Synopsis by Sarah Sloboda
"In the not too distant future..." evil scientists Dr. Clayton Forrester and Frank conduct an experiment by sending unsuspecting victim Joel into orbit on a spaceship, aka "The Satellite of Love." Beguiled from any sort of entertainment, Joel (Joel Hodgson, show creator) has no choice but to watch the worst movies the scientists can find. With time on his hands, he builds companions out of parts on the ship -- robots named Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Cam-Bot (who films the show). Through the miserable screenings, Crow and Tom keep Joel company, and survive by adding their own dialogue and cynical commentary. Thus, the MST3K viewing audience avoids the perilous experience of the bad films, delights in an hysterically dense soundtrack, and relishes the moments when the silhouetted figures of Joel and the 'bots play camera tricks by interacting with the images on the screen in front of them. Every flaw in B-moviemaking is brought to light -- right down glitches in sound and bad prints -- with emphasis on plot structure, screenwriting, and performance (or, more appropriately, the lack thereof). Intermittently (to allow for commercials when the show appeared on the Sci-Fi Channel), Cam-Bot provides a break from the film viewing with sketches by Joel and the 'bots continuing the movie-mocking, television screen interactions with the evil scientists including the ritual "invention exchange," and other low-budget preposterousness. Later seasons brought episodes that replaced Joel with Mike Nelson (program writer) on the spaceship, and incorporated other characters, spacecraft, monkeys, and more into the repertoire -- all the while maintaining the film-feigning premise of the original program.