This really is a great topic, ain’t it?
Space Travelers isn’t close to being my favorite episode, but it was among the first episodes that I discovered. It’s laidback and relaxing, and I love seeing Gene Hackman and Gregory Peck do their thing.
Gunslinger is another episode you can just get lost in while watching. While not a top-tier episode in my book, it’s perfect for lounging and letting it all wash over ya.
The Beast of Hollow Mountain has this feel to it that’s unlike any MST3K episode, even in being a Western. There’s a certain comfort and ease to that, and the host segments add to that easygoing charm (even with Jonah and the Mads being freaked out by the Bots’ festival antics).
THE SPY MOVIES! If Secret Agent Super Dragon or Operation Double 007 or Danger!! Death Ray are playing on Twitch/Pluto, I’m parking myself there and watching them. Even with all the action and intrigue, they feel like a cozy reminder of why MST3K is so gold like that. (I like Agent for H.A.R.M., but I wouldn’t necessarily consider that a comfort-food episode with how hard it can go.)
The Unearthly is a far cry from my best of the best of the best MST3K picks, but comfort-wise? I love it to no end. Two wonderfully goofy shorts, an odd but absorbing movie, and a gradual riff pace that goes gently but entertainingly at later hours? Wonderful.
Catalina Caper is as easygoing as they get! Early in Season 2, the gang was still finding its footing with riffing and writing, and while we haven’t quite reached the series’s dizzying heights just yet, it’s nevertheless a joy to watch. A lighthearted movie with jokes to go on top of all the musical hijinx? Love it.
The Screaming Skull isn’t the tops of Season 9, but I love to revisit that for the Gumby short and all the skull-related hilarity and whatever’s going on with Mickey. Yeah, our leading lady’s character isn’t having a great time of it all, but for me? I can sit back, relax, and enjoy this weird little movie and the fun riffs.
The Phantom Planet is another one that doesn’t quite rise to the zenith of Season 9, but that movie has such a calming, quiet atmosphere about it that I love. I really get into the movie, and having jokes go along with that? Gotta dig that! And Mike playing the water glasses is such a nice moment, that.