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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 305- Stranded In Space

Movie: (1973) Unsuccessful TV pilot about an astronaut who finds himself on a mirror-Earth, where the shadowy, oppressive “Perfect Order” rules.

First shown: 6/29/91
Opening: Joel has turned Crow and Tom into a shooting gallery
Invention exchange: The shooting gallery is now in Apple Dumpling Gang mode; both Joel and the Mads show off variations of the “BANG!” gun
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom fight over their trading cards until Joel intervenes; he then shows off his “kids in court” trading cards
Host segment 2: Tom’s baking cookies; Crow tells him about a nightmare that reminds Tom of Ward E, and they discuss their personal visions of what Ward E is like
Host segment 3: Joel is a TV movie villain, the bots are his henchmen
End: Joel and Crow try to sell “Stranded in Space” to producer Tom; Joel reads a letter, the Mads are TV movie villains and Dr. F foresees a promotion for Frank
Stinger: Bettina strikes Stryker.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (128 votes, average: 3.85 out of 5)


• I think Sampo’s Theorem is going to be in full force here, because, frankly, I’m not a big fan of this one, which means that I’m sure somebody will come forward to express their undying love for it. For me, the biggest problem is that the movie is as drab as a sinkful of dishwater. There’s very little for the riffers to grab on to (though of course there are some great moments as always). All the host segments are worth a smile or two, but nothing is outstanding. A classic “meh” episode.
• This one’s not on DVD.
• Joel explains the premise, this time adding some details we’ve never heard before, nor will ever hear again. He says, “As you can tell by the opening the Mads made…” and also says the Mads “sell the results to cable TV.” The show seldom makes that much effort to explain itself.
• To wake the bots up, Joel throws glittery confetti. What is he, the Harlem Globetrotters? (Alternately, Rip Taylor.)
• Watch the plunger on the TNT prop as Frank presses down. They keep going. JEF!!
• Callbacks: Two uses of “hikeeba” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet) and several uses of “No!!!” (Cave Dwellers). Also: two references to Sidehackers: “The most dramatic confrontation since Rommel met JC” and “that’s pretty good!”
• Before FVI got hold of it, this was called “The Stranger.” In their re-edit, they used clips from a movie called “Prisoners of the Lost Universe” during the credits sequence (RiffTrax would riff it in 2012).
• My copy is from March of 1995, the “Play MSTie for Me” era. The OJ trial was in full swing and Comedy Central runs one of its “Just Say No J” promos twice.
• Movie observation: You can see why this never went to series. His only way off the planet is via the Terra version of NASA. How many space launches are there? The guy says they have an active space program, but still. How likely is he to be able to sneak aboard a flight? If the plan they concoct in this episode failed, is some other plan likely to work better? It’s an unworkable premise is what I’m saying.
• Dated riff: Joel and Tom both mention “Photomat.” The once-ubiquitous film developing retail chain is now long dead, put out of business by digital technolgy.
• Instant catchphrase: “People used to laugh more then…the were concerts in the park…”
• Again, the order of segments isn’t quite right: They’ve mentioned Ward E by the time we get to segment 2, but they haven’t shown it to us yet.
• Tibby makes a return appearance in segment 3!
• What’s “People’s Road 94?” I’m guessing it’s a Minnesota joke. Google is silent.
• At the end of the movie, a character introduces himself as “Tom Nelson” and Tom says “MIKE Nelson.” That must have been baffling to viewers in 1991.
• In the ending segment, Tom says “letter latey.” They keep going.
• Dr. F mentions Gizmonic Institute during the closer. First time in a long while.
• I always mix this one up in my mind with “Space Travelers.” Both are such bland names and besides the astronauts in the other movie are more stranded in space than Stryker is, so…
• Cast/crew roundup: Score composer Richard Markowitz did the same for “The Magic Sword.” Actor H.M. Wynant also appears in “Hangar 18.” Buck Young also appears in “Mitchell.” And, of course, Cameron Mitchell also appears as Captain Santa in “Space Mutiny.”
• CreditsWatch: A guy named Bob King came in to do audio for this episode and only this episode. Tim Scott is listed as “on-line editor” for this episode only. Jann Johnson and Alex Carr are listed as additional contributing writers. Trace and Frank are still “guest villians” (misspelled) and now Dr. F’s name is spelled “Forrestor.” This was Lisa Sheretz’ last episode as a contributing writer, and after this episode Colleen Henjum took three episodes off.
• Fave riff: “You’ll always be a little girl.” Honorable mention: “Sir, why aren’t the Landers sisters in this meeting?”

