I remember reading a science fiction story a long time ago about a small group of robots meandering their way through a post-apocalyptic world (I can no longer recall who wrote it, but I’d love to hear from you if you know). The robots come from all walks of “life,” as it were, from an agricultural worker of limited intellect to an office worker that prides itself on its higher intelligence.
They are talking about how much better things are now that humans are no longer around telling them what to do. However, at the end of the story when they meet an injured survivor who gasps, “get me some water,” they immediately respond, “Yes master!”
The reason I’m waffling on about this here is that a few days ago as I pen these words, I was presented with one of those “Coming Soon on Netflix” type items in my news feed and I decided to take a gander, as you do.
One of the entries was a very excitable mention of the fact that Season 2 of Love, Death & Robots is coming our way later this year. This was a bit of a surprise to me, not least that I wasn’t even aware that there had been a Season 1, but the write-up sounded rather interesting, so I decided to take a look.
All I can say is OMG! This animated series consists of 18 stand-alone episodes, all under 20 minutes long, and all produced by different casts and crews. The series title refers to each episode’s thematic connection to the three aforementioned subjects, though not every episode contains all three elements. Each episode comes with an associated Netflix warning saying that it may contain “Violence, nudity, bad language, gore, and cigarettes.” To be honest, the cigarettes part is the least of our worries; this trailer video provides a little more of a clue.
The first episode I saw was “Three Robots,” which is set long after the fall of humanity. We travel with these bots as they wander through a post-apocalyptic city trying to understand how humans lived based on their limited knowledge of them and the things they left behind. I have to say that this this one was really rather poignant. Also, like many of the episodes, there’s an unexpected twist at the end that makes you think, “Wow! I wasn’t expecting that!”
As another unexpected twist, the episodes are displayed in different orders to different users. According to Netflix, there are four unique episode orders that are released to users at random.
The various episodes employ a wide variety of animation styles (in some cases, real humans are added to the mix). In many of those that aim for photo-realism, the attention to detail is exquisite and the human animations are awe-inspiring to the extent that, in some cases, I was hard pushed to determine if I was looking at an animation or a real person.
BE WARNED! This series is not for the faint of heart. In many cases the violence is extreme, some of the episodes are problematic in their portrayal of women, there is indeed nudity in several of the installments (remembering that we are talking about animated characters; also remembering that it’s sometimes hard to tell if they are animated or not), and — yes — the occasional cigarette does deign to make an appearance, but only when artistically necessary.