Which Host's Debut Is Your Favourite?

Just for fun, which host’s first episode is your favourite?

  • Joel (Ep. K01 Invaders From The Deep)
  • Mike (Ep. 513 The Brain That Wouldn’t Die)
  • Jonah (Ep. 1101 Reptilicus)
  • Emily (Ep. 1303 Beyond Atlantis)

0 voters

My ranking:

  1. Emily
    +“Oh poopie” in the opening segment, Mother Crabber in the last segment, most of the stuff in-between.
    -The petite GPC-2 takes a bit of getting used to after so many years of her big sister.
  2. Mike
    -It’s a bit of a low-key introduction for Mr. Nelson; he’s just there.
  3. Jonah
    +Every Country Has A Monster is an earworm for the ages.
    -The frantic riff-pacing is a bit distracting.
  4. Joel
    +It’s the start of a wonderfully strange 30+ year odyssey.
    -They really hadn’t worked out many of the kinks yet.

“Fun”?! This is FUN to you?!?!! :sweat::gun:


Emily and Mike were both really close for me. Yeah, Mike is a little low-key compared to the character that he would grow into, but the writing for his premiere is so strong.

They did the same for Jonah and Emily, but with Reptilicus, they hadn’t found the rhythm yet. They nailed that with Emily in Beyond Atlantis.


A bit hard for me to properly pick as I saw multiple episodes with both Joel and Mike before I saw their “first” episodes. so it’s a toss up of Jonah and Emily, and while I tagged Jonah above, it’s almost a coin toss.
I think Emily’s was strong, but Jonah’s just being a bit more with all the bells and whistles thanks to Netflix and such.


1- Mike: The best host change-over.
2- Emily: Maybe a bit too self-aware.
3- Joel: I consider 101: The Crawling Eye His debut and it was fine.
4- Jonah: For some reason, I found the drums off-putting.

Not that any of them were bad just the negatives make the rankings.


I’m going to rank them by how often I’ve seen the episode.

3+: Jonah in Reptilicus
2: Emily in Beyond Atlantis
1: Mike in The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
0: Joel in either Invaders From the Deep or The Crawling Hand


I give it to The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. That movie has such a strange allure to it that borders on repulsive fascination, and the riffing is pretty strong. There are a few “propping up the new guy” moments that feel like the episode is trying too hard to win the audience over on Mike, but that’s a solid episode all around.

Beyond Atlantis is a sturdy second. The riffing is excellent and so are the skits. It comes close to Brain for me, though I’m gonna give Mike the edge.

Reptilicus trails a bit. I think the episode is funny and fun, but not quite as much as Brain and Atlantis. The enjoyable monster movie at its center does some power lifting for it as well.

While Invaders from the Deep is the weakest of the four by a wide margin, I actually do like that episode a lot. While the riffing is sparse, I like the meta material where Joel is eating popcorn and drinking soda and I love how it gets more playful when Crow gets into the theater. That episode is fascinating to me.


Mike’s introduction via Mittens was pretty solid and then his first episode was a banger right out of the gates. Tough to top!


Joel is my favorite, but I don’t think it’s fair to list K01 as his debut. Like you said, they were still working on the show’s form. That episode is darn near unwatchable! For Joel’s debut I’d personally put 101, The Crawling Eye. But even then, it’d still a distant third behind Brain, Reptilicus, and Beyond Atlantis.


Rewatched the first few scenes of The Brain That Wouldn’t Die in anticipation of tomorrow’s Mads stream, and noticed the similarities between Mike and Emily’s first reactions to “Movie Sign”.

I must have forgotten Mike also panicked and didn’t know what to do. Emily’s first reaction was a bit more animated, and she was caught off guard multiple times throughout the episode. If this becomes a running gag, I’m all for it.

That aside…I’m honestly going to go with Emily here. Mike had the advantage of being a side character for many years. While he didn’t quite have the screen presence as Gamera as he would for Mike, there were still some awesome moments that showed off his versatility (Jack Perkins, Hugh Beaumont).

Emily’s path went from the stage, through two YouTube specials and then the lead role. The instant confidence she had was apparent from the start.

Maybe it’s recency bias, but I came away extremely impressed with Emily’s very first full show. It took Mike and Jonah a little while to grow into the role, in my honest opinion. Joel originated it, so I can’t necessarily vote for him as much as I’d like to.

But Emily, in terms of her prior “televised” experience and the result? She knocked out of the park. You may even say it was…a “moon shot” :sunglasses:.


