Mystery Science Theater 3000
smashed through all known barriers Friday night to prove itself the king of geeky TV when its total on Kickstarter (including its add-on shop) soared past $6.3 million. The show, which went off the air in 1999, became the most successful crowdfunded video project of all time, surpassing the Veronica Mars movie, which previously held the title with $5.7 million.
The MST3k project’s ultimate goal had been $5.5 million to produce a new, 12-episode season of the cult series, in an attempt to prove to various networks or online streamers that there was a demand for the bad movie riffing series to return. This could not possibly have been proven more conclusively, as the minimum $2 million goal was immediately overcome. In the last 72 hours in particular, donations to the Kickstarter have been flying fast and furious, taking it well beyond any of the earlier projections. At the time of this writing, more than 47,000 people (including myself) have donated to the cause.
The current donations guarantee an unexpectedly long 14 episode season, including a new holiday special, hopefully in the same league as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The donations were no doubt helped by the huge number of celebrity endorsements the new version of the show has received, from people who will be cast members (Patton Oswalt, Felicia Day) to those who hope to appear in cameo roles (everyone from Jack Black to Jerry Seinfeld). The funding to put the show all the way to 14 episodes showed up in literally the closing moments, as around $100,000 seemed to arrive in a single donation without about 30 seconds to go. Thanks, Seinfeld?
The Kickstarter drive was meant to push through to its final goal via a live telethon, but ended up reaching it well ahead of schedule. This is all the better, as the telethon itself was plagued by technical issues of every conceivable kind, resulting in the stream eventually being ended in favor of more classic MST3k episodes—aka, the right decision. (It was eventually restarted for the big finish, but the night was a huge technical mess.)
I personally was on-hand in Atlanta at a live event for the telethon with new host Jonah Ray, aka “Jonah Heston,” as he will be known on the show. Despite the ceaseless technical problems, Ray proved adept (and funny) at working with the crowd in the crowded little dive bar where we were located, proving to at least a few of the people on hand that he’ll be up to the task of riffing the worst movies ever made.
All that’s left now is to sit back and bask in the realization that one of the greatest TV shows of all time is coming back, in a new format, and it’s all because of the internet.
Thank you, fellow MSTies. What do you think, sirs?