Satellite News - Season "Zero" Episode Guide


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Featuring the observations and annotations of Joe "Average Joe" Barlow.


This half-hour dry-run pilot featured riffing on only a portion of the movie and some rudimentary host segments. It was never shown on television and no fan copy is known to exist. However, the primitive "door sequence" and what appears to be the opening host segment, is featured in the MST3K Scrapbook tape, once sold by Best Brains, and it the pilot in its entirety was shown by Joel Hodgson at a convention appeareance.


First shown: 11/24/88.

No fan copy is known to exist.


First shown: 11/24/88.

No fan copy is known to exist.


First shown: 11/27/88.

No fan copy is known to exist.


First shown: 12/4/88
Opening: Joel introduces the movie and plays a message from a happy caller.
Host segment 1: J&TB listen to messages from two more viewers. The first caller is angry about the "constant interruptions" (i.e, the riffing), but the second caller wants "More! More! More!" This segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
Host segment 2: Gypsy gets upset when a caller asks for "less movie, more chapstick" (presumably, he meant to say "slapstick"). The crew promises to use more chapstick in the future, and Joel offers Gypsy a choice between regular and wintergreen.
Host segment 3: Crow explains the best ways to keep various body orifices clean and healthy. "Never put anything in your ear larger than a pirate!"
End: Servo and Crow make prank phone calls to Domino's Pizza and Dan Quayle. Crow explains several uses for doggie-doo, and Joel invites viewers to call in with their comments.
Special Notes: This is the earliest KTMA episode that has been "found" by fans, and it's quite different from the later shows. The Mads have not yet appeared, and Josh's Servo speaks with a high-pitched "Kermit the Frog"-type squeak, very different from the laconic "seen-it done-it" voice he later adopted for the character.


First shown: 12/11/88.
Opening: It's Christmas time on the Satellite of Love. Crow volunteers to be cryogenically frozen and turned into a Christmas tree.
Host segment 1: Joel ponders using Servo as a snowman lawn-ornament next Christmas. A caller demands to know who does Joel's hair, and Joel invites the caller to watch the end credits.
Host segment 2: A caller asks Joel why he doesn't hire Godzilla to appear on the show. Gypsy agrees to impersonate Godzilla, after some coaxing from Joel. Viewers are invited to participate in a Ted Turner phone survey.
Host segment 3: Joel and Servo listen to more fan messages. One caller expresses his fondness for "giant turtles who breathe fire and sh*t".J&TB debate whether the film's fight scenes look fake or not.
End: Joel thanks everyone for calling in, and re-runs the footage of Crow getting frozen. Gypsy thinks Crow "isn't really beautiful", but sings a holiday song with Joel anyway.
Special Notes: Joel watches the film by himself; as such, this episode contains what may be the poorest riffing in MST3K's rich history. It's not uncommon for poor Joel to go more than two minutes without making a single joke. Although Servo appears in the host segments, he does not join Joel in the theater. This is never explained. Trace was reportedly out of town during the shooting of this episode, which is why the "Christmas tree gag" was invented.


First shown: 12/18/88.
Opening: Crow is still frozen (see previous show). A caller complains about the Gamera movies; Joel apologises but says there's nothing he can do. He shows a picture of the Mads, and explains that they choose the movies.
Host segment 1: Servo hits puberty and develops a new "DYNAMIC MIGHTY VOICE!" (Portions of this skit appear on the MST3K Scrapbook tape).
Host segment 2: Gypsy wants a new voice too, but Joel thinks she sounds like Kim Carnes and is therefore sexy. A caller asks Joel to unfreeze Crow, and Gypsy eats the shiny spagetti (tinsel) that Joel decorated with.
Host segment 3: A young viewer invitesJ&TB to his birthday party. They can't make it, so Servo sends special birthday wishes. He goes off on a tangent. And keeps going. And going.
End: With his new MIGHTY VOICE, Servo talks about the upcoming New Year's edition of MST3K. Crow's still frozen as the episode ends.
Special Notes: With the exception of the theme song, this show contains the first mention of the Mads. Joel informs the world that the Mads send him the movies, although this contradicts what he said in the opening segment of episode K05- GAMERA. (In that episode, Joel said that he "raided the movie library" and found "the original Gamera," giving the impression that he, Joel, decided what movies they watch.) Servo is back in the theater for this episode; his absence in episode K05- GAMERA is never explained. Interestingly, Servo sits in Crow's seat rather than his own.


