You can't keep a good riffing down.  After the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 had been off the air for years, a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and plenty of celebrity support led to Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return.  This is the 11th season of MST3K, now on Netflix, and it continues the tradition of cracking jokes at the expense of some amazingly terrible movies.

For those keeping track of the plot, space pilot Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) was tricked into responding to a distress call on the dark side of the moon.  He was kidnapped by Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day), granddaughter of Clayton Forrester from the original show, and her sidekick Max, TV's Son of TV's Frank (Patton Oswald).  The two of them are recreating Clayton's original experiment -- forcing a test subject to watch cheesy movies while monitoring his mind -- with the goal of selling it to Disney for a billion dollars.

So Jonah is trapped on the Satellite of Love -- but he's got his robot friends.  Jonah is joined for all the movies by Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn) and Crow T. Robot (Hampton Yount), plus the occasional appearance by Gypsy (Rebecca Hanson) during the movies.  Plenty of celebrity guest stars stop by, from Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Hamill, and Jerry Seinfeld to members of the original MST3K, Jonah and his buddies start each episode with an invention exchange (prop comedy) with the mad scientists, and there are plenty of skits and musical numbers in-between the movie mockery.
 MST3K: The Return is a funny and worthy continuation of the classic TV series.  The movies here are quite varied -- giant monsters, sword & sorcery, time travel, avalanche -- but universally bad, providing plenty of fodder for jokes about them.  The new cast is quite funny and likable, whether mocking the latest awful movie of bouncing jokes off each other in sketches and the invention exchange.  MST3K: The Return is a terrific return of some big laughs.  (The DVD set also has a documentary on how this latest season came about.)
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch

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