Jonah’s my favorite because before the Netflix eps I’d only seen a couple and just thought of it as “Joel’s” show, like Joel was the baseline and I actually didn’t see his first episode until well after I was familiar with the series and it didn’t hit the same. And I’m still not sure I’ve watched Mike’s debut. Whereas Jonah was the first and only host where his first episode was also my first time seeing him, so I loved it. Emily’s debut is a close second, I thought she did an AWESOME job with Beyond Atlantis. However I also got to see her hot riffs for the Time Bubble Tour so I already knew she was great :wink:


If I’m going by what episode made me laugh the most - Emily
Followed by Mike’s, Jonah’s then Joel’s (whether KTMA or Crawling Eye)

If I’m picking based on how they were as host, as personalities - Joel
MST has a way to go to find its footing, but he’s at ease in front the of camera, part of that might be because he’s transported his prop comic stand-up act to the show., but he’s our Joel, the sleepy-eyed guy whose taking care of his sick bots

I think the other 3 were a little stiff at times, a little actory as actors, or self-aware as someone said (even though Mike had a lot of on-screen moments and Emily had the stage time).

Saying that, I like both Mike and Emily a lot, Jonah’s still better in the theater than out.

If I weigh both factors, how they were as hosts/personalities + how funny their segments + how good and funny as riffers, how they delivered their lines + and how often I laughed. Advantage Emily, she earns my vote.


Note that The Mads (Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu) will be riffing The Brain That Wouldn’t Die tomorrow evening (May 10, 2022 at 8pm Eastern).


Oh, wow… gotta put some real thought into this!

They’re all important episodes. Obviously, Joel had the most important debut, whether you’re counting Invaders from the Deep as the series premiere or The Crawling Eye as the start of the national run. Mike’s episode is also important, because it showed that MST3K could continue past the Joel era, that it could continue at all. And then Jonah’s debut showed that MST3K could continue with an all-new team after the show was long dormant, and THEN Emily’s debut showed that another all-new team could continue to take the series to new heights on the Gizmoplex level.

But as far as my favorite? Hmmm…

Even at the dawn of the show when the riffing was a bit more sparse, those Joel episodes have a great laidback feel and flavor, and are entertaining in their own right.

I liked the character-defining host segments for Mike. The movie could go a tad dark and bleak, but the gang rose to make it all lighter. Some really fun jokes and running gags there (“I’m in another dimension!!!”).

The rapid-fire riffs of Reptilicus took me by surprise, but the episode was a lot of fun. We got a Jacques Tati riff, for crying out loud! I also liked that the movie was light, goofy, and laughably ridiculous. The host segments were great bit of fun (WE GOT DUPLICATED SERVOS AGAIN!), and as I’ve said often and don’t mind saying again, I had legit honest-to-goodness happy tears for “Every Country for a Monster.” On a deeper level, I love this episode for showing that MST3K could have a future, even after all those years of inactivity.

But for the most pure fun? I’ve got to give the honors to Emily for Beyond Atlantis. The character moments were something really neat (love her talk with Jonah as well as the panic and confusion over Movie sign), and the host segments were wall-to-wall fun. EddieCon and Mothercrabbers? C’mon.

Beyond Atlantis may be the most purely punishing movie because it seemed so random and confusing, but that the gang could elevate their game to make it hilarious. With strong jokes and riffs that were delivered as well as they were written, Team Emily rocked the movie out on a Monster a Go-Go level. And the rest of the new folks - Kelsey, Conor, and Yvonne - brought it just as impeccably as Emily did.

So… where favorite debut episodes are concerned, I’ll go:

Emily at the top of the hill

And they’re all fantastic to watch!


I’ll need to reflect on this question for a while. After all, we’ve had several newbies in quick succession, compared to the days of C.C. and SciFi. :thinking:


I would go with Mike’s debut. It’s arguably the biggest milestone in the show’s history and within about 40 minutes, everything already starts to feel settled-in. That’s amazing work, right there.


Having it be mid-season and on the same network with the same supporting cast really helped.

  1. Jonah: I would argue that he had the greatest expectations and the heaviest weight to carry as a new host…with an entirely new cast — and he knocks it out of the park. He immediately owns his role without trying to copy what has gone before.

  2. Mike: the best analogy would be Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor. He has to replace a beloved actor and character, and does so with laid-back grace. He drops to second place because his first few episodes have him trying to fit into Joel’s shoes (specifically the invention exchange) and it takes a bit before he makes the host role his own.

  3. Emily. I love Emily! I saw her on the Cheesy Circus tour and the Time Bubble tour. So for me, Beyond Atlantis doesn’t feel like a first episode or premiere, but an “at last!” episode, where I can rewatch her do her thing over and over.

  4. Joel. Look, none of us would be posting here without Joel Hodgson. But K01 barely hints at the brilliance to come. I quite enjoy The Crawling Eye but it never seems to make anyone’s best-of list.


Emily is technically the stage actor reprising the role in the screen adaptation. I don’t know how many shows Great Cheesy Movie Tour had offhand, but I’m guessing enough to round her up to 100 total shows. Which on a correct estimation is about 2:1 Time Bubble:GCMT, but still, that’s performing two episodes 100 times. More people saw that training up close than any set visit, COVID or not. She feels like she had the most “We know what we’re doing” first episode. Combining her tour experience with the TV production experience into a complete mesh (even with the COVID precautions)


I’d have to rewatch Brain That Wouldn’t Die to choose. It is very tight between Mike and Emily.