125 Replies to “Episode guide: 305- Stranded In Space”

  1. Keith Palmer says:

    I suppose that when my thoughts do drift to this episode they focus on the “other side of the Sun” explanation, and I’m tempted to conclude that a comparable sort of idea nowadays would trade that collection of small impossibilities for a “parallel universe”… which, I suppose, can be neither confirmed nor denied. The riffs on 1970s TV more or less fly over my head, but in some strange way I can enjoy the blandness of it all.


  2. monoceros4 says:

    I suggest a combination of all four astronaut-in-trouble movies that MST3K has presented us. Call it The Incredible Stranded Melting Space Traveler a Go-Go. Astronaut Steve “Buzz” Douglas Stryker is caught in a powerful solar flare during a mission and mysteriously transported to an alternate Earth. For the purpose of this story, he has to be transported out of his capsule, leaving the spacecraft still in orbit. Mission Control, unable to communicate with the capsule but not knowing if Steve is dead or alive but unable to communicate with Earth, must debate whether to mount a rescue mission. Meanwhile Steve, back on Terra, is shocked to find that his cellular structure is breaking down and that he also now eight feet tall. The dictatorial government of Terra, The Reasonably Well-Organized Institution, judges Steve to be a subversive influence and pursues him. Will Steve successfully get back to Earth before he melts completely? Will he evade the agents of the Institution and find a blood bank that he can snack on in peace? Will Mission Control learn the truth? Will the cosmic switch be pulled?


  3. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This is my third time watching this one and, I have to say, I’ve finally warmed up to it. Sure, the TV movie is of drab quality and the science is all sorts of wonky, but there’s some nice touches and some occasionally interesting things to look at; Ward E and Cameron Mitchell’s face, for example.

    The riffing and the strength of the Invention Exchange and Host Segments save this one from total mediocrity. The Invention Exchange back and forth gags is great; the nunchucks prop is of particular note. Good job, prop-master! Host Segment #1 is solid, hits me with a “psychic lawn dart” with the politics of card trading. I was big into sports cards (and non-sports) back in the day and this sketch gave me a big smile. Plus, the Bots keep saying “You’re high” which I find endlessly funny. HS#2 is great in it’s possible depictions of Ward E. Eeeeew, garbage juice. HS#3 is good too, the weakest of the group, but still fun as Tibby shows up again and for the utterance of the line, “Kill Hooker!”

    Overall, I would give this one a 3/5, simply because a 4 seems too high and I’m not into doing the whole “half” star rating thing (not for these, anyway). But it is a proud 3/5 episode, I liked it better than #302 Gamera and probably on par with #304 Gamera vs Barugon. Season 3 so far is sort of uneven in quality. . . but there are some absolute gems coming up.


    Joel: “We’re doing acting improv. We’re bacon. Bacon. . . . . .bacon.”

    Crow: “Hi-Keeba! Gotta go!”

    guy in movie, holding a knife: “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.”
    Servo: “I just want to spread you on some toast.”

    Joel: “Stryker’s a good cop!”

    Servo: “Do you know how many TV shows would be ruined if this room blew up?”

    Crow: “Time to put the lotion on the skin. . . ”

    Crow: “A little candy for grandpa..”
    Joel: “Uh, HUH-HOOOOO! That’s good smack!”


  4. Sharktopus says:

    I wouldn’t normally do this, but since some of you never got a copy of the ACEG, I want to share one of my very favorite bits from Frank which perfectly sums up Stranded In Space:

    On paper it sounds cool (okay, maybe not), but on the small screen it was dazzling in its mediocrity. And I mean mediocrity in its purest sense: neither bad enough to stand out, nor good enough to watch. It was just there. It was the quintessential made-for-TV movie. And yet I liked it. I think it was the first made-for-TV movie done as an MST3K experiment and for this reason alone I’m fond of it. Obviously it doesn’t take a whole hell of a lot to please me.

