Parents' Guide to

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Successor to cult fave is just as funny as the original.

TV Netflix Comedy 2017
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

MST3K Returns!

My 14 year old and I are thoroughly impressed with this reboot. We bonded over the original and were skeptical when this one arrived. It took all of five minutes for us to be brought to hysterics. Some mild language and reference to more mature material that may go over some younger teens heads but nothing inappropriate.
age 14+

A hard sell to non nostalgia fans.

With Rifftrax and Incognito Cinema Warriors and all the knockoffs, spinoffs and 'fan based' replicas.... the new show has created it's own competition over the years now with Joel Hodgeson at the creative helm again. As the "riffing" godfather of the whole genre the jokes are hit and miss, but the bar has been raised to the point that the comparative competition is more in sync with the new cast finding it's believable chemistry. Even as a fan I see missed opportunities for epic lines that go untouched in the show. Early on MST3K was alot of one liners, but as time went on with Rifftrax and the like riffing was becoming "ranting" often overwhelming the movie with nonstop banter and being obnoxious itself. In the age of one liners in the form of comments , tweets and youtube rants, it's a different era for a younger audience to appreciate and endure sitting through an hour and a half cheesy movie. As a year 1 fan, I have to say it is all to often present here with nonstop forced in jokes that give no breather and seem forced in as if they are being payed by the joke and, at times, being more annoying than the movie they are ragging on. Quantity over quality if you will. It's a show that I will watch, but many of the trappings still have not found better solutions as it is a reiteration of the past, ....for better and worse. Also, the references with drugs and sex are ramped up a bit more in this reiteration which makes it less family friendly.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (6 ):

Here's the answer to the one question every single fan of the original wants to ask: Yes, it's still funny, even with different hands operating the robot arms. The jokes are just as rapid-fire and absurd, the references just as wide-ranging: In the first five minutes of the first episode, the bots and Jonah name-check the theme song to The Munsters, The Wicker Man, Stretch Armstrong, Star Trek, vintage ads for Smucker's and DiGiorno pizza, Prince, and North by Northwest. What's different? Not much. The actors, of course, have been switched out, although the show takes pains to point out how they're connected to their predecessors -- Max is the son of TV's Frank (played in the original by Frank Conniff); Kinga, who calls herself a "third-generation supervillain," bears the Forrester family name; Jonah, like Joel (Joel Hodgson) and Mike (Mike Nelson) before him, was a low-level worker before winding up on the Satellite of Love. Other differences: Jonah and company are now marooned on the Moon 13 Research Station instead of deep space, and Tom Servo's hands now appear functional instead of being mounted on Slinkies.

Otherwise? Same vibe, same style, similar sets, each episode ends with a "button" (a clip from the episode's movie), and the movies haven't gotten any better or better known (the first movie skewered is Danish monster movie Reptilicus, which of course gives Jonah and the bots a chance to sing a surprisingly catchy song about how each sovereign nation boasts its own giant monster). Best of all, the gags are just as sharp and unexpected, whether they're stupid-funny, surprisingly erudite, or oddly philosophical. This show hasn't lost its edge; Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return is just as much as a hysterical, lightning-quick, geek-freak cult artifact as it ever was. Thank heavens.

TV Details

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