The hit television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 ran from 1988-1999, creating eleven seasons, 197 episodes, 1 movie and several holiday / award show specials. It started out on KTMV in 1988 and ran for 1 season, known as its ‘Zero Season’, before the channel went bankrupt, prompting the newly created Comedy Central to pick up the show for seven more seasons. The Sci-Fi Channel picked up for the show for its final three seasons before the iconic series came to an official end in 1999.
The first host of the show, Joel Robinson (real name Joel Hodgson), left in the middle of the fifth season. Michael J. Nelson, the head writer for the show took his place and remained the host until the series ended.
The final episode of the show revolved around the host, Mike Nelson, and the robots; Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy and Cambot watching their final bad movie known as ‘Diabolik’. As the film ran their ship, the ‘Satellite of Love’ began falling from its geosynchronous orbit around the Earth and re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Mike and the robots, were excited about finally being able to get to Earth and be free of the mad scientific experiments and their emotions were upbeat and excited.
After the movie in the theater ended Mike and the robots were on the bridge of the satellite trying to take control of their failing ship, but could only brace themselves for the inevitable crash landing.
In the final segment it is shown that Mike and the robots survived the crash unscathed. Mike returned to his apartment with Crow and Tom Servo, while Gypsy and Cambot went on their own way. Mike is in his kitchen making a snack while Crow and Tom Servo are in the living room talking about their lucky escape from the crash. It ends with the three friends sitting down to watch another bad movie together, the movie was the first one riffed when the show debuted on Comedy Central.
A deleted scene from this segment showed a darker, more realistic outcome of the crash. The satellite had broken apart upon its fiery re-entry and crash landed in a open field in the Midwestern United States. The burning wreckage smoldered into a heap of ash and twisted metal as the sun began setting in the distance. There was no sign of Mike or the robots as the scene continued to play out.
From the left of the screen a red pick-up trucked pulled up the scene of the crash and Joel Robinson approached the burning satellite. The camera stayed fixed at a distance as Joel climbed inside the labyrinthine smoking ship and began digging for the survivors. He returned on screen, his face covered in soot with a burned and mangled Crow and Gypsy under his arms. He carried the robots to his truck bed before going back inside. He reappeared again with Tom Servo and Cambot, just as damaged as their colleagues, and he placed them in the back of the truck, too. Joel went back inside the ship for the final time and managed to pull out Mike’s broken, battered body. Mike’s blue jumpsuit was torn, burned and bloodied. It was also evident that Mike was missing his right arm, easily severed in the crash.
The camera didn’t zoom in or change angle on the unexpectedly dark moment. Joel dragged Mike’s body away from the crash site and laid him down next to the truck. He leaned down and pressed his ear to Mike’s chest and leaned back on his knees slowly. It was eerily silent, with only the crackling of the dying fire in the air.
After a while Joel said out loud in a very flat, cold tone. “I can bring him back.”
The scene faded to black and faded into the scene with Mike and the robots in his apartment. Mike is in the kitchen working on something over his kitchen counter. The camera shows a close up on Mike’s arm, which is now mechanical, while Mike uses a screwdriver to make some kind of adjustment to its interior workings. There is a small metallic plaque welded into the interior of the mechanical limb with the words: ‘I gave you Five years. – Joel’. Mike reads the words with sadness in his eyes before closing the panel on his otherwise normal looking arm.
The microwave beeps and Mike pulls his sleeve back down over his prosthetic limb. The robots and Mike resume their conversation as seen in the final cut before the show rolls the credits for the final time.