    A TV movie like Stranded In Space exists for only one reason. The TV executives who commissioned Stranded In Space went to its producers with a very specific mandate: They had two hours of prime-time programming to fill and they needed to fill it with something, anything! Just as long as it didn’t break any FCC regulations it would serve its purpose. Let’s face it: People need to kill time – it’s human nature. And for anyone watching TV on the night it was first broadcast, Stranded In Space did indeed kill time. A whole two hours!

    Whatever you say about Stranded in Space, there’s one thing you can’t take away from it: It filled up two hours of airtime. There’s no doubt about that. The producers of Stranded In Space did their job and they did it effectively.

    I love the Ward E host segment, by the way. The situations they describe are all so relatable. Not sure why it had to start with Crow’s weird ass nightmare though. Just an excuse to put Joel in that apron I’d guess.


  5. pablum says:

    While I have typed on here that season 3 is part of what I consider the best era of the show, there are some hiccups every now and then. This is one of them. Its not a bad episode. Its just an okay ep. Due almost entirely to the plodding TV movie that they used.

    Claiming the guy is on a different planet that just happens to be exactly like Earth is the cheapest plot convenience for the premise of this TV movie/failed pilot. Its also executed very poorly as well. Bland characters. Bland dialogue. Bland settings. The turtlenecks and sports jackets are about the most exciting thing on screen.

    And with bland movies comes a more low-key riffing. You can only do so much with what you’re given and the crew tries valiantly, but can’t save it. Same with the sketches. Good, but not spectacular.


  6. John R. Ellis says:

    “Well! time to sell you all out again, I guess.”

    I just re-watched it myself. The film skimps on details, but the reveal of the climax was that the Bettina who begged to be reunited for “romantic” reasons and claimed she’d merely beaten by torturers was -already- a brainwashed slave, just given false motives to hide the true intent of her seeming attraction.


  7. Operation Weasel-Snitch says:

    “What’s ‘People’s Road ’94?’”

    In order to avoid traffic, People’s Road 94 splits into People’s Bypass 494/694 which meet up again in Oakdale.


  8. Sharktopus says:

    I think something like “Glorious People’s Route 66” would have sold that riff a little better.


  9. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    I have to agree with the general assessment of this one: not especially memorable, thanks to the “movie” itself. I too saw Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, and though it was kind of depressing, it was still a fairly well-done, thought-provoking B movie. This pilot is just…yeah, I can’t find much to say about it.

    Sharktopus, most things in 1970s America were turquoise, Harvest Gold*, orange, or green. Many things were a combination thereof. (I still have a bedsheet with an abstract floral print in colors of blue, green and orange. I use it for outdoor work.) So, while not everything was that awful yellow, many many things were, including appliances and couches. I imagine that almost subliminal ’70s ambience is part of what makes this tv movie so dreary.

    *I’m sure all the colors had some clever name, but I specifically remember Harvest Gold – our fridge and oven were just that color. Good times.


  10. pondoscp says:

    One more thing about that closing bit; Dr. F is prepping Frank to maybe one day take over for him. Little did he know that it would be Pearl, his own mother, who would succeed him.


  11. The Right Oily Drifter says:

    “Meanwhile on Trapper John…”
    A fairly solid episode for me, with many strong riffs but not much in between. As mentioned, the movie is very bland but still holds my interest. For some reason, while watching this episode I keep noticing things that remind me of other experiments. Cameron Mitchell, a boiler room shootout, a calgon reference, and I think I spotted a railing kill: Space Mutiny. Each frame appears to have had coffee spilled on it, a similar visual experience to Fu Manchu. The lone man in another world so alike yet so different from his own, a lot like Parts… The hospital stairs look like the inside of the movie studio from Hobgoblins. And many more.
    Russia would have been a lot more interesting than another Earth. So ridiculous…
    Joel was especially funny in the theater. All my favorite riffs came from him, such as:
    “..and about dining in Boston!”


  12. Alex says:

    Pretty good episode. I’ve been interested in seeing “The Stranger” uncut one day.

