Every so often, I will stray away from my binge-watching of RuPaul’s Drag Race and Pokemon to something a little bit more out of my tastes (that are apparently bubble-gummy drama). The show that piqued my interest in the middle of last month was Love, Death and Robots, a series of animated speculative fiction curated by Netflix. The series is anthological in nature, meaning none of the stories are connected outside of the spec-fic thematic, and has stories ranging from an underground monster fight club, the evolution of a civilisation inside a couple’s fridge and the recruitment of werewolves into the US forces in Afghanistan.
There are a few things that really drew me to this series. The first is that the series is called an anthology, which is now something that is near and dear to my heart. Over the summer, I’ve been on the editorial committee of the UTS Writers’ Anthology, helping put together a book of student work from my university from cover to cover. In doing this, I’ve discovered how special an anthology can be for everyone involved. They’re eclectic, eccentric and usually a wild ride from start to finish. Love, Death and Robots is no exception, showing a huge range of speculative fiction outside of the expected robots and aliens. Of course, a lot of the stories feature robots and such, but there is also pure horror, high fantasy and just strange alternate realities. The eighteen episodes cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, with episodes ranging from 7-17 minutes and each delivering a fully fleshed out short story.
I could go on all day about each of the episodes, but that would turn this short read into a full-blown essay. I will share a few of my favourites, though, in no particular order.
Three Robots follows (as one would assume) three robots touring post-apocalyptic cities. There are remains of human civilisation, overgrowth covering most of the now-decrepit infrastructure and…cats. It puts a comedic spin on the idea of post-apocalyptic narratives, especially with one of the robots being a monotoned sass master.
Zima Blue tells the tale of a world-renowned artist taking his final interview with a journalist who has been waiting for her whole career to speak with him. He is elusive and his art is fantastic on a grand scale until he became obsessed with putting blue tiles in the middle of his paintings. Soon, he is painting everything the single shade of blue and reveals his reasons why.
The Witness starts with a woman getting dressed for a party before seeing a man murder her doppelgänger out of her apartment window. A chase ensues, going from her seemingly regular part of town into the red light district. Soon, the two end up in the same fetish party where, for a moment, he forgets her in the heat of the moment. Then the chase is back on, going in and out of alleyways until finally, he catches her.
While those were standouts to me, each story is spun so wildly and animated so well that as soon as you’re done tasting one, the next will cleanse your palate and prepare you for a whole new journey. For me, Love, Death and Robots was a standout release in March, and I honestly encourage you to watch it if you haven’t already.