First shown: 12/31/88 (New Year's Eve).
Opening: Joel and Servo unfreeze Crow, and Servo greets him with his NEW DYNAMIC MIGHTY VOICE! (See previous show.) Crow isn't pleased at having been frozen.
Host segment 1: J&TB receive their first transmission from the Mads. "Is it true what they say about space?" they sneer; "No one can hear you laugh?" They invite Joel back to Earth for an underwater experiment, but Joel politely declines. (This scene is included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)
Host segment 2: Joel is depressed, despite the fact that Gypsy loves him. Cambot plays some messages from callers to cheer him up, and they do, a little. Gypsy is surprised that many of the calls are about her. The last call goes too far, however.
Host segment 3: J&TB make their New Year's resolutions. Crow: "I just want world peace, and my own apartment." They count down the last ten seconds of 1988 before movie sign intervenes.
End: J&TB review the movie. Servo: "I laughed. I cried. I cried a LOT." Joel talks about next week's film, "Gamera Vs. Guiron."
Special Notes: This episode contains the first appearance of the Mads as speaking characters. Also, the "countdown to 1989" that the cast performs during the third host segment was real; this episode first aired on New Year's Eve, and midnight came right around that part of the show. The footage of Josh Weinstein performing stand-up comedy in host segment 1 came from the "KTMA Melon Drop," a KTMA-produced New Year's Eve special starring Kevin Murphy (as news reporter "Bob Bagadonuts") which aired immediately prior to this episode of MST3K.


First shown: 1/8/89.
Opening: The Mads are out of bad movies, and must choose between sending the Satellite of Love "Star Wars" or "Jaws." At the last minute, though, Dr. Erhardt finds another Gamera film. Crow: "With all my parts, I could've made an excellent vacuum-cleaner. Instead, it's the movies that suck!"
Host segment 1: Crow gets conked in the head and dreams that he controls the experiment while the Mads are trapped in space! He sends them "A Planet of the Apes Christmas" again and again and again...
Host segment 2: Crow tells Joel and Servo about his dream from the previous host segment. Servo and Crow discuss other dreams they've had, with Servo's being particularly vivid.
Host segment 3: Joel tells the Bots about his dreams. "Sometimes I dream I'm a crane operator. Other times I'm standing in line for Metallica tickets..."
J&TB perform a song about the Satellite of Love. Gypsy really gets into it, and Joel promises that there won't be any more Gamera films.
Special Notes: This was the first show of 1989, and featured the last Gamera film of the KTMA series. For the first time ever, J&TB did not listen to any viewer calls. There's also a tiny continuity error: at the end of episode K07- GAMERA VS. ZIGRA, Joel announced the name of this week's film; however, everyone seems shocked by the fact that they're doing another Gamera movie this week!


First shown: 1/15/89.
Opening: Lacking the $30,000 they need to continue experimenting on Joel, the Mads sell his car to raise some short-term cash. Joel reveals that he had $30,000 hidden inside it. The Mads, furious, retaliate by sending him "the ANT movie!"
Host segment 1: Joel instructs Servo and Crow on Isaac Asimov's robotic laws. The Bots don't like them, and make up some laws of their own. Servo: "Never hollow out a robot and make a fort out of him."
Host segment 2: J&TB discuss the first thing they plan to do when they get to Earth. (Crow: "I'm going to kill Sandy Frank." Servo: "Well, that's a given.") Joel wants to turn off his water, which he accidentally left running.
Host segment 3: The crew of the SoL enjoy a game of "I Spy," which quickly and inexplicably degenerates into a performance of "Wipeout." Since he's the only one with working arms, Joel takes the drum solo. Mercifully, movie sign intervenes.
End: Joel programs Crow and Gypsy to recite a new robotic law. It takes a *really* long time to say, and the credits roll long before they're done.
Special Notes: This episode is the first to feature a non-Gamera movie (except KTMAs 1-3, which have not yet been found by the fans). A theater clip from this episode was included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.


