The End 11: The Phoenix Rises Again

2021 started out with a lot of hope for improved conditions after almost a year of COVID restrictions. Those were still in place but there was growing hope that things were improving. On the MST front no one was quite sure what to expect. It had been over a year since Netflix cancelled the return and even though Joel continued to state that he wanted to keep the show alive there was little information offered what was being considered.

On 1/8/2021 Jonah watched MST3K: The Movie with Kevin and Trace on his series Let Me Watch Your Movie With You. There was sort of a meta feel about the discussion, but it was fun to hear the behind-the-scenes stories and for Jonah fanboying out a bit.

The next Mads zoom show was on 1/12 when they offered up Night of the Shorts 2 with special guest Mary Jo Pehl. Shorts included First Lessons, Blasting Cap! Danger, How to Keep A Job, Overcoming Fear, How to Get Cooperation, Science and Superstition and The Trouble with Women.



Festpocalypse was performed as a fundraiser for the COVID cancelled SF Sketchfest. RiffTrax performed on 1/30 with Bridget, Mary Jo, Cole Stratton and Janet Varney joining in.


During the month of February, the MST3K Trading Card Series 4 began shipping. The MSTies that chose to participate in the fan subset received their cards to autograph and send back to Ryan Andrew Poole for collating and redistribution. Partial sets were received back in mid to late March with some of the overseas cards still to be gathered. (The group photo of the fan cards below was taken by Jeff Trax. I hope he doesn’t mind me using it. The other pictures are of my own card so you can see an example of what one is like.)


One of the first new events of the year hinting at a possible future direction of the show was on 2/8 when the new MSTie cast from the last live tour hosted a viewing of Space Mutiny while taking time to answer questions during the breaks as part of a Twitch community night.


The Mads were back on 2/9 to perform a riff of The Choppers on Zoom. This time their post-show guest was Carolina Hidalgo.


2/16 saw the release of the Rule of Cool audiobook by Matthew Siege voiced by Felicia. That same day Felicia celebrated the release and shared her exuberance with her fans on Twitch.


On 2/18 the Mads joined a virtual discussion with the Screen Club. The on 2/21 Mary Jo was scheduled to riff on Evil Brain from Outer Space on SideStream, but the system crashed due to huge influx of viewers. (Yeah, Mary Jo!)


Felicia discussed GameLit/ LitRPG on Twitch on 3/1. In the ad she is wearing 3D printed Dreamer Regalia Armor created by artist Melissa Ng. For those curious, LitRPG is short for Literary Role Playing Game and is a literary genre combining the conventions of computer RPGs with science-fiction and fantasy novels.


This year's GISH (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt) kicked off on 3/6 with Felicia hosting for the second year in a row.


The Mads next Zoom performance was on 3/9 with Phantom from Space and their next special guest Bill Corbett.


On 3/26 Felicia appeared on the cover of the USA Today Media Planet insert discussing gaming in America.

Also on 3/26, Gil Thorp by Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham. Check out the license plate.

4/1 RiffTrax announced a new Friends Subscription Plus+ to stream hundreds of RiffTrax titles every month. It is a full PLUS better than any other subscription. After the usual expected over reaction by fans this turned out to be an April Fool’s joke from the RiffTrax team.

On 4/6 we saw Adam Walks Around - episode 40 - MST3K Locations with host Adam Marsland. The episode focused on the Los Angeles US Southwest area and included filming sites for dozens of movies including Mitchell, Hobgoblins and the Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.


Joel posted a perplexing message on Instagram on 4/6. Luckily, fans would not have to wonder for very long to get the rest of the story.

The next day Joel launched a new Kickstarter on 4/7. He proposed anywhere from 3 to 12 new episodes based on the level of donations to be self-produced and released utilizing something referred to as the Gizmoplex. Later we would learn that the entire cast from seasons 11 and 12 would return. (Later we would learn the cast from the latest live tour. The two would be integrated into the shows so both would be seen in each new episode.) Regular updates were posted over the next few days as donations rolled in. The initial goal of $2,000,000 was reached in the first 36 hours.


