Season 11 = Joel's MST 3k: The Movie?

Here’s a thought that I’ve been playing with lately.

In re-reading a lot of online criticisms of season 11 (I guess I was feeling masochistic, haha), there is a lot of complaints about the look of the show, the selection of films chosen, the nature and delivery of the riffs, and a sentiment that it was “over produced”.

I don’t personally share all those feelings (though I definitely feel the show got stronger into season 12 as they found more footing), but I do understand them and where they’re coming from in the fanbase.

We know Joel left the show originally when the discussion of “MST 3k: The Movie” solidified. There’s no secret to that- he and Jim Mallon had come to the parting of the ways.

Joel is obviously very protective of his ideas for the show and his vision of it.

I bring this up to say, had Joel stayed on, would “The Movie” have been more like “Reptillicus” and the rest of season 11?

Should we view the changes made to be less like an extension of seasons 1-10, and more like “This is what Joel wanted all along had he gotten to do theatrical releases with a larger budget and talent pool”?

Certainly the more polished product might help to make things slightly more “mainstream” and add eyeballs.

Just a different perspective on what we ultimately got with the Netflix era.



Interesting perspective. As a long time fan of the show that has seen every single episode, even in chronological order, I can say I enjoy most of the episodes and eras and accept them for what they are. However, the more cheesy episode structure of the 90s was much more charming and enjoyable to me. But I’m aware that will likely never happen again. It is one of the reasons I kind of liked the green screen of the last season.


I don’t view it that way. If anything, I view it as shooting for making it as much like the old as they could but overdoing it.

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The impression I had for season 11, even in retrospect, was that it was a grand celebration of MST3k and the cultural impact it occupies in the modern day. When Joel left it was successful enough relative to the cable landscape in the 90’s. The movie that did happen after he walked away from everything was disappointing commercially and creatively for most involved as well as the audience of the day (I love it, it got me into the series as a 10 year old, but still…). Now later on after RiffTrax provides evidence that the “riffing cheesy movies” model of comedy has a definite audience and Joel tests the waters with Cinematic Titanic, then gets the rights back to MST3k after some solid DVD sales, then the kickstarter breaks all records, well of course he’s flying high and the season that ensues is a grand celebration! Let’s get an amazing collection of movies that acts as a cross section of the original shows frequently used genres (though no juvenile delinquency dramas, that was the one obvious missing genre example in my opinion, probably left out due to most of them not being widescreen), with all the old cast that was willing to return present in some form (great to see Paul Chapin at the end, that was a nice surprise) with lots of big guests who are friends of Joel or fans of the show or who obviously were influenced by it (Patton and Felicia were both big fans, Joel had worked with Jerry Seinfeld prior to MST3k, Joel McHale’s The Soup obviously owes a debt to MST3k, etc.), even guest writers (I was surprised to learn that Dan Harmon contributed as a writer to the OG series well before he became a name with Community and Rick & Morty but was never credited). My wife and I absolutely loved it, it felt right. Heartfelt, done for the right reasons, not an ounce of commercial cynicism, pretty much the best reboot we’ve ever seen.

Would the movie have been similar if Joel had been involved in the 90’s? I kinda doubt it, but I really don’t know. That said, I do feel like a lot of season 11 was Joel and co. soaking in how great the show always had been and being validated by the appreciation it now respects. There was so much love pouring out of season 11, it really was something special. A grand celebration of what MST3k is and was to so many.

I was disheartened by some of the internets complaints at the season (too many jokes, too fast, etc), but unfortunately that’s the great evil that comes with social media. The most niche and extreme views on any topic get the biggest megaphone. My wife and I had been fans for nearly 20 years by the time season 11 dropped and we were loving the new modern speed and tone.


I really don’t know how to approach this, because I found the look of the movie to be very lavish compared to what we were used to. Even if it wasn’t technically big-budget as most other pop-ish stuff which would’ve appeared that same year.

My major problems with the movie (mentioned before, I’m sure): Dr. F. on his own against all the protagonists felt off to me. A Mad needs at least one henchman/foil to be at his or her best. Also, I don’t care much for This Island Earth AS a movie. But still, it’s not terrible enough to make ideal MST3K fodder.

The majority of the shiny toys added in S11 delighted me. Just as the more big-screen look of the movie did earlier. It’s just terrible that the price we ended up paying for all that fun stuff was premature cancellation, and then the episodes being locked away forever by the Flixweeds of Net. I’d like to snag on them, dump their books, give 'em a power sit-up, etc.

And I guess the cool toys and extras in the movie also had to be paid for with more be-suited bullshirt meddling regarding types of jokes and so on. In that sense, there are similarities but whether they could be attributed directly to one host (or founder or co-founder)? I don’t know. :person_shrugging: I wasn’t there.

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In retrospect as an adult, it is such a weird thing to make a movie version of MST3K. The movie is shorter than typical episodes. It also has a bit more plot than a typical episode. I imagine even though it was not a success, it is the episode that has been seen by the most number of people. I think it is why people generally seem to think of the show being about a man in space trying to escape, even though escape was routinely not a major plot point of the series.

I would guess the main benefit would be letting people watch in theaters on a big screen in widescreen format. It’s not like most franchises though because the movie has the same cast and picks up in the middle of the series, not with a fresh start.

Now I wish there was a really bad MST3K The Movie that didn’t have them watch a movie. More of a sci-fi adventure movie where Mike gets captured, makes robots, and kills Dr. Forester/Frank in a movie about as good as Samurai Cop. Then they could watch their own movie for an episode of the TV show.

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