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Mystery Science Theater hits up Kickstarter to fund brand new episodes

While Joel Hodgson and Shout! Factory want to reboot cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000, there’s a catch: they need the help of fans to crowdfund the show.

The series, which ended in 1999, ran for 11 years (and 197 episodes) and was even one of Time magazine’s 100 best TV shows of all-time, but that was then and this is now, leaving the show to source crowdfunder Kickstarter for financial backing. The Kickstarter page notes that $2 million will fund three full-length episodes, and $5.5 million will fund a 12-episode season.

Hodgson, the show’s original host and creator, explained to Entertainment Weekly that he hopes that the crowdfunding effort will reunite fans and contributors. “The crowdfunding is kind of this big gathering, and not only is it gathering the audience but it’s also gathering together the people who want to get involved.”

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As for the casting, it sounds like there’s going to be a brand new host, mad scientist, and voices for quirky robots Tom Servo and Crow — but Hodgson does hope that past cast members will get involved. “Basically, I’m trying to blend the old with the new,” said the creator and former host. “Mystery Science Theater has already refreshed itself once with a completely new cast, so I think it deserves to do that again.”

As Variety reported, the news coincides with Shout! Factory’s acquisition of the old series, which adds to the company’s vault of old films and TV series like Freaks & Geeks, Cartoon Network’s Home Movies, and The Weird Al Show. It’s not known exactly how Shout! Factory will distribute the new shows should the Kickstarter campaign be a success, but they won’t be available on the streaming platform Shout! TV. However, at least some of the series’ back catalog will be aired on Shout! TV, according to Shout! Factory representatives.

“’Mystery Science Theater 3000′ is a true cult-classic comedy series that continues to attract fans till this day,” said Shout! Factory’s founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos in a statement. “…We’ve been pursuing this deal for many years, and we’re thrilled that it’s finally coming to fruition. We see that there’s still tremendous untapped potential for the ‘MST3K’ brand.”

It looks like the die-hard fans are still out there: over $500,000 has been pledged to the Kickstarter fund as of time of publication, and it’s just day one. We’ll keep you updated.

Updated 11/11/2015: This post has been updated to clarify that the Shout! TV streaming platform will host only a portion of the show’s back catalog, while the new series will not be available on the service.