First shown: 1/22/89.
Opening: It's Superbowl Sunday! The Mads show off their "no-d" glasses, which are 3-d glasses with one lens removed. Dr. Erhardt: "Look, I can only see length!"
Host segment 1: Crow's barbershop is open for business, and Joel is the first customer. They discuss "that black Carson, Arsenio Hall" and other hot topics of the day. [This segment was later re-shot in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES.]
Host segment 2: In order to disprove the theory of evolution, Servo teaches himself to fly. He literally loses his head.
Host segment 3: The Bots help Joel with his taxes. It goes pretty well until Crow and Servo discover they're being claimed as "business expenses." Crow: "Maybe we should be wearing ties and demanding maintenance contracts!"
End: The crew of the SoL play a game of football, and Gypsy and Joel duet on "We Are the Champions." The whole thing degenerates into a tickle fight as the credits roll. A portion of this scene was included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.
Special Notes: This episode originally aired on Superbowl Sunday 1989, which explains the first and final host segment's obsession with football.
During one of the commercial breaks, Trace Beaulieu and Josh Weinstein appeared, as the Mads, in a commercial for a Twin Cities restaurant entitled Pizza and Pasta, one of MST3K's first sponsors. The commercial still exists on many fan-copies of this episode.
Servo's head comes off for the first time in this episode (during host segment 2). It appears to be accidental, but the cast covered it pretty well.
This episode also marks the first time the show used a movie that was actually two TV shows loosely spliced together. In this case it was two episodes of "Space: 1999." The concept would later reappear on Comedy Central with the "Master Ninja" episodes and on The Sci-Fi Channel with the movie "Riding With Death."


First shown: 1/29/89.
Opening: The Mads are shocked to learn that last week's ratings were the highest ever, a discovery that makes them furious. Dr. F: "What do you expect? We're mad scientists!"
Host segment 1: J&TB enjoy a game of tag, which continues all the way into the theater. [This segment was later re-shot in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES.]
Host segment 2: Servo falls in love with Joel's new blender, but the courtship turns sour when Joel drinks from Servo's girl. Undeterred, Servo flirts with the coffeemaker. [This segment was later recycled, almost word-for-word, in episode 103- MAD MONSTER.]
Host segment 3: In a tribute to Salvador Dali, J&TB practice surrealism. [A similar sketch re-appeared in episode 107- ROBOT MONSTER.]
End: Servo and Joel discuss the Village People. Servo: "I read one of those 'Where are they now?' articles. Turns out one of them's a contruction worker, one of them's a police officer..." The crew ends the show with a "Dating Game"-style goodbye kiss.
Special Notes: In host segment 1, after movie sign is announced, the Bots chase Joel all the way down the corridor leading into the movie theater. It's a neat visual, and one of the few times any special effects were used during the doorway sequence. During the ending segment, Crow discusses what he plans to do in the upcoming week. This segment feels improvised, and it's one of the few times in MST3K's history in which Trace can't think of anything funny to say. It's almost painful to hear him bluff his way through. Three of the host segments from this film were later re-used in Season One shows, making this one of the most heavily-plundered KTMA episodes.


First shown: 2/5/89.
Opening: Dr. Forrester is attending a Mad Scientists' Convention in Las Vegas, leaving Erhardt in charge of the experiment. On the SoL, Joel sings the "Fugitive Alien" theme song, in honor of today's movie. Servo is less than impressed by Joel's singing.
Host segment 1: Crow is missing, and Joel discovers that Servo and Gypsy have disassembelled him. Joel is not pleased, and asks them to put Crow back together. Gypsy: "I just hope we can find his spine!"
Host segment 2: Ever notice how you never see certain celebrities in the same room together, like Michael Jackson and Diana Ross? Could they be the same person? Joel and Servo debate the issue.
Host segment 3: Joel hosts a robot dance competition as Gypsy and Servo boogie down to "YMCA." Servo: "I can't stop the music! I got it in me, Joel!" Servo later pronounces this host segment "the stupidest thing we've ever done."
Joel announces the formation of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan club. Servo thanks everyone for all the nice "cards and leathers" [sic] they've sent it.
Special Notes: Trace is absent once again; hence, no Dr. Forrester or Crow. This marks Trace's third absence in only twelve episodes. Joel and Servo watch the movie alone, and once again Servo sits in Crow's seat (as he did in episode K06- GAMERA VS. GAOS). Although he does not appear in the episode, Trace is still listed as a writer, puppeteer and "mad scientist" in the end credits.


