To say I’m a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan is probably an understatement, considering I named my first car Tom Servo and was recently stoked when I flew out of the airport Time Chasers was filmed in. So I’ve been holding my breath since Netflix announced it was going to be bringing back the beloved cult series.
After seeing the first episode “Reptilicus,” I can say that all appears to be right with the world. The Netflix reboot captures the essence of the original series, even with a new “Joel”/”Mike” in the form of Jonah Ray. Sure, you may be hating him a little bit in the first couple of moments, but only because he’s not Joel Hodgson or Mike Nelson (the original hosts). We’ll all get used to it just like we got used to the idea of female Ghostbusters (OK, bad example). But seriously, we’ll adjust.
I’m pleased to report the new voices of Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo (Hampton Young and Baron Vaughn, respectively) work, even if I’m still on the fence with the idea that Mr. Servo can fly (he soars around the screen from time to time). It could be a fun device in later episodes, though.
The jokes are still fun and cheesy, but one thing that surprised me while watching it was the addition of modern-day quips with references to social media and the Internet. When I watch reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000, whether on YouTube or my VHS tapes I still have when I recorded it off the Syfy network, I love watching it knowing that this was the ’90s—a pre-9/11 time before Kardashians, smartphones, and President Trump. So it was slightly jarring in the first episode to hear jokes made the expense of contemporary appliances and references.
The main thing to get excited about, though, is that a new audience will be introduced to this cult classic. I’m on board.