KTMA. Deserving of Watching?

As someone who hasn’t sat down to watch the KTMA episodes completely, I’ve not decided what I think. Give me your view? Are they worth watching? How do they fare against the Comedy Central, Sci-Fi, or Netflix episodes? Obviously they’re rougher and not as fully developed and the riffs aren’t as on-point. These are guesses though. I don’t know. Fill me in. Why are they important and worth seeking out? Thanks.

P.S. When I typed this, this page did not prompt any preexisting KTMA topic until after I finished writing this. I now see another KTMA thread exists but I’ll go ahead and post this since I feel the question is important and my point varies enough from the other one.


I have tried to get through the KTMA season more than once and I just can’t do it. It’s just not that good. The idea is there but they don’t have it right yet. They were damn lucky that Comedy Central picked them up and turned them into the show we love because that is not the show we love. It’s a step in the right direction, but it isn’t there yet.


What I think about the KTMA seasons? I’m so sorry. Really, I am, but Servo, first named Beeper, had a fishbowl for a head, GPC screamed like a dinosaur and looked like one, and Crow kinda looked like what he is now, but WONKY.


I did watch them all when I started my chronological rewatch of the whole series. It took me FAR longer to get through Season 0 than any other because I’d have to take long breaks between episodes… at least in the beginning, They really do start to pick up steam and get a handle on what they’re doing by the end of it. Time of the Apes is a notable episode and one I definitely recommend watching if you only watch a few. Joel was out for another gig that night so Crow and Servo were in the theater by themselves and they really started riffing left and right with far more intensity than Joel had done in any episode before (prior to this he was usually in the theater either alone or with just one bot, and they didn’t always join him for the whole movie).

So basically I recommend KTMA if you want to witness the show evolve


I carried a hunch this was so. Of what I’ve attempted to see, the ingredients aren’t cooked enough. Joel’s spacey and out there while not relatable sufficiently to be be as funny as he’d become. The Bots cavort like window dressing and are more novelty than the Bots we would later know. The amount of movie which plays unriffed boggles the imagination. A borderline riff followed by 40 seconds of silence chased by another borderline joke. Everything has to start somewhere and the notion is most certainly there only not as formed as it would be eventually.


I guess I can say that for what it was- a time filler show on a small independent TV station in a relatively small market, it was pretty brilliant. Conceptually at least. I’ve certainly seen other shows at its level that never got famous but probably could have made it big if they had a network behind them. KTMA basically let Joel do whatever he felt like doing and, unfortunately, that’s not the way to make a working TV show. @Greengreatlabcoat says it gets better, and I admit I haven’t gotten to the end, but the first few episodes I saw were really rough.


They improve A LOT, to the point that The Last Chase almost feels like a Season 1 episode.


It depends on who you are, what you want. I think they are deserving if only as a historical artifact, to see the birth of the show, and how it developed through the season.

It reminds me of the old Hendrix website, they had (and maybe still do) a back room for all the outtakes and demos and tests. They stated up front that this wasn’t for the general public, some of this material was raw, it was for the historians, the die-hards, etc.

I always thought MST should have offered KTMAs in that same way. Here’s our backroom, but be forewarned. (but I know, rights issues)

Saying that - I do think there are laughs to be had, especially as it progressed. And some of that is aided by the movies… Last Chase is especially fun as a flick. Humanoid Woman, Su Maru, Legend of Dinosaurs, I’ve watched these several times over the years and enjoyed them.

They are not in steady rotation, and I don’t go in expecting Season 5 level episodes, but I’ve enjoyed them for what they are.


I think every hardcore fan needs to check out a couple of these, to see where so many important ideas got their start. Or else they’re missing out. But that’s just me.


yes, they should just be aware that real riffing doesn’t even BEGIN until the Gamera movies and it’s a slow progression from there. Thankfully, I enjoy watching Gamera films even unriffed so I had little difficulty with those.


About halfway through the season, starting maybe with SST Death Flight, they find enough of a groove that many of the episodes from that point on are as good or better than many season 1 eps.
SST Death Flight is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series, mainly because the movie itself is so goofy.


