In many instances, the riff-centric cult series Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a shorthand way for comedy lovers to instantly bond. And many comedy lovers grew up watching PBS, which has always been good about airing classic British series like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Black Adder. The worlds of MST3K and PBS may soon come together to hopefully guide a new generation of future “cool” kids into funny shit.
Shout! Factory, one of the greatest companies out there, hit the American Public Television Fall Marketplace this week and Mystery Science Theater 3000 was introduced as one of the 75 or so series being previewed. And there’s a very good chance it could be a smash, assuming local affiliates are quick to grab it up. It’s time to put that “public” thing to good use.
The APT is offering up four Joel Hodgson-fronted episodes for programmers to air: Manos: The Hands of Fate, Hercules and the Captive Women, Gunslinger and The Unearthly. The goal is that enough stations will snatch them up and get immediate fantastic responses. Eric Luskin, Vice President of Premium Service and Syndication for APT, is perfectly willing to bring in more MST3K fans, saying, “If programmers embrace these, we could off an ongoing “Best of MST3K.”
Current.org also points out that broadcasters would have streaming rights tacked on with this. That’s pretty huge, for fans. You can find streaming episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 on a limited basis, while the DVD sets are always pretty pricy when they’re first released. It makes some kind of cosmic sense that the initially independently produced series would find a new home in public television. And there might be as good of a variety as these first four.
Manos, as classic an episode as there ever was, follows a family and a cult. Hercules and the Captive Women, which is known as the much less tawdry name Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis, is about Hercules going to Atlantis for his son. Roger Corman’s Gunslinger sees a widowed female serving as sheriff in a westerny town. The John Carradine-starring The Unearthly is a surgery-gone-crazy sci-fi thriller. You can’t miss with any of these episodes. And while I’m not trying to steal views from any future PBS stations airing it, you can actually watch the Manos episode on the show’s official YouTube page. Or here.
While it isn’t clear when you can catch Tom Servo smacking wise alongside Downton Abbey on your local affiliates, you can actually watch Hodgson providing new introductions for this year’s Turkey Day marathon, which can be found streaming on Thanksgiving on the MST3K YouTube page.