There’s something afoot at Cloudtronic Institute. The aforementioned afoot is an experiment whereupon corny movies are being forced upon an unwilling group of test subjects who have been stranded up on an artificial satellite in space by an evil mad scientist. It’s a new Mystery Science Theater 3000-style fan-made video series from The Computer Clan called Ken’s Cinema of Shenanigans.
Ken Wilson (who definitely doesn’t need dating tips because he’s already married), is the twin brother of Dr. Calamity, the boss at Cloudtronic Institute. From his floating base of operations in the sky (Cloud 19), Dr. C is forcing Ken to watch corny movies so he can analyze the effects on Ken’s mind. Accompanying Ken in the theater on the Satellite of Glove are a couple of wise-cracking robots, Boomer and EyeEye. Recording the whole ordeal is CamDroid.
The Computer Clan is, as Ken (the real Ken) puts it, “a content creation group that works to balance the worlds of art and technology”. They use technology to produce videos and music and all manner of educational and informational whosits about technology and how to use it. But, it’s not all bookworming. They also produce content for purely entertainment purposes; gaming, cosplay, and of course, Ken’s Cinema of Shenanigans.
So far, there have already been three episodes of KCOS. The experiments featured are, respectively, Dating Do’s and Don’ts (1949), The Kids Guide to the Internet (1997), and the first episode of a Canadian produced computer education series from the 80’s called Bits and Bytes. A fourth episode is set to be released on December 17th, featuring an “amazing” and “startling” cartoon experiment from 1941, directed by Dave Fleischer: Superman.
KCOS doesn’t only riff on movies in a custom green-screen theater with shadowrama. It also has host segments, a theme song, costumes, and a premise. Things which make a fanvid feel like a real homage to the mother work and not just a slapdash lark. Something else it has, which isn’t exactly unique among MST3K fan-made videos, but is pretty rare, is how Ken and crew are living in the same universe as the original series. Not since Lewis Lovhaug‘s Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 11, has a fanvid attempted inhabit the original universe. Normally, a fanvid is a recreation (Ryan K. Johnson), an alternate universe (MFT3000), or an entirely different thing altogether (B-Movie Central 5000). KCOS takes place some time after the original series ended, with the crashing to Earth of the SOL, and loosely incorporates that lore as a jumping off point. Ken is friends with the original series bots, Tom Servo and Crow. They make appearances on the Satellite of Glove as part of the dramatic through-line, and also join Ken in the theater. How Joel Hodgson‘s attempt to #bringbackmst3k via Kickstarter will affect the universe of KCOS is unknown. However, (the real) Ken says that Tom and Crow were going to end up in cameo roles anyway and the series is going focus more on its own original characters in the future.
Speaking of the future. Besides the premiere of the Superman experiment on December 17th, the KCOS website reveals that a second season of KCOS will start in February 2016. The experiment is a secret. What will happen to Ken Wilson and his companions on the Satellite of Glove is also a secret. You can’t expect (the ostensibly real) Ken to spill too many beans, but stay tuned for new characters and possible collaborations.
You can catch previous and future episodes of Ken’s Cinema of Shenanigans, as well as the many other videos produced by The Computer Clan, on their YouTube channel. If you’re looking for behind the scenes KCOS dirt, future updates, and news, check out the KCOS website. For a more in-depth look into what The Computer Clan is all about, they have a website, too. They even host a live show on Friday nights.