First shown: 2/19/89.
Opening: Dr. Forrester is back from Vegas, and he's brought lots of strange presents for Dr. Erhardt, including this week's movie. For no particular reason, Joel performs a spit-take. [Some similar material was used in a segment in episode 105- THE CORPSE VANISHES].
Host segment 1: Joel tries to disprove the theory that robots can't feel physical pain by administering electrical shocks to Servo. (Servo: "You can fill my head with gummi bears, but I won't talk!")
Host segment 2: Gypsy has a cold, which makes her voice sexy and seductive. She does a Marilyn Monroe impression for a very puzzled Joel.
Host segment 3: It's limbo-mania on the Satellite of Love! Joel, Crow and Gypsy participate while Servo sings "The Banana Boat Song."
Servo and Crow read fan mail from "the babes." Servo invites viewers to write in with their favorite pizza toppings, much to Joel's chagrin.
Special Notes: Portions of the theater segments were included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape. Also, prior to the opening theme song, there is a "bonus" host segment in which J&TB perform the "SST Death Flight Theme Song." This episode marks the first time the crew of the SoL read letters from viewers (as opposed to listening to phone calls).


First shown: 3/5/89.
Opening: Forrester and Erhardt try to figure out if they're really mad scientists, or just angry.
Host segment 1: As a practical joke, Servo, Crow and Gypsy weld themselves together. Joel isn't amused. The Bots dash off-screen, put on women's clothing, then return. (Joel: "I feel like Benny Hill.")
Host segment 2: The Bots discuss the concept of humor, and wonder if murdering Joel would be funny.
Host segment 3: After the Bots refuse to play any games with him, Joel gets depressed. (Joel: "Next time, no free will.") Joel pouts until movie sign rolls around.
End: Crow reads a fan letter praising Servo, after which Joel reads an anti-Servo letter. Servo reads a fan letter from "Amy, the MAGNIFICENT PAGAN SHE-BEAST," and gets very, very excited as he does so.
Special Notes: Host segment 2 is exceedingly dark, much more so than the show's usual lighthearted tone.
One of the fan letters refers to the part of "SST Death Flight" in which Servo says "His eye needs some air." This line was actually said by Crow, but no one corrects the viewer's error.
Also, during Host segment 1, Joel "accidentally" drops a pencil, then bends down (out of shot) to pick it up. For a moment, no one is in the frame... then Joel pops back up. This was done simply so that the editors could cleanly cut the action, allowing the cast to dress the robots up in women's clothing before resuming the scene.


First shown: 3/12/89.
Opening: Servo talks the Mads into bringing the crew of the SoL back down to Earth; naturally, Crow ruins everything.
Host segment 1: A repeat of host segment 1, from episode K13- SST DEATH FLIGHT, in which Joel helps Servo experience pain.
Host segment 2: Joel turns into a tyrant, and rules the ship with an iron fist. The Bots retaliate by quoting lots of old movies. Crow and Gypsy re-enact the ending of "Casablanca," though Gypsy has no idea where Paris is.
Host segment 3: A tender montage of Servo's favorite moments aboard the SoL, as Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" plays underneath.
End: With Tom in Sick Bay, Joel and Crow check out some artwork they got from a viewer.
Special Notes: This episode appears to be a tip-of-the-hat to "Family Ties" and similar shows, in which old clips were commonly used as "flashbacks." (See the entry for episode 209- THE HELLCATS in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide.) Only one host segment was a true repeat, but the others were made to look like they were. The framing story: Servo is supposedly writing a letter to his uncle, describing all the crazy antics of the crew.
Joel smokes a cigarette during the second host segment. This is one of the few times we see a lit cigarette during the entire history of MST3K.
For as long as MSTies have been collecting episodes, the only known existing copy this one was missing the final host segment. That changed in October, 2004, when the missing final segment came to light. Longtime and devoted MSTies Lee Lovingood and Michael Slusher have managed to locate the missing segment in the possession of a Minnesota woman named Teresa Dietzinger. A fan of the show since those KTMA days, she was one of the first fan club members, and sent some artwork in to the show--which was then featured in that final host segment. She managed to tape the episode and held on to the tape for 16 years. Although her father long ago taped over the rest of the episode with family footage and such, the final host segment remained intact. You can check out screen shots and a transcription of the segment here.