Shortly after the first goal was reached members of the crew began posting how excited they were that more episodes were going to be made. Felicia, Patton and artist Steve Vance were only a few of the those who reached out to the community.


On 4/8 illustrator Len Peralta’s Kickstarter for a new Geek A Week series ended successfully meeting the goal for funding. Original art made available to fans included the Mads and a special oversized portrait of Felicia.


Trace and Frank appeared on the podcast the Dave Hill Goodtime Hour on 4/12 to discuss the latest efforts of the Mads. On a personal note, later that same day while Felicia was playing the quirky farming/ adventure game Ooblets she decided to name a few characters after some of her Discord fans. I was honored to be selected as one of the first created. MSTKP was created based on a reference to my screen name mst3ktemple.


Also on 4/12 Ivan Askwith, who continued as a primary interface with the fans and the MST Kickstarter campaign presented a nice summary of the donation levels and associated rewards. (The reward guide is clickable to open a larger version.)

The tenth Mads Live Stream show was held on 4/13 and presented the Night of the Shorts 3 with guest Kevin Murphy. Shorts included Managing Time, The Most Important Person, Where Does Food Go?, Don't Get Angry, Your Thrift Habits and Marihuana (featuring a somewhat obviously stoned Sonny Bono).



The podcast Atop the Fourth Wall hosted by Lewis Lovhaug presented an episode called Mystery Science Theater 3000 No. 1 on 4/19. He went through a thorough history of the show including KTMA up to the latest Kickstarter and then a deep dive into the Dark Horse comics.


On 4/19 the AV Club presented MST3K: The Movie - The Oral History with quotes from all the key members of the show both that appeared in the movie and those that did not.

On 4/22 Joel officially confirmed what many had anticipated. Emily Marsh would be added as a new host for season 13. In fact, the entire live tour cast would be joining the new episodes. Jonah would also still be a host, but Emily and he would share hosting duties.


For a change of pace, we learned about a live streaming MST3K-based burlesque show being held on Zoom on 4/24. That same day Rebecca Hanson showed off a nice birthday present she had received from artist Steve Vance. On 4/26 Mary Jo tried again to host a live riff of Evil Brain from Outer Space on SideStream, which unfortunately, once again it did not work due to more technical difficulties.


Beginning on 4/26 a series of Kickstarter events were announced to not only to bring in donations, but to provide days’ worth of entertainment. Kickstarter Livestream #1 featured Joel and the travelling cast watching Behind the Scenes at the Supermarket and MST3K episode 907 Hobgoblins.


A few days later, on 4/27 a schedule of the upcoming events was posted to help make sure everyone knew about all the festivities. That night Kickstarter Livestream #2 featured the Servo Squad of Josh, Baron, Tim Ryder and Conor watching MST episode 112 Untamed Youth.


Kickstarter Livestream #3 on 4/30 had Mary Jo, Felicia (who initially appeared as a potato of course), Rebecca and Yvonne watching Quest of the Delta Knights (913). Later they were joined by Beez for some Q&A.


On 5/1 Kickstarter Livestream #4 showed Gamera vs Guiron (312) with Jonah, Hampton, Conor and Nate adding comments. Matt McGinnis joined to riff some too. (At some time during the show apparently Jonah snapped as seen in the picture below.)


5/3 saw a change of pace with an MST Jackbox Showdown. The online challenge featured Team Jonah vs. Team Emily (the teams were the hosts and their respective crews). The closely fought battle resulted in the ultimate winner being the fans who were able to join in on the voting.


Frank appeared on the Mother May podcast hosted by Dustin Chafin on 5/4 along with Irene Bremis.


Later on 5/4 Bill joined Kickstarter Livestream #5 to watch Werewolf (904) with Joel, Jonah, and fellow Crow’s Hampton and Nate. Bill announced that the RiffTrax team would join the MST team for a special event at the Gizmoplex if the goal of $5.5 million was met. Early artwork for two new t-shirts was shown and Joel took the opportunity to announce the first two titles to be used in season 13: Demon Squad and Robot Wars.




