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SYFY WIRE Mystery Science Theater 3000

WIRE Buzz: MST3K social-distancing special; Star Wars writer starts Animal Crossing talk show; more

By Jacob Oller
mst3k the movie

Some in the entertainment industry have used the coronavirus pandemic as a chance to use their pop culture images for good. Altered catchphrases in PSAs, in-character warnings and condolences, and more have come from the world of TV, films, and comics where new developments simply aren’t happening. Others — like bad movie appreciation/riff show Mystery Science Theater 3000 — are taking a bit of a lighter stance, but with the same audience and ethos in mind.

The A.V. Club reports that a new MST3K special is coming from show creator Joel Hodgson, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Riff-Along, which was born from the traveling cult hit’s live show postponement. This new version of the mocking show — fittingly about some spacefaring dorks trapped in an isolated hellscape — will stream to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and other online platforms.

The show will feature a screening of old-school episode “Moon Zero Two,” paired with a short “Circus Day.” It’ll be riffs on top of riffs as old and new comedy collides — with Emily Crenshaw, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot reprised by Emily Marsh, Conor McGiffin, and Nate Begle. Yvonne Freese will play Mega-Synthia and GPC during the performance, while Hodgson himself will be taking questions and interacting with fans through the stream comments. The Facebook feed will also allow for behind-the-scenes looks between commercials.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live Riff-Along will air on May 3 at 6 p.m. ET.

Next, another way social distancing has affected the world of entertainment is in the world of talk shows. Luckily, one enterprising soul has combined that need with the gaming sector’s love of the new Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch to make one of the most calming and endearing (dare we say cute?) additions to the quarantine: Animal Talking.

This comes from Gary Whitta, video game professional and screenwriter of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, who has been uploading episodes of the talk show — created inside the game’s island environment — to his Twitch and YouTube channels.

Take a look:

Hosted in Whitta’s in-game basement (not creepy at all), the show plans on interviewing everyone from social media celebrities to comedians and more — all in the adorable Animal Crossing style that’s won over social distancers everywhere. While some genre fans have simply been using the game to recreate famous film scenes, Whitta is moving into a new world of virtual talk TV.

Finally, one of the films in Marvel’s delayed Phase Four has been looking at its extended development as a benefit rather than a curse. Thor: Love and Thunder, the second film about the God of Thunder from director Taika Waititi after Ragnarok, is taking its cast on a wild ride — and now that it’s been moved around due to the coronavirus, the ride is only getting wilder.

Waititi told Total Film that, while he can’t tell fans much more about the upcoming MCU film, he’s not letting quarantine stop him. "But the other thing is, there are a few positive things I can take away [from the COVID-19 pandemic]. One of them is that a lot of these films, and films in general, are rushed, or you don’t have as much time as you’d want to have on the script and things like that.”

As far as an update on production goes, the filmmaker explained that they’re still polishing the screenplay. "We’re still writing Love and Thunder, and I think it’s good to just keep writing, and then you know, we’ll have a really, really good script,” Waititi said. “And with writing, especially, you should use as much of that time as possible to get your story right, because you never really get it later on. Film is an industry where you’re always complaining about not having enough time. I think, right now, we’ve given ourselves a huge amount of time to work on all sort of things, so we may as well use it."

Other directors have taken a similar stance on the production shutdown, as The Batman’s helmer Matt Reeves also noted that he’d be taking the slowed schedule as an opportunity to fine-tune some of his action set pieces.

Thor: Love and Thunder is now planned to hit theaters in February 2022.