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8bitMST3K

8-Bit MST3K by Al Creed

Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K) is the television show that most popularized the concept of movie riffing. The series began on a local Minneapolis station, expanded to cable television through Comedy Central and The Sci-Fi Channel, and is the precursor to RiffTrax.

The Premise

At its core, the show is about a guy and his friends watching and making fun of bottom-of-the-barrel movies. In the case of MST3K, the concept was further refined into a hapless guy in a blue-collar job who has been stranded in space aboard The Satellite of Love. His bosses, two mad scientists who force him to watch these horrible films, are attempting to find the one that will break the human spirit and thus aid them in taking over the world. The trapped victim has his own weapons, however: an inexhaustible sense of humor, and several robot friends who help him keep his sanity by assisting him in making fun of the movies, thus foiling the mad scientist's plan.

Show History

Beginnings

Ideas for the show came from the stand up comedy routine of Joel Hodgson. The routine was basically a prop comedy routine. He was doing the routine in the Twin Cities area when he and a friend discussed a possible TV show on the local UHF station KTMA. Debuting in 1988, Joel was the host. They established many elements of the show during this time. These fixtures included, the bots, the theater doors, and the invention exchange. The success of the show can be attributed somewhat to the underground network of tape trading. However, still many local viewers watched. From time to time, the show would play telephone messages from fans, negative and positive.

Comedy Central Era

With the start of two new comedy channels on cable in 1989, there was a scramble for material. The Comedy Channel picked up MST3K as its flagship series. With this move, the series went from an improvised style to a rehearsed, scripted production. Other changes were a new set for the SOL and the Mads, with their new digs dubbed "Deep 13". Also, the role of Gypsy was taken over by producer Jim Mallon.

Josh Weinstein left the show after the first season over creative differences (apparently exacerbated by the fact that he was only 19 years old and the rest of the cast was in their early 30s). The performance of Tom Servo was taken over by Kevin Murphy and Dr. Erhardt was replaced with a new character, TV's Frank, played by Frank Conniff. By the third season, the show had become a ratings success and a critical darling. Comedy Central had also begun the annual Turkey Day marathons.

In 1993 Joel Hodgson decided to move on to new projects. He quoted that he had to "hang up his red jumpsuit and move behind the camera". It was decided to continue the show with head writer Michael J. Nelson starring as "Mike Nelson". The trade-off occurred during the middle of the fifth season, with Mike arriving and Joel leaving in episode 512 - Mitchell.

Frank Conniff decided to move on at the conclusion of also left in Season 6 and he was replaced for the truncated Season 7 with Dr. Forrester's mother, Pearl Forrester (Mary Jo Pehl), a character who had been introduced previously.

In 1996, Comedy Central decided to cancel MST3K, citing flagging ratings. The show's staff began shopping around other networks that might be interested in picking up the show.

In the summer of 1996, while MST3K was between networks, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie was released.

Sci-Fi Channel Era

The renewed show began running on The Sci-Fi Channel in 1997, as fans were glad that the show was saved. However, many changes occurred. Trace Beaulieu left the show and the character of Dr. Clayton Forrester was gone and, as it seemed, Crow was, too. However, problems were solved. Mary Jo Pehl reprised her role as Pearl Forrester to succeed as the main villain. A new cast member named Bill Corbett took over the voice of Crow. The show's format changed a lot. It was set a few centuries into the future where Crow's voice chip has changed and creatures known as The Nanites infested the ship. Pearl had two assistants on her hands, bumbling Professor Bobo (played by Kevin Murphy) and Brain Guy (played by Bill Corbett).

(Editor's Note: It is appropriate to include these seasons and episodes on this wiki as it features the same lineup of main riffers, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, as RiffTrax, and therefore has a much more direct impact on the current product than any other time of MST3K.)

Season 8/1997

Movie Riffers Dates

Revenge of the Creature

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot

February 1, 1997

The Leech Woman Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot February 8, 1997
The Mole People Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot February 15, 1997

The Deadly Mantis

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot February 22, 1997
The Thing That Couldn't Die Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot March 1, 1997

The Undead

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot March 8, 1997
Terror from the Year 5000 Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot March 15, 1997
The She Creature Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot April 5, 1997
I Was a Teenage Werewolf Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot April 19, 1997
The Giant Spider Invasion Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot May 31, 1997
Parts: The Clonus Horror Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 7, 1997
The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed Up Zombies Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 14, 1997
Jack Frost Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 12, 1997
Riding With Death Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 19, 1997
Agent for H.A.R.M. Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot August 2, 1997
Prince of Space Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot August 16, 1997
The Horror of Party Beach Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot September 6, 1997

Devil Doll

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot October 4, 1997
Invasion of the Neptune Men Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot October 11, 1997
Space Mutiny Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot November 7, 1997
Time Chasers Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot November 22, 1997
Overdrawn at the Memory Bank Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot December 6, 1997

Season 9/1998

Movie Riffers Dates
The Projected Man Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot March 14, 1998
The Phantom Planet Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot March 21, 1998
The Pumaman Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot April 4, 1998
Werewolf Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot

April 18, 1998

The Deadly Bees Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot May 9, 1998
The Space Children Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 13, 1998
Hobgoblins Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 27, 1998
The Touch of Satan Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 11, 1998
Gorgo Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 28, 1998
The Final Sacrifice Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 25, 1998
Devil Fish Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot August 15, 1998
The Screaming Skull Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot August 29, 1998
Quest of the Delta Knights Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot September 26, 1998

Season 10/1999

Movie Riffers Dates
Soultaker Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot April 11, 1999
Girl in Gold Boots Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot April 18, 1999
Future War Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot April 25, 1999
Blood Waters of Dr. Z Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot May 2, 1999
Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot May 9, 1999
Track of the Moon Beast Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 13, 1999
Final Justice Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 20, 1999
Hamlet Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot June 27, 1999
It Lives By Night Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 18, 1999
Horrors of Spider Island Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot July 25, 1999
Squirm Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot August 1, 1999
Diabolik Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot August 8, 1999
Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo, Bill Corbett as Crow T. Robot September 12, 1999

MST3K Monday

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 6.59.31 PM
MST3K Monday
is a series of classic MST3K episodes released at RiffTrax.com starting in November 2015. The inaugural releases were The Final Sacrifice and The Pumaman, both of which featured the prinicpal RiffTrax lineup of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. Episodes featuring Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, and Josh Weinstein will be made available as well. The releases will include new introductions by Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy or Bill Corbett.
MST3K Episodes now available on RiffTrax! RiffTrax00:52

MST3K Episodes now available on RiffTrax! RiffTrax.com MST3K-1

Mike, Kevin & Bill Episodes

Cast and Crew

See Main Article Cast and Crew of MST3K

External Links

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