- August - Jim Mallon, needing to fill a 2-hour Sunday evening time slot later that fall on KTMA TV23, called up Joel Hodgson to discuss ideas.
- September - By this time, Joel and Jim had decided on a format for their show: Joel would play a guy trapped in space who would watch movies and make informative comments and "narrate" the films for the audience. Throughout the program would run a series of segments in which Joel would talk directly to the people of Earth and interact with some robots he had designed.
- October 3 - The pilot is completed.
- October - Don O’Conner, the general manager of KTMA is shown the pilot. He decides to order 13 episodes with the option to do more.
- November - Production begins on the very first series of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The format is altered slightly: Joel will be joined by the robots in the theater to make fun of the movie, being humorous instead of informative. Episodes are produced by Hair Brain Productions and taped at KTMA's studios; Joel records the theme song at Sing Sing Studios.
- November 24 - KTMA TV23 premieres Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Thanksgiving with two back-to-back episodes: Invaders from the Deep and Revenge of the Mysterons from Mars - First appearances of Joel Hodgson, Crow, Gypsy, Cambot and Servo.
- November 27 - Star Force: Fugitive Alien II - Remade in Season 3 - See Star Force: Fugitive Alien II
- December 4 - Gamera vs Barugon - Earliest fan copy known to exist; Remade in Season 3 - See Gamera vs Barugon
- December 11 - Gamera - Remade in Season 3 - See Gamera
- December 18 - Gamera vs Gaos - Remade in Season 3 - See Gamera vs Gaos
- December 31 - Gamera vs Zigra - First appearance of Dr. Forrester and Dr. Erhardt; Remade in Season 3 - See Gamera vs Zigra. NOTE: Technically, since it aired at midnight, this was the first episode of 1989, but it is listed here since it was part of KTMA's New Years Eve line-up and TV listings usually include the midnight hours with the previous day's listings.