The 'Bots Are Back was a series of web cartoons produced in 2007 for MST3K.com. They featured 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 take place at an undetermined point during the original show's fictional timeline, no human character was present.
They were not well-received and were later removed from the official site altogether.
- Reel Livin', October, 29, 2007
- Feels Like, October 29, 2007
- Thanksgiving Clown, November 19, 2007
- Solitaire, November 27, 2007
Production and reception
The animated version of MST3K was first announced on the Satellite News website (formerly BBI's official 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 have been posted since November 26, 2007. In June 2008, the website was redesigned and the cartoons removed for unspecified reasons; however the Flash 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 may continue at some point in the future. Animation producer Shadi Petosky responded that the costs were low and flat rates that never changed from the original estimates, she suspects that the revenue was the problem and the mouse pads, post-it notes, and T-shirts being sold to pay for the show did not sell as fans did not like the poorly designed and written animated characters.
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. Mike Nelson, star and head writer of the original series, called the animated series "cute", but felt that it was an "after-the-fact" idea.