Netflix recently released the 18 episode animated anthology series Love, Death & Robots and it seems to be doing very well. Created by Deadpool director Tim Miller and executive produced by acclaimed filmmaker David Fincher, the show had high expectations. This is not your average animated show, and it’s fairly easy to tell from how NSFW it is. Full of intense violence, plenty of cursing, and a lot of problematic nudity, it is clearly looking for a niche audience. The episodes vary in length, are animated by a plethora of different teams, and are from a wide range of storytellers. This allows most of the show to provide entertaining science fiction in short bursts that all vary in length. With this, we took the opportunity to binge the show and rank the episodes from top to bottom.
#18 – “The Dump”
Most anthology episodes try to deliver a message to the viewer before the episode ends. It’s what makes Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone so fantastic. The themes are always riveting and provide a multitude of questions. Unfortunately, this episode is one of the few that does not have much to process. Bits and pieces can be pulled from this little tale, but not enough to truly dwell upon when the credits roll. Instead, it feels over before it has started, and has no real clasp to properly invest you as some of the other episodes do. Still, the animation is cute at times and the relationships in the episode, while brief, are enjoyable enough to smile about.
#17 – “Suits”
This episode is a compact tale about farmers who must defend their land from an army of mindless creatures. It’s told in a very neat fashion from beginning to end, which leads to its downfall at times. Because it is told so quickly, the emotional beats simply don’t have as much impact as intended. Luckily, the ending includes a concept that is slightly reminiscent of A Quiet Place, and could open up for more stories to be told within this universe. Its reveal does not inspire as much discussion as some of the other episodes, yet it is entertaining enough, and provides plenty of solid animation and a lot of great action.
#16 – “Alternate Histories”
The second of two episodes that leans purely into comedic value, and pays off for the most part. The butterfly effect theory is extremely common in sci-fi, so to see it poked and prodded with such humor is extremely charming. The animation adds a level of endearment as well, but it eventually loses its footing. The last two to three minutes feel pretty repetitive, and for something that’s only seven minutes long, it’s unfortunate. Still, this type of episode could make great promotional material, or even live as its own web-series. To see more scenarios throughout history playfully altered would be a joy in its own right.
#15 – “Sucker of Souls”
Full of absolutely crass humor and a multitude of references, this episode completely lacks most technology. What it does provide however, is an insane amount of violence shown through some classic animation. A seemingly unstoppable creature being unleashed on a group of unsuspecting soldiers isn’t breaking new ground, but it’s still entertaining. Once the weakness of the creature is revealed, the episode could have went in a much more interesting and humorous direction, but instead, it simply loses its footing. The finale becomes a bit of a let-down, and it feels unfinished. A few more minutes would have fit very nicely within this episode, and bumped it higher up the list.
#14 – “When The Yogurt Took Over”
Yes, this premise is downright ridiculous. Yes, it seems like the sole purpose of this episode is for one big laugh. Yes, the narrator is Maurice LaMarche, who explains a plot that would make his infamous “Brain” character jealous. This episode is many things, but above all else, it’s truly entertaining. The absurd concept mixed with the comical animation works very well together. As it quickly comes to a close, you may find yourself nervously laughing at the television. It begs the question, “Could humans find their way back to superiority if we lost it all?” The show does not care to provide an answer, but in an episode dedicated to yogurt becoming sentient, it seems like that answer is the least of the filmmakers concerns.
#13 – “Shape-Shifters”
It’s been a while since werewolves have had the limelight in a decently told story, but this episode corrects this. When put on full display, the transformations look fantastic in this extremely realistic animation. Paired with themes of brotherhood and being an outcast juxtapose each other very well. It’s an episode that will anger you for all the right reasons, and packs more emotion than most of the other episodes. Part of this is due to the beautiful imagery and lighting, which is used to their fullest extent. It’s one of the few episodes that is full of social commentary, and it’s when the show is at its best.
#12 – “Fish Night”
This episode is one of the most colorful and vibrant episodes of the series, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The idea behind the episode is a hallucinogenic mind-bender, but it isn’t expanded upon at all. If it leant more into its horror or fantasy elements, it could have been even more powerful. Nevertheless, it’s a decent concept that plays out nicely on screen, and then takes an incredibly dark turn. And yet again, this episode seems like it does not have any form of a conclusion, and suffers from the lack of a cohesive ending.
#11 – “The Witness
A hyper-stylized story told through some absolutely frenetic filmmaking. Over the course of 11 minutes, not a single moment is taken to breathe, and it speaks to the levels at which the show can draw you in. Unfortunately, the twist becomes predictable about halfway through. So when there is no proper conclusion, it leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth and takes away from the overall thrill. This episode also feeds into the problematic nature of the NSFW elements of the show. It uses the female protagonist purely as an object, with no valid reasoning. It’s unfortunate that it’s so prevalent in this episode as well as a few others, as it could have been worked around in a simple manner.
