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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 (124 votes, average: 3.84 out of 5)

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• 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. Smoothie of Great Power says:

    Like Giant Spider Invasion, this is another movie that has the dramatic potential of, “Forgetting to do a simple errand!” Though, in this case, it ends up being the downfall of the entire plan.

       2 likes

  2. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Some of the riffs got a little too political for my liking in this episode. I always found the riffs making fun of an ideology instead of individuals fall a bit flat. I’m not sure how it even makes sense to compare a technocracy to the Reagan/Bush years.

    Thankfully, those riffs are a minor nuisance. I always get a kick out of these heavy handed anti-totalitarian flicks. The Last Chase was another example. The Rifftrax version of Red Dawn was also a treat. The old-timer nostalgically remembering the past is always a treat.

    It’s people!!!

       3 likes

  3. David J says:

    Not only do I get these Film Ventures renamings mixed up, but when “Space Travelers” came out on Shout Factory DVD, I accidently deleted my downloaded version of “Stranded in Space” instead. Luckily my friend let me copy it back from his computer.

    I don’t know what “People’s Road 94” means, but I’m sure it’s related to the east-west interstate highway “I-94” which starts in Montana and goes through Minnesota all the way to Michigan.

    TV shows where the premise was to escape back home were always stuck with the issue that he protagonists couldn’t make any real progress toward their goal. They could come really close, but would always have to start all over. From “Gilligan’s Island” to “Quantum Leap” things always got repetitive. If you were lucky, they might make it back for the series finale or a follow-up made-for-TV movie. “Star Trek: Voyager” was able to pull off a better version of that formula by constantly getting closer to Earth but leaving such a ridiculously long distance that they could stretch the series out as long as they wanted until they were ready to just take a big jump home.

       3 likes

  4. Joseph Nebus says:

    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 technology.

    Nitpicking here, but wasn’t it Fotomat?

    (I have to nitpick. I still haven’t seen this episode. I’m kind of glad there’s still new MST3K for me, though.)

       9 likes

  5. Torgospizza-NJ says:

    @ #104-You’re correct…I worked at Fotomat (cir. 1987)/

    FILM VENTURES didn’t put much effort into their re-titling: “Space Travelers” (Marooned) and now “Stranded in Space” (The Stranger). I mean…he’s not stranded In Space, he’s stranded on the (parallel?) Earth!…..Hackman,Crenna & Franciscus… Now They were stranded IN space…The episode was a bit of challenge, with this limp 70’s pilot that looks like it was produced by Botany 500…taciturn actors grimacing and walking from one office to another office to another office..cue the slow car chase…helicopter stock footage…must have been hard to riff, as all of it was well photographed and professionally acted…nothing outrageously cheesy or silly, just forgettable.

       3 likes

  6. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #85: Personally, I’d say that Farscape is more of a combination of Flash Gordon and Blake’s 7.

       0 likes

  7. Bruce Boxliker says:

    You know, I always forget this episode even exists. That’s how forgettable this movie is. Like Frank says in the ACEG, it’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just there.
    I think this movie would be more watchable if it had been black & white. The unbearably bland colors just drag the entire thing down. Also, they shouldn’t have done the reveal that it’s on the other side of the sun from Earth – let you wonder through the series if he’s in the future, an alternate reality, whatever. Kinda like Planet of the Apes. Except instead of apes, you have drab boring people.

    I did like the 3rd host segment. Joel would make a great TV villain.

       2 likes

  8. senorpogo says:

    Note to myself: pack more life saving liquid.

       2 likes

  9. Lex says:

    I kind of like this one. I guess it’s because I like science fiction and the guy was the same actor who played Zephram Cochran on Star Trek. Who doesn’t like the 70s cars? I half expected an El Camino to drive by playing some Foghat on the stereo. It’s a good episode and has one of those classic, classic Film Ventures International credit sequences. :)

       2 likes

  10. schippers says:

    I won’t argue that this movie/pilot is bland as white bread. I like it anyway, mainly because of the EXTREMELY goofy premise. One can (sort of) suspend disbelief about a planet orbiting on the far side of the Sun, and therefore totally unknown to us. Sure, okay – it doesn’t hold up, but I can let it go. But then to suggest, as I belief Professor Drug Addict does at one point, that physically similar planets produced parallel organisms, including intelligent hominids, which then went on a parallel social development, EXCEPT for the part where they fell in bed with Big Brother… BAM, that’s 100 pounds of stupid slamming into the audience. H.G. Wells remarked once that, for science fiction to work, you can only accommodate ONE stretch of the truth – the rest of the scenario has to more or less accord with accepted reality. If that’s true, and I think it is more often than not, then what the filmmakers/pilotmakers ought to have done is have Glenn get zapped into a parallel dimension. They coulda beat Prisoners of the Lost Universe to similar territory.

