It went like this: Two mad scientists were working at the Gizmonic Institute, trying to develop a weapon for world domination. They decided that the perfect version of this weapon would allow them to drive people crazy. And they realized that there’s an extremely efficient source when it comes to crazy-driving: terrible B movies. So they launched Joel Robinson, a janitor at Gizmonic, into space with nothing but a selection of those terrible B movies to keep him company … and proceeded to test his sanity to determine his breaking point. Joel, meanwhile, built robots to keep him company in his satellitic isolation. The human and the machines end up watching the terrible B movies together.
That is the basic plot of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which ran for 12 years on a variety of networks and platforms and which is much, much better than its own B-movie-ish conceit would seem to indicate. That’s almost entirely because the janitor and his robot friends—the meta-audience for the show’s meta-movies—were witty and snarky and exactly the kind of characters you’d want to watch terrible movies with. Their running commentary on the films put before them was the star of the show, and, in that, consistently delightful.