So, after a Kickstarter campaign, new episodes have finally arrived on Netflix. In short: I like it. If you're an MST3K Guy, you'll probably enjoy it, as well. Better than the late 90's SciFi Channel episodes. It keeps the same feel as the old seasons, but with a few notable changes:
-Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) is the new main host...and he's probably my #2 favorite host, already. Ahead of Mike, but behind Joel. He seems very natural in his role, with a good mix of timing and humor.
-Crow has a new voice, but you really wouldn't know. Tom Servo does and it's really noticeable. When things get rolling, it's really hard to tell who says what, as their voices sound similar.
-I do miss Kevin Murphy as Servo, though. His distinctive voice, ridiculous singing, jovial laugh and timing were always awesome.
-Servo also flies, now, while watching the movies. Gypsy has a new (non-annoying, non-brain damaged) voice, and she actually drops into the movies for one or two lines, each episode.
-Their timing is a concern, though. I'm two episodes in and, at times, it seems like they're all scrambling to get in their jabs/zingers/riffs. You can definitely tell that it's scripted, whereas most of the previous season sounded natural and un-scripted. That's the appeal of MST3K, as it's similar to what you and your friends would say while watching shitty movies. So while that same fun is there, there are sequences where it feels a little forced.
-Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day are the new "Mads". Day is great in her role, but Oswalt drives me nuts. Not too long ago, I remember saying: "pretty soon it'll be cool to NOT have Patton Oswalt on your show". He's "TV's Son of TV's Frank"...but as they mention early on, nobody calls him that, so he's "Max". Frank was always my favorite of the "Mads", so Oswalt trying to channel him torques me off a bit.
-Oh, the mads also have a new "Skeleton Crew". People in skeletal costumes and motorcycle helmets...who also play the show's theme.
-There's some silly continuity bits that tie the actual SOL, Mads and "experimenting" plot together. Good transition stuff, similar to the way they swapped out Joel for Mike in 1993. Makes it so uber-fans aren't asking: "how did Jonah get trapped up there" and other worthless stuff.
-Okay, so here's one and maybe it comes up, later, but didn't Crow and Servo end up at Mike's house in Milwaukee at the end of the original MST3K?
-The non-host, non-countdown "commerical" breaks are still there. In keeping with the old bumpers, the twist is that we're supposed to be watching "Channel MOON 13, from the Moon".
Glad this is back. I'm thrilled that some of the movies in this season I've actually already seen. Like "Yongary"!
The 7th episode, "Starcrash" feels incredibly scripted. Two or three times, Jonah and the bots break out into complete, pre-rehearsed, songs while "riffing". Those are good for the host segments, but in the middle of a movie it doesn't work as well. Big disappointment, because "Starcrash" is SUCH a cheesy flick, that it seemed the jokes and comebacks would just flow. Okay, so there was ONE good joke: "I'm going to shave you down, paint you green and put you in a leather jock!"
Jerry Seinfeld also makes an incredibly un-funny guest appearance. Was never a fan of his, but his segment as a galactic CEO was just awful.