Love, Death + Robots: Initial Impressions

I’ve watched eight episodes (out of eighteen) of Netflix’s “Adult” anthology series based on contemporary SF short stories. It’s ‘Adult’ in the sense of stereotypes of adolescent male interests which means many episodes with gore and most episodes with CGI boobs. There are some good pieces but they are ones that differ sharply from the general aesthetic.

The animation ranges from interesting to video-game cut-scene aesthetic, with photo-realistic dead-eyed CGI characters hitting that just unconvincing enough to be annoying look. When it tries for something less focused on looking super-real, the show is usually more entertaining.

So far only two episodes that are genuinely good, both of which are coincidentally based on stories by John Scalzi. The first, Three Robots, is the only that makes the ultra-realism CGI work mainly by avoiding having any (living) humans in it. Instead, three very different styles of robots wander through a post-apocalyptic human city cracking jokes and trying to make sense of the decaying elements of human culture and encounter a cat.

Speaking of culture, the second episode I’d recommend is ‘When the Yogurt Took Over’. The episode eschews a realistic style and goes for a more cartoonish CGI approach to tell Scalzi’s amusing story of a sentient dairy product.

Of the OKish episodes, ‘Suits’ is about midwestern-like US famers but on an alien world besieged by creatures lifted from the movie version of Starship Troopers. No big surprises in the story but it’s nicely animated and the story is OK if you don’t think about it too much. Similarly “Sucker of Souls” is an action-adventure pastiche that doesn’t do very much but at least has its own visual style.

I’ll probably watch the rest. The ratio of ‘nope’ to ‘that was interesting’ favours the ‘nope’ but with just enough ‘interesting’ to make you think ‘maybe the next one will be good’.

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14 thoughts on “Love, Death + Robots: Initial Impressions

  1. At least the episodes are short enough that if you don’t like one you can hurry on to the next.

    “Three Robots” was the highlight so far for me as well.

    I hope if there’s a second season, somebody there makes them take a step back and really look at the stories they’re picking to adapt. This season’s list was heavily weighted towards the sausage end of the menu.

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  2. I can’t tell you how tempted I am to misquote the last words of the opening paragraph as “general anesthetic.”

    Or maybe I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking through the episode list, I can see two women, Kirsten Cross and Claudine Griggs, with one story each. Meanwhile, they adapted three stories by John Scalzi alone, two by Alastair Reynolds, two by Marko Kloos, two by Joe Lansdale and one each by Ken Liu, Peter F. Hamilton, Michael Swanwick, Steven Lewis and David W. Amendola. So it’s a very male heavy line-up.

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  3. I enjoyed the series overall. There were a couple of shorts that didn’t do much for me. The Witness seemed like an extensive excuse for a lot of nudity for a kind of predictable twist….so not really a twist. The artwork didn’t do much for me either.

    The first two Scalzi pieces were OK. The best of the three was the third one, IMO. It wasn’t great, but it did make me laugh quite a few times.

    Several of the shorts seemed to be a little sparse on story and long on showing off visual art. The art was really very good, so not really a bad thing. But those pieces did seem a little thin.

    There were several pieces feature women either assertively retaking or maintaining control of their lives. Thought they contained a pretty pro-strong women message, boobage aside. A couple of those are in the back half of the series, so hopefully your experience will improve.

    At least half of the directors for “Beyond the Aquila Rift” are women. I don’t know French names well, so I’m not sure if Remi is a man or a woman. The director for “Shapeshifters” is also a woman.

    In any case, “boobs and bombs” is pretty much on-brand for Heavy Metal. LD+R was imagined as a successor to Heavy Metal. So this collection seems to be consistent with that intent.

    Regards,
    Dann
    I don’t think I’ve met anyone with a stronger work ethic than Ray Charles. – Clint Eastwood

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  4. I enjoyed the series overall. There were a couple of shorts that didn’t do much for me. The Witness seemed like an extensive excuse for a lot of nudity for a kind of predictable twist….so not really a twist. The artwork didn’t do much for me either.

    The first two Scalzi pieces were OK. The best of the three was the third one, IMO. It wasn’t great, but it did make me laugh quite a few times.

    Several of the shorts seemed to be a little sparse on story and long on showing off visual art. The art was really very good, so not really a bad thing. But those pieces did seem a little thin.

    There were several pieces feature women either assertively retaking or maintaining control of their lives. Thought they contained a pretty pro-strong women message, boobage aside. A couple of those are in the back half of the series, so hopefully your experience will improve.

    At least half of the directors for “Beyond the Aquila Rift” are women. I don’t know French names well, so I’m not sure if Remi is a man or a woman. The director for “Shapeshifters” is also a woman.

    In any case, “boobs and bombs” is pretty much on-brand for Heavy Metal. LD+R was imagined as a successor to Heavy Metal. So this collection seems to be consistent with that intent.

    Regards,
    Dann
    I don’t think I’ve met anyone with a stronger work ethic than Ray Charles. – Clint Eastwood

    (hope this isn’t a double post – had login issues.)

    Like

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