    Just outta curiousity, is that new-wave music from the movie at the beginning from “Prisoners of the Lost Universe”, or did FVI create the music?


  13. crowschmo says:

    dsman71 @ #47: You’re therapy be not workin’. :) You gots it bad.

    Let me just say: If this planet had THREE moons, it would NOT have evolved as a mirror world to Earth. They must have some monster-super-mega tides. :pain:

    I got this ep from Skyroniter a while back and patiently waited for this discussion to watch it for the very first time today.

    I was a bit disappointed. I thought an episode that was brand new to me would evoke a few more laughs. It wasn’t torture or anything, just nothing to write posts about. But I am, heh.

    With a little imagination, which the writer’s of the TV pilot obviously DIDN’T have much of, they could have made this into an interesting series. Like others have said, it didn’t always have to be about him getting home, but maybe starting a movement in protest to this “Perfect Order” hoo-ha. But, as with all high and mighty premises, it probably would have gotten preachy and tedious after not too long a time. So, never mind. BAD idea for a show.

    Nothing really jumped out at me with this one; I did like the “next week on such-and-such a series, and previously on…” jokes.

    A couple of good riffs: (Both from Crow):

    “Funny how space looks a lot like Sacremento.”
    “Never mind the oboe, that always follows me around, you know.”

    But, the best line came from the movie itself:

    “I have a feeling one of these pigs is a spy.”


  14. trickymutha says:

    This was one of the last episodes I ever saw- I would start it, but wasn’t happy with the quality of the DVD, I finally found a “trader” who had a decent dub- and a few years back watched it- found it on the level of a Season three Star Trek- just enough to keep me interested. The second time I watched it I laughed out loud and really thought it was a 4-5 star episode- a sleeper of the series. A few Sundays ago, I put it in and was pretty bored by the middle. Guess it’s just inconsistent. Still though, I’ll keep it in the rotation, but not as often as other episodes.


  15. crowschmo says:

    “your” therapy, not “you’re”.

    And “Sacramento”. Sheesh :-P


  16. Chuck says:

    “At the end of the movie, a character introduces himself as “Tom Nelson” and Tom says “MIKE Nelson.” That must have been baffling to viewers in 1991.”

    Sampo, you’re wrong. There were those of us who read the credits and knew the names of the writers and crew.



  17. Larry says:

    First off, thank you Sampo for finally revealing to me the name of the movie used in the credits! Gotta love FVI.

    Anyway, I like, but not love, this ep. Started out decently enough, but most of the ep is is just ‘okay’ as far as the riffing goes. Not bad, but this one flies under the radar for a reason, I suppose. I get a kick out of this type of movie, though, so this ep had that going for it (as far as I’m concerned, at least).


  18. losingmydignity says:

    I forgot to ask–is that Shelley Hack in the opening credits with another movie?

    It’s hard to see Bettina as reoccuring character after the Jack Nicholson number they did on her but what about the two other astronauts. I have a feeling the writers planned to have them pop up, survived, to bring later eps to new heights of disinterest. Unless one of them becomes the Melting Man and the other There-was-no-monster.

    @40 All mere speculation. Your science does nothing to impress me.

    @ Castle Monster: are you reporting to us as you watch in real time?

    @ Pablum 55. …”makes for low-key riffing…” No way, Jose. Starfighter and Monster a Go Go are hilarious to many. And I just recently watched Rifftrax tear Paranormal Activit up. Hilarious.

    p.s. Seventies colors were actual quite colorful. As sixties colors had hit the mainstream. I think it’s film stocks that were to blame. You see a real change between shows shot in 66-69 and the early seventies. In film too. Also, we are watching a print that needs a bit of fixing. Harvest Gold though! Gotta love it.


  19. This episode always has a nostalgic feel for me, because I remember seeing this pilot when it aired. As a teenager, I thought it would make a fun series, but I see now how terrible it would be. Glenn Corbett always had a wooden acting style (in everything I’ve seen him in, at least), but his looks carried him. I think he was appearing on the daytime soap “The Doctors” when this pilot was made.

