When I wrote about Mystery Science Theater 3000's Kickstarter campaign I wrote about the way the show gave me a sense of friendship and community, and how I always loved the lighter Joel version of the series (Mike is great too, let's not get up in arms here). At the time of writing I thought that Joel, who is masterminding the new version, would be returning as host. Turns out I was wrong - nobody from the original show is returning as on-air talent. And while that's sort of a bummer, it's a sign that this reboot is being done right - as a continuation, not as a nostalgic reunion.
So who will be the human in the seat? None other than Jonah Ray Rodrigues, actor, comic, co-host of the Nerdist podcast and a regular Fantastic Fest attendee. And a guy who I know personally and for whom I can say this: he is a perfect choice. That sense of friendship and community I talked about in the previous paragraph, that's shit that Jonah Ray just gets. He's got a background not just in nerd stuff but all kinds of outsider culture, and his sense of humor has just the right blend of snark and sincerity to create the exact sense of community and friendship Joel fostered on the original Satellite of Love. And he's smart, in the same way that Joel was smart - his breadth of references extends far beyond Star Wars and whatever minimalist stuff a lot of other 'nerdy' comics understand.
To me the announcement of Jonah Ray is incredible news that means the new MST3K will be great. I have nothing but faith in this thing... and so do many of you! As of this writing the Kickstarter has reached its first goal, and there will be 3 new MST3K episodes. But the fundraiser is actually only 40% of the way to its final goal - enough money to make 12 new episodes. With 12 episodes funded, Joel believes he'll be able to sell a network on bringing the series back for real. So MSTies, let's not rest on our laurels - I know a lot of you haven't donated yet, and now is the time to do it.
There will be more announcements to come - Joel is prepping to reveal the new Mads, at least one of whom looks to be a woman - but the Jonah Ray reveal is enough to make me convinced this MST3K revival is exactly what we need. Any small doubts I had about the new show are gone, and I hope that you'll step up and help get MST3K back where it belongs - in the Satellite of Love, gently ribbing bad movies.