Here’s a strange beast. Love, Death & Robots apparently began as a sequel to the Heavy Metal animated film before morphing into a Netflix anthology series. It’s still animated, but the focus here is mostly placed on the titular robots. At times, these Twilight Zone with robots stories can be quite clever, but there’s a major caveat hiding in plain sight.
Love, Death & Robots’ first season contains 18 animations ranging from 6-17 minutes. I mentioned The Twilight Zone and you’ll see why almost immediately. Most of the stories here have some minor twist to them, though not all are placed at the end. While some are painfully predictable, a few are genuinely clever and raise my overall opinion of the series. The ones that don’t land, however, can feel like something better targeted at 12-year-old boys, which might explain the Heavy Metal background. Episodes like “When the Yogurt Took Over” and “Alternate Histories” are more like one-off jokes. In those regards, while not groundbreaking, it’s a fun and entertaining series.
However, I noted a caveat and it’s a big one. Love, Death & Robots seems fixated on showing women naked. While I’m no prude, this nudity most often seems for no other reason than the audience’s masculine gaze. It’s all sexuality without any sensuality. While that might leave a distaste in your mouth (it did mine), it’s what they do next that turned me off from the series in a repulsed manner. There are multiple episodes revolving around, for lack of a better term, the mutilation of these women’s bodies. Because of this, I can’t really wrap my head around who this series is for. The lewd, juvenile misogyny coupled with the often overly simplistic twists make this feel like a show only 12-year-oild boys could love, but I can’t imagine any parent wanting their child watching it.
Take the episode “The Witness” for example. I won’t spoil the twist, but it’s telegraphed pretty early on. Fine, but the idea of witnessing a murder and being chased through a futuristic city could still be fun. Only, the witness is a stripped who spends most of the episode falling out of her clothes (when she has any), only to be violently murdered at the end (and no, that’s not the spoiler). This is even softcore porn due to the violence attached.
The animation is often breathtaking and the idea of an animated Twilight Zone is certainly a fun one, but I cannot recommend it to anyone really.