In his latest note to Kickstarter backers, Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson offered a few insights into his choice of streaming giant Netflix as the home of the show's upcoming eleventh season.
A primary concern for Hodgson was the show's two-hour run time. "Back when we were first making MST3K, that wasn't a problem," he explained. "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." In talking with more traditional networks, he quickly saw he would have to cut down the episodes for time.
"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," he added.
Besides offering the show its needed runtime, Netflix will provide the revived MST3K — which raised over $6.3 million to produce an eleventh season on Kickstarter last year — an automatic release platform in all English-speaking countries and a chance to be seen by new viewers. "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," Hodgson wrote. "And if more people start watching, it gives us a better chance of being renewed for more new seasons, which was always the goal."
It is still unclear when the series will debut on the streaming platform.
Hodgson also clarified the roles former castmembers and writers staff Mary Jo Pehl, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett will have in the new season. The three will appear on camera as their Sci-Fi Channel era characters — Pearl Forrester, Professor Bobo and Brain Guy — in at least one episode. Additionally, Pehl and Corbett will be part of the writing staff for a number of episodes.
"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," wrote Hodgson. He also reiterated his hope to bring back all of the former on-camera and writing staff at some point.
Season Eleven of Mystery Science Theater 3000 will star Jonah Ray as Jonah Heston, a man marooned in space an forced to watch bad movies with the help of two robot pals, Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, while his reactions are monitored by a mad scientist. Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn are on board as the new voices for Crow and Servo, while Felicia Day will take over mad scientist duties as Kinga Forrester. Comedian Patton Oswalt will play Forrester's assistant, TV's Son of TV's Frank.