Like any number of B-movie monsters, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is the TV franchise that won’t die—much to the relief of fans everywhere!
After runs on local TV, Comedy Central, the Sci-Fi Channel (before it became Syfy), and Netflix, MST3K is back with a 13th season on an independent streaming platform called Gizmoplex.
For those of you unaware, Mystery Science Theater 3000 features actors and robot puppets ridiculing low-quality movies from around the world. If it’s any indication of the cinematic caliber at play here, the movies mocked in this new round include Santo in the Treasure of Dracula, Munchie, The Million Eyes of Sumuru, and The Christmas Dragon.
And here’s a bonus: To celebrate Season 13’s arrival on May 6, every episode from the first 10 seasons will stream free (and ad-free) for a limited time on Gizmoplex. Looking for a place to start? Try the 10 titles below, which are IMDb voters’ favorites from MST3K’s run on linear TV.
Season 4, Episode 3: “Pod People”
A poor man’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, 1983’s Pod People features a young boy befriending a lovable alien—an alien, that is, with the less-than-lovable name of Trumpy. The movie also features the inscrutably worded song “Burning Rubber Tires.” Jokes Joel Hodgson: “Lyrics by Mrs. Johnson’s kindergarten class.”
Season 5, Episode 24: “‘Manos’ The Hands of Fate”
The top-reviewed MST3K episode pillories one of the worst movies of all time, a 1966 horror project about a family caught in the underground lair of a devil-worshiping cult. Its members have a habit of what Joel describes as “full-contact nightgown wrestling.” Which prompts this description from Crow T. Robot: “Designing Women: The Lost Episodes.”
Season 6, Episode 12: “Mitchell”
MST3K mocked two movies starring Joe Don Baker, one of them this 1975 film about a schlub of a cop who goes up against heroin dealers and a corrupt businessman…that is, when the lawman isn’t in bed with women, cans of beer, and bottles of baby oil. (Shudder.)
Season 9, Episode 20: “Space Mutiny”
This 1988 sci-fi gem has a pilot valiantly thwarting, yes, a space mutiny—while somehow finding time to woo the captain’s daughter. It also features “special effects by Industrial Light and Morons,” Mike Nelson jokes.
Season 9, Episode 21: “Time Chasers”
Few people had to sit through this 1994 film—about a physics teacher fighting to get his time-travel technology out of an evil corporation’s clutches—during its theatrical run. But Time Chasers got a second shot at infamy on MST3K, where the gang cracked wise about the mulleted protagonist. “I will not accept this as our star,” Crow said, seeing the teacher for the first time.
Season 10, Episode 3: “The Pumaman”
This 1980 Italian film introduced a dubious superhero who takes flight with the magic of terrible visual effects. “Hate to be picky, but pumas aren’t really known for flying,” Mike points out.
Season 10, Episode 4: “Werewolf”
This 1996 thriller, about a werewolf spirit resurrected at an archaeology dig site, opens with a clumsily choreographed fight scene. “Just stand there while I punch you,” Mike jokes as one combatant freezes midbrawl.
Season 10, Episode 7: “Hobgoblins”
Unlucky moviegoers in 1988 were subjected to this action comedy about alien creatures who break out of a movie studio vault. “The vault!” the stunned security guard says in the film. “I warned to warn you! Those creatures! The vault! I tried!” Adds Crow: “Sentence fragments! Just phrases!”
Season 10, Episode 10: “The Final Sacrifice”
After his father’s murder at the hands of cult members, a young man sets out to find the mythical city of Zion in this 1990 clunker directed by Tjardus Greidanus. “He comes from a long line of great anuses,” Crow cracks, seeing the name in the credits.
Season 11, Episode 1: “Soultaker”
Martin Sheen’s younger brother Joe Estevez starred in this 1990 horror movie about teenagers battling the Grim Reaper after a car accident. “Does anything really ‘star’ Joe Estevez?” Crow queries. “Isn’t that kind of an oxymoron?”