First shown: 3/19/89.
Opening: The Mads get a letter informing them that their grant money has been terminated, because they no longer qualify as mad scientists... merely "mildly peeved researchers."
Host segment 1: Servo and Crow trick Joel into looking into a phony telescope, which leaves him with a black eye. (This segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)
Host segment 2:
Joel invents a new anti-theft device for purses, called "Hell in a Hand Bag." Joel demonstrates it on Crow, much to Servo's delight. [The "Hell in a Handbag" invention would later be re-used in episode 103- MAD MONSTER.]
Host segment 3:
J&TB perform a military-style song, which seems to have little purpose other than reminding the Bots how great Joel is. [A portion of this segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape, and also appeared in the Comedy Central special "This is MST 3K."]
End: Gypsy informs Joel and Crow that she's spent the entire day designing newsletters. Joel displays Gypsy's creations: the Satellite News, the Fan Club Certificate (suitable for framing) and the Fan Club Membership Card. Joel points out that they are available by writing to the MST3K Fan Club.
Special Notes: This film has probably the largest number of recognizable faces of any MST3K experiment: look for Henry Fonda, Ava Gardner, Shelley Winters, James Franciscus, Leslie Nielsen, and many others.
A portion of the legendary "Good morning!" theater segment is included on the MST3K Scrapbook tape, as is the hospital birthing scene.
A commercial advertising Joel Hodgson's stand-up comedy act aired during the original broadcast of this episode, and still exists in many fan copies.


First shown: 4/2/89.
Opening: The Mads can't reach Joel... all their transmissions are intercepted by Servo and Crow. So where's Joel?
Host segment 1: Crow, Gypsy and Servo search for Joel, but find only his uniform. Does that mean he's floating naked out in space? Sadly, yes. Servo: "Quick! Get the telescope!"
Host segment 2: Realizing that Joel is locked out of the ship, Crow and Servo debate whether they should let him back in. They discuss several new privilages they'd like to receive as a reward for doing so, but movie sign intervenes before they actually bother to open the pod bay doors.
Host segment 3: Cambot fools Crow into thinking that Joel is back on the ship, but it's just a joke. Things then get pretty surreal, as Servo demonstrates various ways that fantasy can be made to look real.
Joel floats naked outside the Satellite of Love, as Crow and Servo discuss their new Joel-less life together.
Special Notes: This is the only MST3K episode that does not feature a human character aboard the Satellite of Love. Joel had to go out of town, so the episode was shot without him; therefore, Servo and Crow watch the movie alone. (Note that Crow sits in Joel's seat.)
Joel is listed as both "star" and co-writer in the end credits, despite the fact that he did not appear in or do any writing for this particular episode.


First shown: 5/7/89.
Opening: Joel, who was trapped outside by the Bots in episode 17, gets back inside the ship with some help from the Mads. Joel is a little upset, and the Bots apologize, sort of.
Host segment 1: Joel disciplines the Bots for locking him out of the ship. Servo and Crow retaliate by locking up Gypsy.
Host segment 2:
J&TB host a game show, though their fact-checking skills appear to be weak. ("Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?" "The Blue Ridge Mountains!")
Host segment 3:
MST3K Unplugged! J&TB perform an acoustic version of the show's theme song.
End: Servo's mouth is broken, so Joel moves it for him when he needs to talk. The fan club address is read, and Joel announces that nearly 900 people have signed up so far.
Special Notes: Servo only watches the first half of the movie with Joel and Crow, opting instead to "bake muffins." Presumedly Josh had to be somewhere else that day.
Also, the episode never explains how Servo's mouth got broken.
Apart from the show's opening credits, host segment 2 is the last time we see Gypsy in the KTMA era.

