The Hexfield Viewscreen was a hexagonally-shaped opening on the Satellite of Love's bridge that served as a kind of monitor through which the inhabitants of the SOL could interact with a wide and diverse range of visitors. Often, characters were taken directly from whatever movie they were watching at the moment (Gamera, Jan in the Pan, etc), but were sometimes only loosely related to the film (the Kitten with a Whip, Yakov Smirnoff) and sometimes not at all (rowdy redneck neighbors, the Nelson family, an annoying mother who dialed the wrong number, etc). The Hexfield was activated and deactivated via the blue middle light on the desk control panel.
In the TV series the Hexfield was mainly used for external communications between the SOL and guest characters, as the transmission links to Deep 13 and Rocket Number 9 were both projected through Cambot. In Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, which didn't feature Cambot, the Hexfield was a larger wall-sized screen which was used exclusively to communicate with Deep 13.
Behind the Scenes
While ostensibly a viewscreen, the Hexfield was actually a small stage area behind the Bridge set, covered with a dark fabric screen with various styles of sliding doors in front of it. The Hexfield was often "deactivated" by simply turning off its lighting at the end of a transmission, as some of the early doors closed painfully slow.
The door of the Hexfield was originally a simple fabric window shade which Joel could be seen vacuuming during the opening theme beginning with Season 2 and continuing through the rest of his run as host. With Episode 205, the hexfield shutter was changed to a camera-style iris which was designed and constructed by Mark Gilbertson, who was added to the show's end credits for his contribution. The Hexfield remained part of the set through Season 10.
The Hexfield was used more frequently during the years on The Comedy Channel/Comedy Central, although its use popped up irregularly in the Sci-Fi Channel-era. When the original run of the show ended, the Hexfield was among the items sold in the eBay prop auctions by Best Brains, Inc..
The Hexfield as portrayed in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie borrowed a visual conceit best-known from Star Trek shows of the era, which portrayed characters on ship's viewscreens looking directly toward the characters they were talking to rather than directly to-camera (suggesting some sort of 3D functionality).
|Primary Residents||Joel Robinson • Mike Nelson • Jonah Heston • Crow T. Robot • Gypsy • Cambot • Tom Servo|
|Minor/Other Residents||Magic Voice • Timmy • Mike's Robot • Clayton Forrester (mirror) • TV's Frank (mirror) • Eddie Nelson (alternate universe) • Nanites • Mike Nelson (robot) • Winston • M. Waverly • Matt Claude Van Damme • Growler • Emily Connor|
|Visitors||Enoch • Demon Dogs • Nuveena • Gypsy (mirror) • Tom Servo (mirror) • Monad • Observers • Finnegan • Lydia • Ortega • Phantom of Krankor • Henry Kissinger • Delivery Man • Goosio • Mikey the Mike sprite • Brain Guy • Pearl Forrester • Professor Bobo|
|Terminology||Airlock • Deus ex Machina • Hexfield Viewscreen • Hyper-warp escape ships • Jet Screen • Manipulator arms • Movie sign • Rocket Number 9 • The Tube • Umbilicus • Whirlpool|
|Locations||Bridge • Crow's Room • Joel's room • Kitchen • Mike's room • Mystery Science Theater • Theater hallway • Tom's room|
|Valeria • J.C. • Gooch • Imperialistic Aliens • Sorri Andropoli • Hugh Beaumont • Gorilla • Mothra • Gamera • Bruce • Custodian of the Seventh Galaxy • Kenny and Helen • Holo-clowns • Winky • John Banner • Amazon Moms • Jan in the Pan • The Power Steves • Nelson family • A. Bomb • Clayton Forrester (mirror) • TV's Frank (mirror) • Kitten with a Whip • Lisa Loeb • Ilya Murametz • Yakov Smirnoff • Earl Torgeson • Leonardo da Vinci • Phil the Alien|