       2 likes

  11. JeremyR says:

    When I first watched this episode, I had a feeling of Deja Vu. I kept thinking i had seen the movie before, but apparently I had actually seen a movie with a similar premise, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun (aka Doppleganger), which has basically the same exact premise, but is more subtle – the second planet is almost literally the same as Earth, only more like Through a Looking Glass…

       2 likes

  12. Cornjob says:

    Being a big fan of Resevior Dogs I like the “Stuck in the middle with you” riff near the end.

       1 likes

  13. Thom Sirveaux says:

    Consideribg that most of this movie takes place on Terra, would a better title have been “Stranded on Terra”?

       2 likes

  14. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #72

    It’s less a question of a signature role than of a notable role.

    Studying the aforementioned IMDB listing, I see that Cameron Mitchell appeared on at TV series throughout almost the entirety of the 1970s and 1980s (including four that were name-checked in Host Segment #3: “Petrocelli,” “Quincy M.E.,” “Mrs. Columbo,” and “Matt Houston”; other notables include “Mod Squad,” “McCloud,” “McMillan and Wife,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Magician,” “Ironside,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Bronk,” “Hunter” (not that “Hunter,” the other “Hunter”), “Hawaii Five-O,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “Knight Rider,” “Hardcastle and McCormick,” “The Fall Guy,” “Simon and Simon,” and “Matlock”). He starred in “The Beachcomber,” “The High Chaparral,” and “Swiss Family Robinson,” shows that I’m sure at least one or another of the Brains would have been familiar with.

    He was a staple of 1980s Action films, perhaps second only to Richard Lynch (or perhaps not). He was in “The Swarm,” generally recognized as one of THE worst 1970s Disaster films. He was in “Frankenstein Island,” arguably the magnum opus of “Wild, Wild World of Batwoman”‘s Jerry Warren (Warren’s “Plan 9,” if you will). He was the villain in “Supersonic Man,” the “Pumaman” before there was a “Pumaman.” He was the killer in “The Toolbox Murders,” an infamous slasher film and “Video Nasty.” He the leader of The Kill Squad, a Slaver, a Reluctant Hero, a Rebel Rouser, one of The Last of the Vikings, an Outcast of Poker Flat.

    He was in “Flight to Mars” and “Death in Space” and “Mutant War.” He was in “Viva Knievel” and “Ninja Assassins” and “Kung Fu Cannibals.” He was in “The Robe” and “Death of a Salesman” and “Gorilla at Large.” He was in WWII films, he was in Western films, he was in Horror films, Rape-and-Revenge films, Historic Epic films, he was in at least three Blaxploitation films and at least one Giallo film, he was, cripes, he was *everywhere*, he did *everything”, he was…he was That Guy.

    The problem is, he didn’t do any of it with a big white BEARD, and in “Space Mutiny,” the Brains just couldn’t get past that beard.

    Why the Brains mostly ignored *Donald Pleasence*’s past roles in “Pumaman,” well, THAT I’ve not one clue about. Seriously, not even Blofeld or Dr. Loomis?

    “God, I wish my cat were here. Petting him was so therapeutic.”

    “I prayed that the Pumaman would burn in Hell, but in my heart, I knew that Hell would not have him!”

    Oh well.

    ***

    Cameron Mitchell was also in something called “Hateman” (although apparently not the title role), which I now seek to learn more about, because it’s hard to believe that a film with a title like that ISN’T about a super-hero/vigilante of some sort, and that’s a particular interest of mine.

       1 likes

  15. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Turns out “Hateman” is just another rape-and-revenge film. Oh well.

    ***

    “Watch the plunger on the TNT prop as Frank presses down. They keep going. JEF!!”

    What means “JEF”?

    #14 (and others)
    I think what makes it forgettable to some is that, although it’s a science fiction film, there’s not much flashy science fiction stuff in it. I mean, there’s the basic premise, and the moons, but not much else stood out. Not unlike some episodes of “Sliders” or most episodes of “Quantum Leap.” Sure, science fiction was involved in GETTING the characters to each week’s universe/era, but…

    #59 & #77
    I think that seventies furniture was drab to contrast the brightly colored clothing. Maybe the loud vibrant “what were they thinking?” outfits drained the color from the surroundings.

    #83 (and other references to the scientifically preposterous premise)
    Yet only two years later, “Space: 1999” would prove that a scientifically preposterous premise was no barrier to moderate success.

    #89
    “so her skin remained smooth and silky baby soft so it was in good condition when he would kill and SKIN her”

    Not necessarily in that order…

       0 likes

  16. thequietman says:

    Before I watched this episode again this week, the only thing I remembered was the “shooting gallery” premise from the opening. I did enjoy the “70s TV villain” segment. It’s just one of those times when everyone looks like they’re having fun.

