By Dave B.
Love, Death & Robots, Netflix’s newest sci-fi anthology series, consists of 18 animated shorts that explore topics ranging from courage, sexuality, horror, revenge, and hope. If you imagine a mashup of The Animatrix and Black Mirror, you’d have a pretty good starting point for imagining the format of the series. The stories take place in a variety of settings from the grand cosmos to a freezer in a small kitchen. With episodes ranging in runtime from between six and 17 minutes, the series takes about three hours to get through if one were inclined to binge watch it.
The most noteworthy aspect of Love, Death & Robots is the quality of each episode’s animation. Despite the wide variety of styles, I can unambiguously state that I’ve never seen such high-quality animation, in a technical sense. In fact, the look of the episode “Lucky 13” is virtually indistinguishable from reality. The stories themselves are interesting enough and for most of them, I wouldn’t mind watching them if they were feature length films.
But despite its technical brilliance and storytelling competence, Love, Death & Robots may feel a bit mundane to those who consume large amounts of sci-fi content. Its themes aren’t particularly groundbreaking. Compared to similar (live-action) sci-fi anthologies such as Oats Studios: Volume 1, Love, Death & Robots is clearly in a lower class, too often relying more on shock value than interesting insight.
That’s not to say that Love, Death & Robots isn’t enjoyable. It is and I definitely recommend it. But subsequent seasons need to maintain the technical expertise that Season One clearly has, while improving the consistency of its storytelling and not relying on nudity and violence as crutches that distract from the fact that series doesn’t cover much new ground. Love, Death & Robots: Season One is a good start, but the series does not yet fully live up to its vast potential.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.