If you were to set about three hours of your day aside, it’d be completely possible to zip through the entire season of Netflix’s latest darling, Love, Death, & Robots. But that leaves out enough time to step outside after a few episodes, drink a beer and completely contemplate your own existence.

 

 

 

Creators David Fincher (Mindhunter) and Tim Miller (Deadpool) set out to create an ode to everything that had inspired them; from comics, midnight movies, and everything about fringe culture that makes the mainstream cringe. The anthology, which Netflix cheekily referred to as NSFW, features animation studios around the globe ensuring each episode is a f-ed up masterpiece that borders on an opium induced fever dream. While Miller and Fincher stated that there’s no underlying theme to the show besides the titular “Love, Death, & Robots”, it feels like there’s so much more than that. Reliance on technology, humanity’s greatest mistakes put on repeat, how to grapple with our own existence and what it means to be human are all out in the open, leaving each episode open to not only interpretation alone but points back at us a la Black Mirrorstyle and asks us what we’re going to do about it.

 

“.. a f-ed up masterpiece that borders on an opium induced fever dream.”

 

It’s hard not to gush about the series. It has something for everybody. We violently jump from vampires, to robots, to werewolves, to space colonization, to steampunk mythos – without a second thought. It’s a car crash that leaves you craving for more, leading to the most easily bingeable show on Netflix.

Each episode hits the mark of around five to seventeen minutes. That short time frame bears a heavy burden of building worlds, characters, and relationships in an almost impossible time frame. And yet almost every episode manages to accomplish this in the series. It’s a push back against the streaming era of television shows that rival movies in length, something that both Fincher and Miller are more than familiar with. However, the short time frame works to their advantage, forcing you to commit every ounce of attention you have.

 

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Each episode is unapologetic in its hyper sexual and hyper violent content. While the majority of episodes are animated, it’s the non-animated that seem the farthest from reality (and that’s one out of eighteen episodes). The show makes it clear that while the story is what guides the animation, it’s the visuals that are valued above all. Each animated episode features stunning visuals that are completely separate from the last. It’s almost jarring with the aesthetic whiplash it engages with the binge-viewer. The beauty of Love, Death, & Robots isn’t just within the neon blood-spatters and technicolor dreamscapes, but rather the construction itself. It’s like an encyclopedia; the viewer has the control and the power to pick and choose whichever episode they want in any sort of order.

 

“..You don’t find yourself second-guessing a latex-clad fetish club riddled with realistic spit and sweat, nor Midwestern-esque space colonizers.”

 

There’s a lot of sex, a lot of nudity, and a whole lot of gore throughout the series. While it might seem off-putting at first glance, the sheer amount of bodies being thrown around in both hyper-realistic and almost whimsical animation, somehow just works. You don’t find yourself second-guessing a latex-clad fetish club riddled with realistic spit and sweat, nor Midwestern-esque space colonizers. It simply works. But still, the anthology has a few duds that are easy to gloss over. The only non-animated one, “Ice Age” featuring Topher Grace (BlacKkKlansman) swings hard at the absurd, but unfortunately misses. While the few mishaps in the series are peppered through, it’s easy to dismiss them as while they might not hit the mark, the others do. And when they do, they are beyond exceptional. My personal favorites were Good Hunting, which was an incredible blend of Chinese mythology, steampunk visuals, and almost Disney-esque animation. Alongside “Good Hunting” was “Fish Night”, featuring a desert filled with the technicolor ghosts of the sea that used to reside there and “The Witness”, which featured animation that seemed to have the uncanny arm wrestling with the cartoonish.

The anthology is a masterpiece of gratuitous sex, violence, and humanity. With almost every episode standing strong on its own human or robotic feet, the show manages to pull off a feat not many seem capable of doing lately: leaving us begging for a second season.

 

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