Failure to Launch: The MST3K Reboot That Wasn’t

mystery science theater netflix

There have only been a tiny handful of TV shows worth watching over the past 30 years, and MST3K was the only one that gave a meaningful f*** you to the TV establishment. So I had a huge emotional investment in its Kickstarter-driven Netflix reboot—which turned out to be such a massive piece of crap that I wish they’d never even bothered.


I don’t think they could have gotten it any more wrong if they’d set out to screw it up on purpose. The host segments are too short and play it way too safe, Jonah Ray has no discernible personality, bot-voicers Baron Vaughn and Hampton Yount have proven adept at playing Tom and Crow in interviews and online videos but don’t get the chance to develop their personas at all in the series, (let’s not even talk about the new Gypsy), the delivery of every single line by every single cast member is so mechanical and forced it feels soulless, it should be a capital crime to make Patton Oswalt play second banana to somebody so obviously limited as Felicia Day, the movies don’t cover any new ground (don’t expect to see anything of the caliber of Manos here), the elaborate effort to cover up mid-segment screwups couldn’t be more lame, and trying to impose the original series’ commercial-break structure couldn’t be more forced. But forget all thatthis whole obviously rushed effort just isn’t funny.


This is a series that deserves to be shot at dawn.


But that doesn’t mean it didn’t yield anything good. In a subsequent post, I’ll talk about how stuff Hodgson probably wasn’t even aware of gave bright examples of entertainment’s future, how the seemingly animated but lifeless carcass of this misguided MST3K gave shelter to some things that are actually pretty darn good.

Michael Gaughn

Michael Gaughn—The Absolute Sound, The Perfect Vision, Wideband, Stereo Review, Sound &
Vision, marketing, product design, a couple TV shows, some commercials, and now this.


Blade Runner: The Final Cut review
Lawrence of Arabia review

Lawrence of Arabia

Kaleidescape Lawrence of Arabia

It was 1989. I had just finished building my first theater, the Roxy, and my career as a home theater designer was still in its infancy. The Roxy featured gigantic JBL speakers behind a perforated screen. They were way too big for that small space, but so what—all I cared was that they were the exact same speakers used in my favorite New York theater, the Ziegfeld.  With (more than) a little stretch of the imagination, being at the Roxy felt the same to me as sitting inside the Ziegfeld, getting lost in one of those 70mm spectacles of the ‘60s like My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and, yes, Lawrence of Arabia


When Lawrence made it to video in HD a few years ago, I felt a circle had been completed. I was finally able to own one of the most spectacular and intelligent epics ever made and see it in a presentation that captured most of the sonic grandeur and the visual splendor of the original. I thought this was it—we finally had a version of the film that was as perfect as we would ever see in a home theater. Boy, was I wrong . . . .


Fast forward five years later to the 4K restoration of Lawrence of Arabia. I knew about it, but only recently was I able to experience it with my own eyes. Seeing it at the Barco demo facilities in Lower Manhattan through a Barco Loki projector using a Kaleidescape Strato Movie Player as a source, I was dazzled—and spoiled forever. Maybe I’m wrong, but the picture looked better than what I remember seeing at the Ziegfeld. It felt like watching Lawrence for the first time. Every little detail jumped out of the frame with crispness and clarity, and every color nuance was there to be savored with relish. This version of Lawrence of Arabia, available at the Kaleidescape store, is one for the ages. Home theater doesn’t get better than this.

Theo Kalomirakis

Theo Kalomirakis is widely considered the father of home theater, with scores of luxury theater
designs to his credit. He is an avid movie fan, with a collection of over 15,ooo discs. Theo is the
Executive Director of Rayva.

Kaleidescape Movie of the Week: Frantz

Frantz Movie 2016

A new film from the reliably good—and prolific—French director François Ozon is always welcome. Frantz tells the story of the tragic triangle between two soldiers in World War I and the fiancée of one of them. It’s a surprisingly old-fashioned movie that unfolds with the deliberate pace of a ‘40s Hollywood melodrama but without the stylistic trappings.


Frantz is also worth watching for its glorious cinematography. The black & white image shimmers with subtle—almost unnoticeable—color highlights in the background, making it a delight to watch. No regular streaming service can capture Frantz’s visual nuances—you need to see it on Kaleidescape to experience it in true HD.

Theo Kalomirakis

Theo Kalomirakis is widely considered the father of home theater, with scores of luxury theater
designs to his credit. He is an avid movie fan, with a collection of over 15,ooo discs. Theo is the
Executive Director of Rayva.