A television series in which the hosts--one human being and several puppets who look like robots--show bad movies and offer ongoing humorous commentary on the onscreen action. Brief comedy skits are scattered throughout the program, often with a common theme (sometimes riffing on elements in the movie being shown) or an ongoing storyline. The show's strong geek appeal lies in the mixture of lowbrow clowning and obscure references: thirty typical seconds might include a joke about German Expressionist filmmaking, a fart noise, a joke about Franz Kafka, a claim that one of the characters resembles Senator Estes Kehauver, and an observation that one of the actors is clearly not wearing underwear (and perhaps should be).
Story: In the not-too-distant future, Joel Robinson, a janitor at Gizmonics Institute, is trapped in the Satellite of Love and fired into space by mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester and his assistant Dr. Erhardt, who conduct their rogue experiments from a sub-basement at Gizmonics called Deep 13. They force Joel to watch bad movies in order to drive him insane. Joel cannibalizes some parts from the satellite and builds himself some robot friends: Cambot (who films the show), Gypsy (who controls the ship's functions), Tom Servo, and Crow. Together they watch the movies and make wisecracks.
Dr. Erhardt was soon replaced by former Arby's employee TV's Frank. Joel eventually escaped back to Earth (the escape pod on the SOL was stored in a crate marked "Hamdingers"). Enraged, Dr. F. and Frank clubbed temp worker Mike Nelson unconscious and sent him up to the satellite to take Joel's place.
When Frank was taken by Torgo to a paradise where evil henchmen live free from their cruel masters, Dr. Forrester's mother Pearl came to live at Deep 13 and assisted her son with his work. Forrester eventually ran out of funding and sent the satellite hurtling off to the farthest reaches of the universe where Mike and the bots spent the next five hundred years as beings of pure energy.
When they returned, Crow's voice was different (new actor) and Pearl Forrester was now their chief tormenter, helped by the alien Observer and the ape scientist Professor Bobo. The long experiment finally ended when in a moment of overexuberance, Pearl accidentally broke the joystick that controlled the satellite, causing it to plummet to Earth.
Everyone survived the crash; Gypsy (whose higher functions had till now been largely devoted to running the satellite) went on to found ConGypsCo, a multimillion-dollar corporation. Mike, Servo, and Crow turned down her offer to let them in on the ground floor, and ended up sitting on a ratty couch in Mike's tiny apartment, watching bad movies and making wisecracks.