Yesterday, it was 25 years since Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3k as it shall be known for the rest of this article, because it is much quicker to type!) first graced our television screens and it is a shame to say, that even though it has become one of the most beloved cult television shows ever; only a handful of people, in the grand scheme of things, have ever heard of it.
The show changed the way that people watched television forever and made it possible for bad movies to be enjoyable once again.
To explain the premise of the show to someone that has never heard of it can often seem like a daunting task; but if you are reading this and have never heard of the show (and I implore you after finishing this to go out immediately and watch some, you will thank me. In fact, don’t even finish this article, go now! Go enrich your life with the genius that is MST3K, and then come back; that’s if you can drag yourself away from the show!) I will try and sum it as plainly as possible. The show revolves around a man (Joel Robinson for the first 4 and half seasons and Mike Nelson for the remaining 6 and half) and his robot companions trapped on a satellite, being forced to watch terrible movies in an attempt to find the one film that will break the will of the human race and the evil scientists that have imprisoned him can take over the planet.
Still with me? Now, as Mike or Joel and the bots, are forced to watch the movies, the audience as well are made to join in with the viewing hell, and get to watch them comment on the movie as it is playing. They are shown as silhouette across the bottom of the screen and the audience (as in us) are sat behind them.
To many this sounds like something terrible and a complete waste of time to watch. Whilst to others, it is a slice of pure heaven.
Now even though it has been 25 years since the show started, and it has been off the air for 14, although it was kept alive by people who kept sharing the tapes, a debate still rages on till this day over who was the better host on the show. Joel or Mike. It is something that splits MST3K fans down the middle. I for one am a Mike Nelson fan, but that is just my personal preference.
Fans of MST3K needn’t worry in this day and age though, because it has progressed into other things as well, such as Cinematic Titanic, which features some of the original cast of MST3K and its original creator Joel Robinson and RiffTrax, which likes to riff over modern day movies.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 holds a special place in many peoples hearts even after all of this time and it has become a much loved cult TV show that is so obscurely quotable that it allows you to make friends in an instant if you hear someone even mentioning “ROWSDOWER”. I highly recommend checking it out and if its style isn’t for you, well at least you can say you tried!