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'MST3K' needs Kickstarter cash to make its comeback

If there's a much-loved but commercially unsuccessful TV show with enough of a fanbase, then someone's probably tried to resurrect it on Kickstarter. Now, following in the success of Veronica Mars and Thunderbirds 1965, Joel Hodgson is going to use the platform to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000. He's looking to raise anything up to $5.5 million in the hope of producing a whole new season of 12 episodes mocking classic movies. It's hoped that, after demonstrating that there's enough of an audience out there, a cable channel or online service will help bankroll future episodes after that.

It's a big ask, given the minimum $2 million target and the saturation of MST3K-style riff material thanks to Cinematic Titanic, Rifftrax and, uh, all of social media. Still, given the enduring appeal of the show, we're fairly sure it'll beat its stretch goals very shortly, since there aren't too many chances to resurrect a nerd holy grail. Deep-pocketed backers can even pay to be in a new episode if they've got $5,000 lying around that they don't need and can include their own riff for $6,500.

There's plenty of questions that the campaign page doesn't answer, including how Hodgson managed to recover the rights to his show after so many years of legal quagmire. As far as we were concerned, former producer Jim Mallon held onto them when the show ended, blocking previous revival attempts. The only mention to the situation is that Shout Factory was able to help broker a peace and clear the way for this new project. Whatever happened, it also explains how Rifftrax was able to begin selling MST3K episodes since the start of last week.

In addition, there's a question as to if Hodgson will resume his tenure in the seat, given that the page talks about a "fresh new cast." Given the internet's love of Joel vs. Mike arguments, we're not sure any third-generation host would get an easy ride, although we're fairly sure we can hear Trace "Crow T. Robot" Beaulieu's voice in the pitch video. That should be all of the encouragement you need to throw some money at the project, and let's hope they get the Rifftrax folks involved, too. Then we can force uncaring millennials into caring about if Joel or Mike is funnier.

Update: In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hodgson has revealed that he's planning to launch the show with a fresh cast.

Update 2: We've done a little digging because we were so curious as to how Hodgson managed to resolve the complex issue with MST3k's rights. Shout Factory has revealed that it has bought the rights to the series from Best Brains' Jim Mallon for an undisclosed sum. That, at least, explains why all of the red tape that has trapped the series for so long has now suddenly evaporated.