The Series 3000 mechanoid was a line of androids developed by DivaDroid International and built in Taiwan on Earth. They came before the Series 4000 (of which Kryten is a model) and the final Hudzen 10 series, which broke the "series" naming tradition.
Lister as a Series 3000
According to Kryten, the 3000 Series were a failure due to the fact that they resembled humans too closely. Created for menial labour and designed to mimic the human form, the 3000 series droids were notorious for their unpopularity. Humans had found their exact duplication of the human form to be disturbing. They were recalled and deactivated, to be replaced by the Series 4000, but a few 3000s were rumoured to have slipped through the cracks and blended into society incognito, erasing their own memories of their past and true nature.
In the Series VI episode "Out of Time" an unreality bubble makes the Starbug crew believe that Lister is one of the escaped Series 3000 mechanoids, which causes Kryten (a Series 4000 mechanoid, who now out ranks the "inferior" Series 3000 model) to usurp the front seat in the cockpit and delegate Lister to the more menial tasks of cooking and cleaning.
Lister's internal organs and x-rays were shown to be entirely mechanical, even listing Taiwan as the place of origin, and a 24-hour emergency callout number. Kryten asked him if, when Lister was found under a pool table in a public house as a baby, the words "kit" or "paint before assembling" were written on the side of the box. After realizing what the unreality bubbles were and what they did, Kryten returns to his cooking and cleaning with a rather sheepish apology to Lister - who does not yet seem ready to forgive. (Out of Time, Series VI)
- Their existence in the form described is debatable due to the nature of the unreality bubbles, which are previously shown as being able to alter the crew members' memory and perception (for example making them unaware of the Cat's existence). (Out of Time, Series VI)
- The Kryten seen in the Alternate Dwarfers may have intended to have been a Series 3000, since he clearly has a mechanoid body yet also clearly has a human head. This in unclear, especially since the scene occurred in virtual reality, and the artificial reality itself was within a hallucination. (Back to Reality, Series V)
- Hudzen-10 is presumably a Series 3000, or at least a form of or homage to, since he is much more human-like than most mechanoids seen. (The Last Day, Series III)
- Simulants are artificial lifeforms which also largely resemble humans, much like the Series 3000, although there are some fundamental differences between mechanoids and Simulants. For one, Simulants use much more organic material in their make-up than mechanoids (mechanoids using only organic material in part of their brains), making Simulants much more of a traditional cyborg. Simulants are only normally discernible through some unique characteristic, such as twin sets of eyebrows or a patch of deliberately exposed endoskeleton. Some Simulants however, were indistinguishable from humans, such as Sim Crawford, a guard aboard the Columbus 3. Simulants are also much more dangerous than mechanoids, since mechanoids were designed to be servile, but Simulants were created as soldiers. Many Simulants broke their programming, openly turning on their human masters and becoming "Rogue Simulants", "Agonoids" and even the Simulant Generals.
Behind the scenes
- The "uncanny valley" hypothesis states that anything not human, but closely resembling humans, will naturally cause a psychological revulsion in people. It seems the Series 3000 mechanoid was a perfect example of this.
- The 'excessive resemblance' issue is also a central theme of the 1982 film Blade Runner, and the book on which it is based, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick.
Real Series 3000
Many years later, the Dwarfers met an actual Series 3000 Mechanoid named Butler, who was located aboard the wreck of the Nova 3. Butler was an inferior model to Kryten, although he appeared very similar to Kryten. This would suggest that Kryten previously believing that the 3000 series were human-like was also an effect of the unreality bubbles.
The character of Butler, although an inferior model to Kryten, was also to break his own programming. However, whereas Kryten was unable to stop serving his human crew mates aboard the Nova 5, even when they were nothing but skeletons, Butler was able to accept that his crew were dead. In the three million years he spent alone, Butler instead took up learning, the arts, philosophy and science, even building up a rapport with GELFs and "the Universe".
Behind the scenes
- Doug Naylor has confirmed through his Twitter account that the Series 3000 were not human-like, and this was an effect of the unreality bubbles in Series VI.