K19- HANGAR 18

First shown: 5/14/89.
Opening: Joel introduces the film, and then it's movie sign! This is one the shortest host segments ever--right up there with "Waffles!".
Host segment 1: A meteor shower is about to strike the Satellite of Love! Joel explains the tragic consequences if the hull is punctured and the ship loses its oxygen: "No more Kibbles n' Bots, and no mid-morning pleasure stimulations!" Crow tells him to lighten up. (This segment appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)
Host segment 2: Joel purges Crow's memory, dumping all non-essential rememberences. "Every PUNKY BREWSTER episode? Dump! The LYLE WAGNER PENILE IMPLANT SHOW? Dump!"
Host segment 3: Joel taps into Crow's brain, and shows him his first memory--the moment when he was first turned on. In the bit, Joel explains that "CROW" is actually an acronym, which stands for "Cybernetic Remotely-Operated Woman." Crow, alarmed to discover that he's really female, begins to panic ("THIRTYSOMETHING is on! I need some chocolate!") until Joel reveals it's all a joke. (This skit appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)
End: Joel announces that there are nearly 1,000 members in the fan club now, and the 1,000th member will win "self satisfaction and a demon dog!"
Special Notes: The first host segment's "meteor shower" plotline is vaguely reminiscent of the legendary "meteor shower" scene in MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: THE MOVIE, which was regrettably cut at Gramercy's insistence.


First shown: 5/21/89.
Opening: Dr. Forrester succeeds in creating cold fusion... in Dr. Erhardt's mouth! Forrester whips out his straw and partakes of the juices running from his partner's gaping maw. Disappointed with the results, they send Joel the movie.
Host segment 1: Crow and Servo receive their weekly humanity lesson from Joel. "Lesson #1: Always say 'please' and 'thank you,' even if you don't really mean it." Things degenerate from there.
Host segment 2: The 1,000th fan club member has signed up: Ms. Gidget Howell! Joel reads a nice letter from her, and demonstrates the proper way to wear the hat she'll receive as a prize.
Host segment 3:
Servo reads a fan letter from "Bobby Hodges." The spelling is quite bad, prompting Joel to quip, "Bobby must be a freshman at the University of Minnesota."
End: Another fan letter, this one comparing MST3K (favorably) to other "kiddie shows" of by-gone days.
Special Notes: Trace is trying desperately hard not to laugh during the opening host segment; watching him struggle is at least as entertaining as the skit itself.
After the opening segment's cold fusion experiment, we see the doorway sequence and the start of the film, without having first seen J&TB. This is the only time (to the best of my knowledge) in which we see the preliminary theater doorway sequence before we see the crew of the Satellite of Love.


First shown: 5/28/89.
Opening: Taking their cue from the "Paul McCartney is Dead" hoax of the late '60s, the Mads start a "Joel is Dead" rumor. They make a pretty decent case, quite honestly.
Host segment 1: Joel demonstrates the way special effects can be used to make a person look really small. A little boy visits the Satellite of Love and shakes Joel like a rag doll.
Host segment 2:
J&TB put on a wacky sitcom, complete with laugh track, canned applause, and groaningly bad jokes. (This clip appears on the MST3K Scrapbook tape.)
Host segment 3:
To prepare the Bots for the film's upcoming dinosaur action scene, Joel shows off his model lizard, which breathes real fire. The Bots are underwhelmed. (The model would be re-used as an invention exchange in episode 103- MAD MONSTER.)
End: Summer's coming up, and that means MST3K is going on hiatus! J&TB discuss what they plan to do until the show starts up again. Servo: "I'm gonna fill my head with cocoa butter and surf till I drop!"
Special Notes: Host segments 1 and 3 were apparently aired in the wrong order: in host segment 1, Joel refers to their "earlier" segment about the dinosaur... it's pretty obvious he's referring to host segment 3. Oops.
This was the final KTMA episode, though the last host segment makes it clear that the cast and crew expected to return to KTMA after a summer break. Fortunately for them (and us), they had a larger destiny in store for them.