Imagine this: a person stuck inside, all alone with nothing to do but watch movies (while occasionally receiving confusing and misleading reports from the people who are ostensibly in charge). That might seem to describe most people in the world right now, but it’s actually about the future. The not-too-distant future, in fact…
It is, of course, the premise of the cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, the show in which robots Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot join a human host to make fun of terrible movies. Inspired by the 1972 Douglass Trumbull film Silent Running, series creator and original host Joel Hodgson created a joyful, scrappy celebration of humor and comedy in the face of loneliness and powerlessness. Even as the series changed channels, casts, and hosts over the years, that basic hopeful message remained consistent: Even in the direst situations, you can try to keep your sanity with the help of your (synthetic, if necessary) friends.
For that reason, MST3K is the ideal comfort watch for times such as these, when we’re all scared, stuck, and alone, together.
With 217 episodes released over twelve seasons, it can be daunting to decide where to start. Every MSTie certainly has their personal favorites (The Giant Spider Invasion, for me) and personal least favorites (Hamlet, but I don’t love Manos: The Hands of Fate, either). But the six episodes listed here are generally considered to rank among the best from each era of the series and each one offers a great place to jump in, if you need some immediate comfort viewing!