Review: Mystery Science Theater 3000 – The Gauntlet
For thirty years, the TV series “Mystery Science Theater 3000” has been a beloved cult classic with its playful take on riffing some of the most hilariously-awful movies ever. With Netflix streaming its twelfth season, “The Gauntlet,” a new form to a beloved Thanksgiving tradition has resulted in one of the best seasons of the series in years.
Following the success of the previous season, “The Return,” Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) is subjected to a new experiment while being held captive on Moon 13 alongside Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot. Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and Max, “TV’s Son of TV’s Frank” (Patton Oswalt) have a new method of digital streaming to riff six of the worst movies ever made at the same time, entitled “The Gauntlet.” As the mad scientists “binge make” their latest experiment, the audience at home joins everyone for the ride.
The movies this season include some of the most-requested targets for mockery since the series began its relaunch. The first target is “Mac and Me,” an infamous attempt to cash-in on “ET: The Extraterrestrial” rife with hamfisted advertisements for Coca-Cola, Skittles and McDonald’s. Next is “Atlantic Rim,” a “mockbuster” of “Pacific Rim” that features some of the worst acting and special effects in the last decade of filmmaking. After that, “Lords of the Deep” sees Jonah and the ‘bots endure an underwater adventure that’s trippy for all the wrong reasons. “The Day Time Ended” has a post-apocalyptic adventure that appears to have been filmed at the cheapest campsite money can buy. “Killer Fish” is an attempt to meld a heist film with Lee Majors and a horror film about man-eating piranhas, neither of which results in a compelling story; but it does result in comedy gold. Last, but definitely not least is “Ator: The Fighting Eagle,” a takeoff on “Conan the Barbarian” that makes up for its lack of a coherent story, interesting characters or strong visuals with more 1980s cheese than a dairy farm blasting Night Ranger music.
The result is yet another binge-worthy season of one of the best Netflix revivals in recent years, with a turkey day tradition taking a new and hilarious form. Their usual online livestream even had to be moved up to November 18 in order to accommodate the debut of the twelfth season. The season even features unexpected cameos that will definitely surprise longtime fans. While the next experiment that lies ahead for a potential 13th season of the series is unclear, there’s plenty to enjoy here. So, “just repeat to yourself, it’s just a show, I should really just relax!”
Verdict: 5 stars out of 5
Review by Steven Pryor
At a Glance:
Starring: Jonah Ray, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt
Available on Netflix (Streaming Started November 22)