    I was delighted when this turned up on MST3K. I love the TV-movie episodes. Thomas K. Dye made me think of my feelings about the different eras of MST3K when he noted that they comment on Cameron Mitchell’s presence in this one, and then in Space Mutiny, they don’t seem to know who he is. For a show that built itself on obscure pop-culture references, the relative lack of them during the Sci-Fi years made those shows a little less special for me.


  20. “@ Castle Monster: are you reporting to us as you watch in real time?”

    Yeah, well, stop-and-go. I’m still at part 8. It’s not a bad ep though, I think. The average has it at about 3.5 and I’d say that’s fair.


  21. dsman71 says:

    # 63 that therapy will never work but I gotta try..
    Where else can I talk about Joel’s hair, his knees, and somehow discuss a great show that aired terrible movies ?!?? I found Joel’s weekly hair growth from 201 to 306 to be interesting because his hair never would be that way again..he got older…he did grow it out but nothing like this season..
    Actually 324 Master Ninja II his hair grew out a lot but then in Space Travelers it was sort of shorter…every week his hair looked different
    Neat !
    Help !! :)


  22. Sharktopus says:

    Ah yes, “harvest gold.” Our refrigerator, dishwasher, and stovetop were all that putrid yellow when I was a wee Sharktopusling. The kitchen phone, too. That phone also had some sort of dial on it instead of buttons. Crazy, huh? ;-) Right out of Design For Dreaming.

    For the record, I’d argue than all the Captain Santa riffs from Space Mutiny are much funnier than pointing out that there’s an actor in the movie that was in other movies would be. (That does tend to happen, even in the terrible movies features on MST3K. :-D ) It doesn’t mean none of the writers recognized him, it just means they couldn’t think of anything funny enough to bother mentioning it. What would they reference, anyway? He has over a hundred acting credits on IMDb. What would be his signature role?


  23. JeremyR says:

    I remember seeing this pilot as a kid, so I liked it more for that. I think there was an episode of the Twilight Zone (or some SF anthology show) with the same premise, and there was a Roy Thinnes/Gerry Anderson movie called Doppleganger (Joruney to the Far Side of the Sun) with the same plot.

    It’s a pretty forgettable episode of MST3K though.


  24. Creeping Terror says:

    @2: I agree that this is one of the best films they riffed. Along with “Parts: The Clonus Horror” and “Girls Town,” it’s one of the few that I have considered watching on its own. But Sampo’s right. This doesn’t make sense as a premise for a TV series. I imagine some creative guy pitching ideas to a studio suit and he says, “How about this: ‘The Fugitive’ on another planet!” It sounds good in a one sentence synopsis, but the concept is not workable. (Although Thomas K. Dye @16 has some good suggestions on how to keep it going.)

    @36: I respond VERY poorly to 1970’s TV references. I absolutely HATE the first host segment and I hold it up as the quintessential example of why most Joel-era segments bore me: unfunny references, the stupid facade of being a kid’s show and the bots being children, the unfunny dialogue. Plus, every TV show mentioned in the segment had been canceled for at least seven years when this episode aired. When “Love Boat” (the last aired show mentioned in the segment) was cancelled, I was an infant. For a show that always tried to avoid dating itself, I think that the stupid references to obscure TV shows like “Name of the Game” are counterproductive. (And don’t blame me for being a young hooligan who can’t appreciate references to the olden days. One of the reasons why “The Touch of Satan” is one of my favorite eps is BECAUSE of all the 1970’s references.)

    @55: I agree that the counter-Earth idea is executed poorly here. From what I can tell the only differences are: everyone’s left-handed, there’s the Perfect Order, there are 3 moons, and they don’t got a Florida (although every mountain, river, and ocean has its counterpart on Terra, so there IS a Florida, they just call it something else). It seems like the writers were just throwing darts at a big board to figure out what would be different. Some carefully selected differences could have made Terra a lot creepier.

    @72: “Design for Dreaming”? I think you mean “Once Upon a Honeymoon,” Sharkopus.

    Her name’s “Bettina”? I always thought it was “Patina.” Well, that’s why I get on this discussion board every week…

    And what’s the reference to “putting lotion on his skin” from? I don’t get the joke here.


