Joel Hodgson Created a Metaverse for New Mystery Science Theater 3000 Episodes


This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

Since 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has shaped our culture and snark as much as Seinfeld, Friends or The Simpsons. The venerable show has a straightforward premise: a guy and his friends watch bad movies and make fun of them. That guy is Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) creator Joel Hodgson. He plays Joel Robinson, a janitor at the Gizmonic Institute who is shot into space aboard the Satellite of Love by two mad scientists, Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV’s Frank. Each week as part of their experiment, “the Mads” force him and his wisecracking robot friends Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot to watch a horrible movie like Manos: The Hands of Fate, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Godzilla ss. Megalon and Mitchell.

Over the years, the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated show has jumped to various cable TV networks. After an 18-year hiatus and a successful Kickstarter campaign, Netflix aired two new seasons of MST3K in 2017 and 2018, with Hodgson in the producing chair, comic Jonah Ray taking over hosting duties and Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt playing the Mads. A couple of live tours and a pandemic later, and MST3K is back for a 13th season, but this time it’s not on Netflix.

Hodgson is once again donning his red Gizmonics jumpsuit and will host along with Ray and actor/singer/puppeteer Emily Marsh. Lucky for me, I got to chat with Hodgson and Marsh about the new season on CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast. Marsh, who started with the MST3K live US tour, explained how her dad was a MST3K fan but her mom hated it.

“When I told her I was auditioning, she was like, ‘Really? That stupid show got a national tour?'” said Marsh.

But Marsh’s honesty and genuineness stuck out in Hodgson’s mind and he cast her for the live tour and now for season 13. Still,t the addition of Marsh as a host isn’t necessarily the biggest news about the MST3K reboot. Hodgson and his team developed the Gizmoplex as a place to watch it.

“A Gizmoplex is a web portal. Essentially the Mads have decided to take distribution into their own hands and have their own Cineplex on the moon,” said Hodgson. “The way you watch the movie is you actually rent a Cambot that’s already on the moon. It’s kind of a rental that you can fly around through the Gizmoplex.”

Many companies have tried to hop on the trend of the metaverse. But the Gizmoplex is essentially a metaverse for MST3K fans, and you just don’t need a VR headset. Hodgson plays down the metaverse angle. He simply wants an immersive space where people can view new MST3K episodes or check out classic ones.

Listen to my full conversation with Hodgson and Marsh in the podcast player above. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard during an interview. You can watch new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 starting May 6 on the Gizmoplex website or via the Gizmoplex app on iOS, Android and on platforms like Apple TV, Roku and Amazon FireTV.

Subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.


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