MST3k: Season 11, Episode 1 (Spoiler Free Review)

Preface: Doing this without spoilers was difficult. Pretty difficult. I hope you’re happy.

Just watched the advanced screening of Mystery Science Theater 3000 Experiment 1101. I’m happy. Very happy. You should go watch it.
Honestly, this is succinct enough of a review that you should just blindly take my word and go watch it Friday when it comes out on Netflix. But, allow me to elaborate, you know, without spoiling a thing (I hope.)

The opening of the show covers just about everything you’re going to need. Including character introduction, and some brief explanation of changes that are quickly swept under the rug. Even though 20 years has clearly passed, even in continuity, the show also picks up immediately where it left off.

Jonah Ray makes for an excellent host. He’s an interesting mix of Mike and Joel. Very competent and less humble, like Mike, but technically very adept, like Joel. All with a fresh, young, nerdy face. They go full in on the nerd card, too, with the new season, something I kind of felt was clearly acknowledged in past seasons (particularly when Trace was on board), but never quite as directly addressed. I also liked Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as the mads, but I feel that I can’t say much without spoilers. So I’ll beat around the bush and just say that how they handled it was good, very good. Especially in the opening, and how they addressed the “TV’s Son of TV’s Frank” thing (something I initially drew reservation with.)

Hampton Yount’s Crow (and I said this during the kickstarter) — is spot on, if not a bit more manic than the previous incarnations. Baron Vaughn’s Servo is good, albeit a far departure from Kevin Murphy’s. It’s far, far more like J. Elvis’s Servo, with a slick, radio DJ like quality to it, almost. Baron is making it is own, though, clearly, and I like that. And this more manic Crow is really perfect for Hampton, after seeing the panel at San Diego Comic Con. And not to forget Gypsy – it’s almost jarring that a woman is voicing her now. I’m glad, mind you, and that should have been a long time ago, but after 11 seasons (and let’s face it, Gypsy’s other two voices were really similar) it takes some getting used to. Although more polished, though, Gypsy is still the confident robot she was as the series progressed in its earlier years. I’m really excited to see how all three of them develop their characters.

And for one simple note, the entire cast works extremely well together. I remember Joel saying at some point in the kickstarter this was very important to him. It paid off.

All in all, fans are very well rewarded for waiting 20 years for another episode of MST3k. Series coming back from the grave don’t always go well, especially after years of someone else taking over (Looking at you, Ren and Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon). So frankly, a lot of MSTie’s concerns about the show were, well… valid. But everything (except one minor detail, but remember, it’s just a show. Relax!) ties up extremely nicely. There will definitely be a period of adjustment, but if that’s my only real complaint? Total win, if you ask me. I don’t think there’s any way to avoid such a thing.

Also, for pure vanities, sake, I took a screencap of my name as it rolled by during the credits. Glad my name comes so early alphabetically!

Well – one last thing. I guess I can gripe that Hampton and Baron kind of have one of my dream jobs, but I’ll let that go as they’re doing great.