  25. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @74 Creeping Terror: “It puts the lotion on the skin . . ” is a reference to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, which would have been brand spanking new back in 1991 (when this episode aired the film had only been released for about 4 months). That psycho killer Buffalo Bill has a girl trapped in this skeezy old hole and he lowers her down a freshness basket orsomesuchthing and he bellows, “it puts the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again.” Then he asks her to put it back in the basket. It’s supposed to be terrifying; it’s kinda funny.

    It’s become part of the pop culture lexicon.


  26. Laura says:

    I finally watched this one the whole way through last night. GAH!!!! This is is definitely a “Meh” episode for me. The riffing is so-so and so are the host segments. I know the guy’s on another planet, but couldn’t someone have at least the the vehicles a little different? Once again, FVI, graces us with its ability to suck. Cameron Mitchell is just as irritating with his stoic, “I’m in charge” demeanor in this as in “Space Mutiny.” Well, at least he’s not stabbing people with his cane and asking the group if anyone else wants to confuse freedom with treason.

    I still have no clue what Ward-E is. Other than maybe a room where they perform mass lobotomies on the “rebels” of the “Perfect Order.”


  27. Dr. Ted "Hotcha!" Nelson says:

    The 70’s sets really were that drab in real life. I remember the 70’s and it was a time of extreme brown-ness. We had a shag carpet of harvest gold and our oven was avacado green. Burnt orange was everywhere, too. As someone said, this flick looks like it has coffee poured all over it. I think “Stranded…” shares the title of brownest movie with “San Fran International.”

    I also get “Space Travellers” mixed up with this one. Both flicks got the FVI treatment but maybe FVI accidently got the titles mixed up and used them on wrong movies.


  28. senorpogo says:

    Man, I feel stupid. I NEVER realized the lead in this was the original Zefram Cochran. It’s so obvious too. It’s not like he looks any different.

    Did they make any riffs about it? I don’t remember any. If not, I’ll have to put that one on the list of “missed riffs”.


  29. briizilla says:

    I had Jello today.

    4 stars


  30. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    trickymutha says: “a few years back watched it- found it on the level of a Season three Star Trek- just enough to keep me interested. The second time I watched it I laughed out loud and really thought it was a 4-5 star episode- a sleeper of the series. A few Sundays ago, I put it in and was pretty bored by the middle. Guess it’s just inconsistent.”

    No, I think you actually nailed the reason we all have different reactions to various episodes! There are probably the episodes that we love no matter what, that would always be on our “Top 10/Must-Have” list, and then there are the others. We might watch them one day, say, “eh,” watch it again another day and find it hilarious, simply because we’re in the right mood, where every riff, even the movie itself, is exactly what we needed. The episode’s not inconsistent, our response to it is.

    This ep would be one I’d use for background while doing other things, when I didn’t really feel the need to pay close attention to it. And I’d enjoy it as such, probably getting caught occasionally by a host segment or the riffing. Maybe I’d even end up sitting down & watching it, and have a lot of fun with it, at least on that particular day.

    Doesn’t mean I’m changing my opinion about this one not being one of their strongest, but like every ep of MST, I’m still happy to have it & watch it when the mood strikes.


  31. Sharktopus says:

    @ Creeping Terror,

    DOH! You’re right, of course. I must have been thinking of the automatic oven that frosts the cake and puts lit candles on top. Once Upon A Honeymoon has the color-coordinated phones in every room. Both have a lot of ear-splitting singing, though.

    And I completely agree about the ’70s TV references. (And mostly agree about many Joel host segments.) ’70s movies, music, politics, even some sports references are okay, but nothing gets dated faster than TV refs. I have absolutely zero idea what Name Of The Game was, and have zero interest in looking it up. And I like the concept of segment 3, but the execution is just weak.

    @ Laura,

    Cameron Mitchell played Captain Santa. You’re thinking of, um, that other guy in Space Mutiny. With the cane.

    Did FVI ever rename a movie with a title that makes sense?

    It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again.


  32. CMWaters says:


    “Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster” made sense as a title.