    But yeah, the movie itself is so forgettable I thought I’d seen this on an local Pittsburgh horror host show called “It’s Alive!” instead of MST3K. This riff made me laugh though:

    Bookseller: You’ll find no obscene reading material in THIS shop.
    Crow: Then what’s the point?

       1 likes

  17. Keith in WI says:

    #115

    Regarding the “JEF” comment, I am assuming that the poster is referring to Toolmaster Jef Maynard, who was most likely involved with the creation of the props. Since it breaks, he is called out for the poor execution of the prop.

    Not much else to say about this episode. The premise of the show is not so horrible but the execution is handled so poorly, from the lack of imagination in set design (with the possible exception of Ward E, but even that is pretty meager), to the wooden acting, to an environment that is in no way indicative of an alien world, that the show/movie leaves the viewer completely uninterested. If one were to tune in to this show mid stream, there would be no way to determine that this was supposed to be taking place on a planet other than Earth. Maybe that was the point, but then how is it any different from “The Fugitive?” I think I am expecting too much from a made-for-TV movie from the early 70s, but I guess that is why it just fills a two hour time slot, and does little else.

    I think that might be a decent Weekend Discussion Topic, what MSTied movies had decent premises, but were so horribly butchered by the production, acting, script, or other factors, that the end result is a huge stinkburger? So you hear the basic storyline and think, “That sounds like an interesting concept for a movie,” but when you tune in you see the catastrophe that is a film that without the company of Joel/Mike and the bots, is utterly unwatchable. I am not sure that this one fits in that category, but there are other films that have been featured that might have been decent with some significant modifications.

       2 likes

  18. JCC says:

    #114 – Were there any Blofeld/Loomis riffs in Warrior of the Lost World?

       0 likes

  19. GornCaptain says:

    Fotomat booths faded away long before digital cameras became common, thanks to drug store chains and Walmart offering on site one hour film processing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fotomat

       1 likes

  20. Thomas K. Dye says:

    #117:

    So you hear the basic storyline and think, “That sounds like an interesting concept for a movie,” but when you tune in you see the catastrophe that is a film that without the company of Joel/Mike and the bots, is utterly unwatchable.

    Oddly enough, I think “Manos” almost fits the category. There’s more that could have been done with the “alternate hellworld” idea and I absolutely love the twist, “I am Michael. I take care of the place while the Master is away.” Unfortunately the rest of it is such a train wreck that the twist is completely ignored.

       0 likes

  21. crowschmo says:

    I’ll have to watch this again. Wow. I commented on this in 2011 and don’t remember a dang thing about it! ?:-)

       1 likes

  22. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #118

    I don’t recall. If there weren’t, then, again, it seems as if there should have been. Prosser and Kobras were both basically second-rate Blofelds. Pleasence played similar villains in several other movies, too.

    Discussing “Space Mutiny” made me think of “Pumaman” rather than of “Warrior of,” though.

       0 likes

  23. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Upon reflection, the TV Villain segment had the potential to be an outright Cameron Mitchell reference since he, as noted, appeared in so many crime TV series, often as a villain. But I dunno.

    BTW, I’m guessing that my mention of Supersonic Man intrigued at least a few correspondents. As with Pumaman, we have a Spanish/Italian co-production about a super-hero empowered by aliens (although he’s an alien himself, not just a descendant of aliens) who squares off against a longtime character actor trying to conquer the world. He even attacks underlings in a vehicle, like Pumaman did, and more underlings decline to shoot him when they have the perfect chance to do so, just like with Pumaman. He wears actual tights AND a mask, though, so there’s that. Bizarrely, the villain, like Phantom of Krankor, is also after a special fuel that will enhance his already technologically advanced forces. Supersonic Man’s civilian name is Paul, meaning that he would’ve fit in quite well during Season Nine. It’s been tackled by Rifftrax, but it’s almost as if it was *already* a MST3K episode. ;-)

       1 likes

  24. mnenoch says:

    test

       0 likes

  25. mnenoch says:

    Whoops! (See above post)

    I haven’t seen this episode many times, in fact this time is only the second time I’ve ever watched it so I didn’t remember a whole lot of it going in.

    I really like the opening bit even with the extra plot explanations, I like the shooting gallery Tom and Crow. The fake gun gag is pretty fun for the invention exchange. I really like the sketch where Joel is playing the villain and all the phrases for killing someone. It cracks me up when Tom and Crow both get things confused.

    As for the movie, I really didn’t remember anything about it before hand and even as I’m typing (I just finished watching 5 minutes ago) it’s already starting to fade pretty quick. I do like how every time the movie is fixing to go to a commercial break the guys get up and start to leave the theater. Crows constant reference to Silence of the Lambs and him preemptively getting out of the way before Joel breaks something is great as well.

    Overall a middling type episode to me. Not great and not horrible. In fact I’ll probably rate it better after I’ve seen it some more.

       1 likes

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