Netflix’s aptly named Love, Death & Robots is the latest take on the growingly popular anthology-style of television. Made up of 18 “shorts” — creator David Fincher prefers this term to “episodes” — this series manages to accomplish succinct yet gratifying storytelling across a range of genres and animation styles. From gladiatorial monster fights to sentient yoghurt overlords, the scope of this show is enough to entice any Netflix-viewer seeking something fresh.
Despite quick pacing and relatively simple plots, each short is unique in the story it creates, with seamless world-building — which is no easy feat for episodes rich in science fiction — and, for the most part, presenting characters in which the viewer becomes invested in. It’s a triumph that the show can simultaneously create a world while introducing and propelling characters through stories that are surprisingly gripping — I personally found myself heavily invested in the farmers’ struggle against the alien pests in episode 4, SUITS.
The uniqueness of the shorts is undoubtedly founded in the aforementioned plethora of animation styles which seem to accompany their specific corresponding short’s tone. The shorts of bleaker nature are animated with photo-realism (the precision of which is reason enough to click away from this review and head over to Netflix this instant) while the more wacky and comical ones are equally light-hearted in their animation — cartoon-y and colourful. To top it all off, since the style is (almost) never the same twice in a row, the show maintains a newness that is carried throughout.
Netflix veterans or, at least, those who have been on the platform for the last couple of years, might find Love, Death & Robots to be rather thoughtless compared to one of the current jewels of Netflix, Black Mirror. It certainly does not include some of the rich and thought-provoking social commentary offered by Charlie Brooker’s anthology series, and the various twists littered irregularly throughout its 18 shorts are less impactful due to being confined, unlike in Black Mirror, to short and basic stories. However, it would be unfair to judge these two shows too strictly by comparison, and viewers must go into Love, Death & Robots less tense than they would a Black Mirror episode; enjoy the dazzling visuals and the variety of stories, and don’t expect much more than that. It is, ultimately, an easy watch, something equally as binge-worthy as it is a show one can leave for a while and pick up at their leisure.
Overall, I had a lot of fun watching Love, Death & Robots. When the comedy landed, it was refreshing, and, as I’ve stressed, the visuals were fantastic throughout. This is definitely worth a watch, even if you don’t love every short. Think of it as a fun experiment, a 10 minute break from studying — nothing that requires attention or thought, just a brain and a Netflix account.