers when it was done. This does not seem to be the case any more (if it ever was), since the season we backed is now being *produced* by Netflix, which means that production schedules are tied to their distribution as well.
      .
      Could you clarify, please?

      -dZ.

    37. J. Nathan Couch on August 1, 2016

      Not sure why a certain minority of fans think that the show having a home negates point of the Kickstarter. The purpose was never to do this completely DIY. The purpose was to make the shows, then get a network or online platform to carry the show, so hopefully they'll order season 12 and all of us won't have to shake the couch cushions for another 6 mil (Mine's probably only got $4.5 mil in it, personally).

    38. Ralph Carusillo on August 1, 2016

      Another great update. I really am happy where all this is going and that I got the opportunity to help put my favorite show of All-Time back in the stream of things. I look forward to further news and stuff and things. Thanks. :-)

    39. Philip Stephens on August 1, 2016

      @V R: He had two names. Not sure why, someone better versed in MSTie lore would know.

    40. Mark Marziale on August 1, 2016

      YES!!!! Mary Jo, Kevin & Bill!!!!! This is first class wonderful!!!!

    41. Jennifer Stine on August 1, 2016

      This is great! My closet friends are outside the country. Unfortunately, the dearest friend is in Brazil. Twitter has a way of doing that.

    42. Missing avatar

      V R on August 1, 2016

      I thought the brain guy, was called the Observer? Anyways good job sirs!

    43. Michael Rodriguez on August 1, 2016

      I don't comment much, but I read all the updates as they come in and I have to say all the news coming in sounds GREAT! So happy to hear MST's come back is going smoothly! I don't have Netflix, but may be able to stream a few episodes with friends just to help out that possible Season 12! Keep up the good work, Joel (and production team and backers, etc)!

    44. Philip Stephens on August 1, 2016

      @Cliff: The add-ons that you could select in the BackerKit survey were optional things you could purchase if you had not purchased them during the campaign. The extra $14 you were charged for shipping would have been for add-ons that you purchased during the campaign. I remember when I got the emails confirming the purchase of my add-ons, they said they weren't charging for shipping yet because they didn't know how much it would be.

    45. Rick Felice on August 1, 2016

      Yay for Kevin, Bill & Mary Jo! And yay for Netflix! BTW, you can send any unclaimed rewards my way, just sayin' :)

    46. Jason McGrody on August 1, 2016

      The only update I really, really need is when the set visits will be!

      "Because it's MST3K" isn't a good enough reason to just up and leave work on no notice.

      It *should* be good enough, though.

    47. Nischo on August 1, 2016

      Also from Germany.
      From a Streaming Provider, this statement doesn't make sense, because Netflix usually makes their Series available everywhere, no need for different contracts, no need for weird contract obligations; "We are netflix, it runs (almost)everywhere, here is our content". I don't care for an synchronization and localization. Now i understand that i don't miss out on anything i still can watch all the episodes because i'm a backer. But what i did with my pledge was to make sure that mst3k can become a reality but not for a handful episodes, instead can actually reboot and walk on its own and to be honest, i want it to succeed so i made my pledge to show you "Hey, i'm from germany we love mst3k too!" so if Netflix wants to air mst3k good! perfect! way to go! But please air it in every country that has netflix, because that was my and i guess a lot more peoples goal by pledging.

    48. ArkhamNative on August 1, 2016

      Are there many English-language-only shows on German Netflix? Would they at least need to subtitle them in language(s) native to the Netflix region? And that's assuming the movie had already been translated as well.

    49. Missing avatar

      Cliff on August 1, 2016

      This was my first ever Kickstarter pledge. And a very worth-while one. I'm hoping the new season will be PG/PG-13 at the most.

      I was a little confused about how the "rewards" went. I remember reading through what was being offered and selecting a gift package that I would like that was also within my budget. Then several months went by and I was asked to select "Add-Ons" I wasn't sure if this was in addition to what I had selected before (that I didn't remember what they were specifically) at an additional cost, or if it was included with my original pledge. I'm not sure what I'm getting, now, but I just paid an additional $14 for shipping--again--not sure if it's $14 for the original pledge or $14 for the add-ons. Hopefully, whatever I am sent, I will be happy with.

      Pledging through Kickstarter seems to be more complicated that pledging to support PBS.