Darren Michaels, SMPSP/TM & © 2016 Satellite of Love, LLC, via Netflix.
Jonah Ray in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return. Credit: Darren Michaels, SMPSP/TM & © 2016 Satellite of Love, LLC, via Netflix.

Some things should never go away. While RiffTrax (headed by Michael J. Nelson) and Cinematic Titanic (headed by Joel Hodgson) kept the Mystery Science Theater 3000 dream alive a little bit over the years, the entertainment world has been severely lacking robots and humans riffing insults during crap movies. Yes, it’s been 18 years since it ended with season 11!

Thanks to Netflix and a successful crowd-funding campaign, that has all changed with the return of MST3K. Hodgson, the true father of this enterprise, has stepped back in as creator, writer and a small character named Ardy, and the results are pretty good.

New host Jonah Ray is no Joel, but he gives Nelson a run for his money. The bots have new voices, and that’s a bit jarring at first, but they eventually own it. It’s nice to have Patton Oswalt on hand as TV’s Son of TV’s Frank.

The riffing is a little too fast for my taste, and it takes a few episodes to get accustomed to the pace. I didn’t really start enjoying it until the Avalanche episode; Avalanche is that awful disaster movie starring Rock Hudson and Mia Farrow. This episode is definitely the standout, with solid riffs like: “Here comes the fire department to put out the avalanche!”

It’ll only get better, and it’s good to have this riff machine rolling again.