Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American cult television comedy series created by Joel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc. The show premiered on KTMA in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 24, 1988. It later aired on the The Comedy Channel/Comedy Central for another six seasons until its cancellation in 1997. The show was then picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel and aired for another three seasons until its final cancellation in August 1999.
The show mainly features a man and his robot sidekicks who are imprisoned on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch a selection of bad movies, as part of a psychological experiment, and frequently preceded by short public domain educational films. To stay sane, the man and his robots provide a running commentary on each film, making fun of its flaws and wisecracking their way through each reel in the style of a movie-theater peanut gallery. Each film is presented with a superimposition of the man and robots' silhouettes along the bottom of the screen. The film is interspersed with skits tied into the theme of the film being watched or the episode as a whole.
Hodgson originally played the stranded man, Joel Robinson, for four and a half seasons. When Hodgson left in 1993, series head writer Michael J. Nelson replaced him as new victim Mike Nelson and continued in the role for the rest of the show's run. The robots, Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Gypsy, are puppets created from a variety of household objects, manipulated and voiced by other cast members that rotated over the course of the show's run.
Michael J. Nelson
, Mary Jo Pehl
, Kevin Murphy