  33. Seneca says:

    I saw this for the first time this year, 20 years after its premiere, and I knew nothing about it except what Frank wrote in the ACEG. Pleasantly surprised to be amused by it all the way through. The premise of the tale is so unconvincing as to boggle the mind. “We’ve always thought there could be a mirror of Terra on the other side of the Sun” as the old Terran dissident says. Any reason to believe that? No, but it’s possible, isn’t it? Yes, and it’s possible that subterranean Martians are controlling the Federal Reserve telepathically. OK, so this impressed me as a really dumb movie, but it’s a funny episode! Just sit back and enjoy the bad guys. They’re a lot of fun.


  34. MikeK says:

    This episode is pretty good, but kind of boring thanks to the movie and a few well meaning, but otherwise dull host segments.

    I think the movie’s basic premise is a good one for a TV series, although I would rework it a little. First, our Earth astronaut will be in a parallel universe, not a mirror world called Terra on the other side of the sun.


  35. underwoc says:

    For everyone wondering how this concept could have been successfully turned in to a full series, the answer is … Muppets!

    Seriously, compare and contrast with Farscape…


  36. 24hourwideawakenightmare says:

    Huh – Glen Corbett was on Star Trek The Original Series, or “TOS” as aficionados term it. Makes me perhaps want to sit through some of those, maybe just cue up amusing guests like that – about 7 years ago I snapped up a bunch of VHS tapes of the old Mission: Impossible! series, and it was quite a kick going “Holy crap, that’s Carroll O’Connor!” Not to mention the one where Shatner plays a coke dealer…actually maybe all this ephemera is free for the viewing on YouTube now.


  37. Sitting Duck says:

    A lot of people here seem to have the idea that Frank’s ACEG entry regarding this episode indicates his dislike of the movie, but I’m not so sure. I get the impression that he actually liked it, but was uncomfortable admitting it. So he ends up praising it with faint damns, so to speak. I guess the only way to find out for sure one way or the other is to ask him directly.


  38. Toots Sweet says:

    #68 @losingmydignity, I think the woman in the opening credits scene was Kay Lenz, not Shelley Hack.


  39. Charles says:

    #75: Actually, Buffalo Bill doesn’t bellow at her until she begs and cries long enough to upset him. Until then, he was quite polite about it, disturbingly so, when you consider he was saying this to a naked terrified woman he had trapped in the bottom of a dry old style well, in a musty cellar, and he wanted her to apply the lotion to her skin so her skin remained smooth and silky baby soft so it was in good condition when he would kill and SKIN her. It really wasn’t funny at all. Referencing it in a comedy show, however, can be.

    As for Stranded in Space, I enjoyed it a bit. I thought Glenn Corbett was nicely earnest, albeit not terribly good, so he was likable at least. The thing that really annoyed me about it was how unambitious it was. Here we have a Science Fiction premise and yet every time they had a choice to make between coming up with something interesting, ways in which this world was interestingly different from our own, they instead almost always chose the lazy route. As a consequence, I couldn’t buy in to the idea of this being an alien world. Too often, when the choice was to create something new for this new world or just go with the earth version, they chose the latter. For a SciFi show, it barely had any SciFi at all.


  40. Laura says:

    Was color banned in the 70s? Would the police come to your house and shoot you if you didn’t decorate with brown? Just one more reason for me to be glad I didn’t grow up in the era.


  41. losingmydignity says:


    More than twenty years on and I still mix up those two.


  42. JCC says:

    “I have absolutely zero idea what Name Of The Game was, and have zero interest in looking it up.”
    This made me laugh, and it’s so true! The sad thing is if TV Land or some channel had aired repeats of this show (Name of the Game) during my initial MST Super Fandom in the mid 90’s, I totally would have watched a few episodes just to say I completely “got” the reference. I watched a lot of old TV shows and movies just to recognize riffs and references. Did I really watch Mannix episodes as a teenager in 1995? Unfortunately, yes.


  43. Warren says:

    I haven’t watched this in a few years and only saw it once on youtube, so my memory is sparse on details. I know I saw a Plymouth car at some point. Maybe the premise isn’t good, but if it had been sold as a series the man trapped on Terra DOESN’T make it back during the finale. Maybe he becomes a martyr for a revolution (successful attempt or not) on Terra. I’m sure big studios favored happy endings for tv shows but since this was after Planet of the Apes maybe that would’ve been allowed.