The next event, Kickstarter Livestream #6 on 5/5 presented Zombie Nightmare (604) with Jonah, Baron, Hampton, Rebecca being joined by the “star” of the movie Frank Dietz for some reminiscing and questions. Artist Gary Glover joined to show a poster he created for the new season (There are two versions since he originally shared this before the level of $3.3 million assured that Joel would appear in at least one episode. The revised poster shared the following night filled in Joel once the goal was met.) Todd Nauck also shared some early art for a poster he was designing. New shoulder patch designs were shown that added Emily and updated the other hosts. Finally, the initial design of an MST3K Snow Globe were presented.



The Final Countdown 2.0 coverage on 5/6 was on all evening until the end of the Kickstarter campaign. Lots of comedians, magicians and musicians joined in animatronic bears, Dana Gould, Gary Glover, Mary Jo Pehl and Dr Donna St Phibes (Deanna Rooney). Some fan letters and photos were shared just like at the end of old MST episodes many years ago. When the Kickstarter timer hit 0 the totals were $6,517,905 in pledges by 36,563 donors. This broke MST’s pledge level from the last Kickstarter in 2015.





During the Final Countdown on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) there was an airing of 2020’s table read of Plan 9 From Outer Space hosted by Dana Gould and featuring appearances by Jonah and Baron.


A few days later, when the dust had settled, the final totals were tabulated for another successful Kickstarter. The total dollars had increased to $6,519,019 and backers to 36,581. We found that we had unlocked the following rewards (the reward guide is not 100% updated since every goal listed had been achieved) (The reward guide is clickable to open a larger version.):


On 5/8 RiffTrax announced even newer dates for the live events that had to be postponed a number of times due to COVID. Hobgoblins would take place on 8/17 and Amityville 4 on 10/26.

The third movie to be riffed during season 13 was announced on 5/10. To many completionist fans’ delight they would be doing Gamera vs. Jigar (only vs. Viras to go from the traditional Gamera films).

The next Mads Zoom event was on 5/11 and featured the movie T-Bird Gang. They were joined by Mike Nelson for a lively chat and Q&A.


Editor’s Note: This web site, which I have maintained for 20 years as of March 2021, had to be relaunched as a .net since the .com had been allowed to expire by the host and was grabbed by a gambling site. Thanks to my nephew Rick and MSTie Ron McAdams we were able to grab the .net domain and reload a complete back up of the entire site that we had made. I guess saving it regularly actually did pay off.

Felicia shared a new head shot on 5/25. It was taken by Kevin Parry Photography and showed off her new, approximately post-COVID hair style.

Patton appeared in a promo for the Netflix series Sandman on 5/17 as Matthew the Raven in the DC based show.

AudioPhile announced 5/28 that Felicia had won an Earphones Award for Exceptional Audio Performance for her voice work in Rule of Cool that came out back in February of 2021.

On 6/2 Todd Nauck showed us the progress to date of the MST3K Season 13 poster he had announced back during the Kickstarter. It’s always interesting to me to see the stages a work of are moves through to reach completion.

Trace appeared on Reels of Justice podcast on 6/3 for the first of a special Mads Live/ One Year Respecticus. Frank would appear on part 2 on 6/7.

More Monty Python's Best Bits Celebrated Part 1 appeared on PBS on 6/5. It featured comments from Frank and Patton along with dozens of other comedians praising the history and contributions of the amazing British comedy troupe.


On 6/8 the Mads announced they had launched their own Discord channel effective that day and then that evening they shared their next Zoom riff with fans. This time we saw The Lost Missile with special guest Bridget Jones Nelson joining at the end to reminisce and answer questions.


Mary Jo and Bridget got a new logo for the banner on their RiffTrax releases starting on 6/11. It has a real Betty and Veronica vibe.

Voyage to the Stars paperback collection became available on 6/15 with an introduction written by Felicia.


Keep checking back because I plan to continue expanding and updating this website for the foreseeable future, or at least until next Sunday, A.D.

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