It’s only been a few weeks since the 13th season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 took its first tentative steps with a Kickstarter backers-only launch of first episode Santo in the Treasure of Dracula, which we found largely amusing and promising for the cult show’s future. It’s still going to be a while before the next backers-only episode premiere, and the show’s new streaming platform The Gizmoplex won’t open to all other users until May 6, but today brought unexpected big news that will absolutely delight fans of MST3K’s classic episode: The vast majority of those episodes will now be available to stream on The Gizmoplex starting in May. And not only will they be available, but they’ll be free to stream and available without ads … at least for a while. Details are still scarce, but this is major news for MSTies nonetheless, who have wanted to be able to stream the entire series for literally decades at this point. This will be the closest that dream has ever been to a reality. Here’s how the show put it in today’s Kickstarter backer update:
Starting on MAY 6, all registered Gizmoplex users will be able to stream EVERY AVAILABLE CLASSIC EPISODE – that’s over 125 episodes from Seasons 1-10 – for free, and without ads! Yeah, you heard us: even if you don’t have a Gizmoplex Member Pass, you’ll be able to stream the entire MST3K classic collection for free, and – for a limited time – without advertising! We’ve been hoping to announce this since before the Kickstarter, but needed to wait until we were 100% sure we could work out all of the details … and now we have!
On some level this definitely makes sense, as unfettered access to the older episodes was always going to be a major draw, and one that most fans would probably assume would be part of the Gizmoplex experience. What’s interesting is the fact that users won’t even need a Member Pass (a subscription, in other words) to access those episodes—they’ll just have to make a user profile, and they’ll be able to stream more than 100 episodes from the series’ history. That alone will be jubilant news to MST3K fans.
Now, to keep things in perspective, this won’t actually be EVERY classic episode, as there are actually 176 that aired in the show’s original season 1-10 runs on Comedy Central and the Sci-Fi Channel. This means that roughly 71% of the classic era will be available, which is a whole lot better than nothing. We would theorize that film rights—always a thorny legal issue when it comes to MST3K—probably have something to do with which episodes are ultimately available for consumption in this way. But hell, we’ll be thrilled to have the option to stream so many classics in high quality. It’s certainly a lot more episodes than have ever been gathered together on a single streamer in the past.
Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of the 24/7 MST3K channels that run on services like Twitch and PlutoTV, don’t worry, those aren’t going anywhere. The streaming episodes available on The Gizmoplex will simply be added right on top of those existing outlets.
Meanwhile, new episodes of season 13 will continue to premiere on a roughly monthly basis, with additional special live events roughly every two weeks. A variety of different subscriptions will be offered, from a yearlong “Season Pass” that costs roughly $135, to individual livestream tickets or episode rentals that will be much cheaper. A trailer for the ongoing season 13 can be seen below.
As for the classic episodes, the phrase “for a limited time” coupled with “without advertising” would seem to imply that eventually the older content will be saddled with ads as a means of revenue generation, but I’d honestly be happy to sit through some commercials for uninterrupted access to a complete library of classic, high-resolution episodes of MST3K. Here’s hoping that proves to be the case.