My favorite KTMA is Superdome, and there are definitely some good giggles to be had there.


Obviously the KTMA shows aren’t as good as the Comedy Central/Syfy episodes, but it’s still cool to check them out to see how the whole thing started and evolved over the years. They’re ok, but I rarely watch those episodes.

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I don’t have a problem with the KTMA episodes. Just watched SST Death Flight (one of the best KTMAs in my opinion) last night warming up for turkey day. The riffs are less, but that can be good too. More like you are watching the movie and overhearing the comments of people who are simply watching the movie as well, more natural feeling. I think sometimes they lose site of that aspect of the show and the constant riffs can get in the way of the movie at times.


Its hard.

Its clear that they had the VERY rough frame work of what the show was.

And I’m not even talking about the crude sets or uneven host segments…which ironically are often funnier than they have a right to be.

Invaders From the Deep is especially hard to watch as the in theater moments are mostly just Joel with no one to play off until Crow kinda wonders in and out of the theater occasionally.

There are long silences with a joke every so often. Joel eating and drinking in theater.

And none of that is a knock on Joel or anyone involved, they just had not found what worked and what didn’t work yet.

And each episode improves a little more each time.

I enjoy some of the un-recycled for Comedy Central episodes because well its rough but new material to those that have not seen them commonly in rotation.

As for the eps that were recycled for Comedy Central such as the Gamera films…its a little like watching the first table read thru of the polished material IN the Comedy Central versions.

In one way I kinda like them.

I mean if your lucky enough to see the Live shows at more than one location you can sorta see this as well. As the jokes in the beginning of the tour will not always be the same at later shows, because the cast experiments, and refines jokes based on what worked…or hasn’t worked.

But I can also see where some might watch the Gamera KTMA eps and say the CC versions are better.


Absolutely worth it. I love watching the show develop over time. It’s an important part of the history.


That’ll vary from person to person, I reckon.

Me? I’m a completionist. I’m an obsessive diehard when it comes to MST3K. That’s what makes the KTMA years perfect for me.

I see them as something of a historical document, an interesting glimpse into the origins of MST3K and a hint of what its future would hold. And I think they’re quite fun at points!

But they’re not a must-see draw for everyone. For more casual viewers who don’t feel they have to see every single episode or get insight into MST3K’s early days, or for viewers who want a greater volume of riffs per episodes, the KTMA episodes might not be a priority watch.

They’re not my favorite episodes of the series, but I enjoy revisiting them from time to time. I guess it all comes down to what you want to get out of the totality of your MST3K experience.


I have watched every episode in the KTMA season once. I have watched a few of them pretty much every time I go through the series. The early episodes are really more about the movies than they are about the riffing. The riffing is just a sidenote in my opinion. For example, Mighty Jack is a lot more comprehensible if you watch the KTMA version because they show more of it and there’s less riffing over plot points. By the end of the season, the riffing is more the point of it.

There are a few that I genuinely enjoy. Like @CLANG_Potroast I really enjoy Superdome and I have long wished they’d reriff Legend of Dinosaurs but the way the episode is done in KTMA, it’s fun.


Phase IV is where it starts to show signs of life… maybe some of the later Gamera’s too, but I don’t revisit them too often. K-9 is where the season kind of starts for me.

Phase IV was also one I saw on TV unriffied years before MST.

Humanoid Woman I’ve since seen in its original language, in a longer edit. That’s not really a cheesy movie, but it’s one that caught my eye and interest.


I think KTMA is really underrated. Sure, it starts out rough. Still figuring out what they were doing. That in itself is interesting to watch. To see where things started and how they grew and changed.

But it gets better as it goes on. Phase IV, SST: Deathflight, City On Fire, Superdome, Hangar 18… all solid episodes, IMO. And I love watching the Sandy Frank episodes (Mighty Jack, Gamera, etc) to compare with their season 3 & 4 counterparts. As Teri said, there are scenes that got cut for time in the Comedy Channel era. There are some good riffs that didn’t get carried over, too, like Joel’s riff as Z plan goes into effect at the end of the first Gamera movie.