  44. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @89 yeah. I know the sequence of events in Silence of the Lambs, guess I was just paraphrasing. And yeah, I know why Buffalo Bill wanted to lotion up the skin (Skin Suit!) and that’s kinda creepy and stuff, but still, I find the whole thing (the movie) kinda hilarious. WHY? – – – – wait for it – – – – – – – because the acting sort of sucks in that movie. There. I said it. It’s out there. Now I feel better. Everyone not named Anthony Hopkins in that movie does kind of a bad job (just My Opinion, man) and if you don’t believe me, go back and pay close attention to Jodie Foster’s line readings (in just about any scene) and try not to chortle at her mush mouthed meanderings of dialogue and exposition. Like I said, it is kind of hilarious.

    Silence of the Lambs, just like most Best Picture Oscar winners of the last 20 years, is completely overrated.


  45. MikeK says:

    Silence of the Lambs is still better than Hannibal. :-P

    I did watch Silence of the Lambs the other day. I think most of the acting is good, but I did laugh at Buffalo Bill. His voice is hilarious.


  46. pondoscp says:

    I’m half bondo


  47. Seneca says:

    It’s funny how the “mirror world” is populated by naive and stupid people. The good guys and the bad guys all behave like they’ve been eating lead paint since childhood. Yet they have hospitals and, of all things, a space program!!! Very convenient for our stranded astronaut. Obviously our program is ahead of theirs, which makes me feel good, I guess. There’s no mention in the MST version of what happened to the other astronauts, who landed the ship, how it landed, etc. Maybe they were saving those details for future episodes.


  48. Richard the Lion-footed says:

    This is one of those experiments that I remember more fondly than it deserves.
    I agree with most of the criticisms listed above, but I actually watched this film when it was first shown (though it feels more like an ABC film than an NBC production).

    Yes it is a bleak movie, but remember that this is Watergate era, government & big business is bad, dystopia movie and bright, cheerful colors are out of place. Though it should be noted that in the 70s all walls were Navajo white and all carpets avocado green. Browns and oranges were the standard color of everything else. Just look at the ads and decorating magazines of the era.

    This is also the era when “made for TV movies” really came of age. Not quite the “mini-series” era to come, and most were junk, but “Brian’s Song” was made around this time and there was a Tuesday and Wednesday “Movie of the Week.”

    As for the references to “old things I have never seen.” These were the shows that the Joel era kids grew up watching. We grew up with three networks and maybe an independent station or two. TV was not yet geared to 12-24 year olds exclusively like it is today. Age specific ratings had not yet been established.

    As a result, if you watched a lot of TV, and Joel and I seemed to have, then you watched a lot of adult shows. “Name of the Game” was a 90 minute show each week with good writing, good acting, and Susan St. James (later of Love at First Bite & Kate and Allie – for you younger fans). It was a Friday night staple along with Wild Wild West and Bracken’s World. (anyone else remember THAT one???)

    That BTW was why I was so surprised at all the 60s era references that Josh use to make in seasons zero and one.

    @74 “For a show that always tried to avoid dating itself . . .” Where the heck did you get THAT idea? This show dates itself all the time. Sampo makes a point, in his reviews, of exposing the “then current/ now very dated references”. It is very obvious that Joel never expected this to be a “show of the ages” and would never have believed people would still be watching it in 2000, let alone 2011. They always went for the best riff at the time. Let posterity take care of itself.


  49. MitchellRowsdowerBeardsley says:

    This may have been the very first episode I taped. Yes, the movie is bland as heck, but to me that just made the riffs better. I don’t understand how people can say they like the Coleman Francis ones, but this one is ‘bland’. NOTHING IS MORE BLAND THAT COLEMAN FRANCIS!!

    and for years I was positive that the lead was none other than Ross Hagen. Did anyone else think this?


  50. Cornjob says:

    I like this episode, and the movie, for what it is, isn’t that bad. Sure, bland and slow, but they were trying. They cared. Unlike some others that could be mentioned. And yes the lead looks like Ross Hagen to me too.

    I wonder how the Perfect Order was going to deal with Guiron and the brain eating space babes


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