Mystery Science Theater 3000 (also known as The 'Bots Are Back) is a series of web cartoons produced in 2007 for MST3K.com as a continuation of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000. The series features the 'Bots in various comedic situations. Crow T. Robot was voiced by Paul Chaplin, Tom Servo by stand-up comedian James Moore and Gypsy by Jim Mallon. Although these shorts appear to take place at an undetermined point during the original show's fictional timeline, no human character is present.
They were not well received and were later removed from the official site because of a redesign.
- Reel Livin' (October, 29, 2007) - Crow goes fishing and discusses the benefits of his "incredibly stable" kayak before being capsized by Servo on a jet ski.
- Feels Like (October 29, 2007) - Gypsy and Servo discuss actual temperature versus the wind chill factor. Servo then begins translating everything Gypsy says into "feels like..." statements, much to her annoyance.
- Thanksgiving Clown (November 19, 2007) - Servo dresses up as a clown, thinking it to be a Thanksgiving tradition. Crow consults an old World Book encyclopedia to verify.
- Solitaire (November 27, 2007) - Crow plays solitaire while Servo advises. Eventually Crow becomes fed up with Servo's pestering and leaves. Servo sees a fantastic move, but can't play as his arms don't work. Desperate, he unsuccessfully tries to move the cards using telekinesis, but in the process breaks himself.
Production and reception
The animated version of MST3K was first announced on the Satellite News website on October 29, 2007. The new cartoon was described as a "weekly series of animated adventures," and would debut as part of an all-new MST3K website. This new site would also feature content from the original series as well as a new online store. The website went live on November 5, 2007 along with the first installment of the animated series.
New episodes were scheduled to be posted every Monday. However, despite regular updates to other parts of the site, no new episodes of the cartoon were posted after November 26, 2007. In June 2008, the website was redesigned and the cartoons removed for unspecified reasons. However, the cartoon likenesses of the characters were still present on some pages. On July 18, MST3K fansite Satellite News posted an interview with Jim Mallon, who explained that the cartoons cost more to produce than was initially estimated. He also stated that the existing cartoons will return to the site, and expressed hope that the series would continue at some point in the future. Animation producer Shadi Petosky stated that the costs were low and the flat rates never changed from the original estimates. She suspected that the revenue was the problem as the mouse pads, post-it notes, and T-shirts being sold to pay for the show did not sell as well as expected, due to the poor fan reaction to the shorts.
Initially, response to the new website on both of the major fan discussion boards was largely negative. Viewers of the Flash series had said that the animation was poor and the voice actors did not fit with the characters. Michael J. Nelson called the animated series "cute", but felt that it was an "after-the-fact" idea.