#10 – Blindspot
This episode is a high-octane heist comparable to something out of the video game Borderlands. Packed to the brim with explosions, gunfire, and an abundance of curses, the team of thieves is very entertaining. Their relationship feels organic and realistic, and in such a short runtime, it’s impressive. There is not much else to be pulled from this episode, but it’s still highly impressive and provides some solid laughs in its short runtime.
#9 – “Helping Hand”
As soon as this episode begins, it’s difficult to not compare it immediately to Gravity. However, this version of the story definitely takes a much darker turn, and succeeds. Unfortunately, this episode only runs at about 10 minutes. For much more of an impact, the dilemma could have been stretched out a minute or two longer. This would have made the desperate act of survival that much more visceral. Still, it’s a great episode with some beautiful still images that will surely make great wallpapers. The sound design is also of note here, and everything being heard in such detail will surely make you wince.
#8 – “Ice Age”
If you are watching this show in order, this episode will open with a bit of a shock. What unfolds next is almost like an episode of The Twilight Zone being told in reverse. Some odd questions immediately arise but aside from that, this is a very clever episode, directed by Miller himself. The relationship between the two leads is very funny in a deadpan type of way. Miller’s influence on this is very episode is very apparent, and overall, the episode definitely provides some food for thought. Hopefully Miller will feel confident tackling more episodes in the future, or maybe even Fincher will make his return to directing.
#7 – “Sonnie’s Edge”
An introduction to the series that is equal parts thrilling and impactful. A simple premise that turns on its head at the very end, leaving you with a big smile on your face. It sets the show up fairly well, as it’s full of violence and other mature content. Fear is an extremely powerful tool, and this episode will show to what lengths it can take a person. But rather than go the simple route, it plays with the idea of fear that does not get explored too often. If the show took more liberties like this, it would significantly improve.
#6 – “Lucky 13”
An action packed story about superstition within the military, and one that’s incredibly rendered at that. It’s interesting to contemplate whether superstitions would still exist the more advanced technology becomes, and as this episode shows, it’s for good reason. As tech becomes more sentient and takes on personalities of their own, it would make sense that bonds could be formed. And judging by that ending, these bonds can hold just as much of an emotional impact as real situations.
#5 – “The Secret War”
If Overlord were more expansive and supernatural, this seems like what it could have been. The final minutes of this episode alone make it a fantastic episode. Serving a nice gut-punch of emotion packed with a climactic battle, it’s a great way to end the first season on such a strong note. The music pairs very well with the setting of the episode, and feels like a lot of pride and care was placed into this one. At times, this feels like watching a Call of Duty cutscene with creatures thrown into the mix, and it couldn’t be better.
#4 – “Good Hunting”
A beautifully animated tale about a woman’s reclamation of her body. Told through the lens of technological advancement and the devolution of man, it’s a tightly knit story that never strays too far from its main theme. It would have been nice to have a few more minutes to witness some sort of aftermath, but what’s in the episode is definitely great. It’s unfortunate that the rest of the show is so problematic because this shows glimpses of pure greatness. These filmmakers should definitely be brought back if there are future seasons, because they brought a lot to the table in terms of theme, emotion, and story.
#3 – “Zima Blue”
Art without limits is a great thematic companion to technology being limitless, and this episode bridges that gap wonderfully. The implications of both of these ideas are highlighted beautifully through many shades of blue, which factor heavily into the story. The futuristic premise can also be boiled down to a very realistic scenario regarding celebrities and how we view them today. The character Zima is equal parts mysterious and prophetic, and this episode is full of his wisdom that can be analyzed through repeat viewings. Equal parts tragic and beautiful, the ending leaves you hopeful yet torn apart, as all great media should.
#2 – “Beyond the Aquila Rift”
This episode is an extremely high point of the series. It includes stunning CG animation that feels incredibly realistic at times. Comparisons to Mass Effect can definitely be drawn, even down to the poor romance that feels extremely gratuitous. That aspect is the only problem with this truly great episode. The premise is incredible and pays homage to a few of the best sci-fi films before it. Taking a dark look at the very fibers of reality, it’s clear this is something that Fincher definitely had some influence on. It’s one of the longer episodes of the series, but none of its runtime is wasted and every moment is science fiction at its absolute best.
#1 – “Three Robots”
A comedic look into the ridiculous nature that is mankind, told through the lens of outside observers. Made up of a few short vignettes, the episode tackles a wide range of topics such as: religion, human entertainment, and of course, our inevitable downfall. The titular characters all have their own charm and work very well off each other. With a groovy soundtrack, this is a very strong episode that truly showcases all this show can be. If it leans more into humorous aspects with dark undertones and scathing commentary, this show could elevate to true mastery. If anyone is skeptical regarding Love, Death & Robots, this would be the best place to start.
Overall, it seems that Love, Death & Robots needs some fine tuning. While all the episodes are somewhat enjoyable, with a bit more polish in the writing department, this show could be elevated to the next level. There is no word on a second season as of right now, but judging by the discourse, it would seem as if Netflix is fully aware of the demand for it.
What is your favorite episode of Love, Death & Robots? Let us know in the comments below!
All episodes of Love, Death & Robots are currently streaming on Netflix.